If you want to buy a new car, then a trip to a showroom is a must. The new cars in the showroom look so shiny and new that they appear to have been there the whole time. You’ll agree with me; for example, you can check out the new cars at Vin’s Automotive Group. Coming back to the topic, in reality, new cars have had a long journey to reach the dealership. Ironically, cars are transported by other vehicles when they themselves are designed for transportation.

New cars need to be carried through various modes of transport to move from where they are built to where they are sold. This transport of new vehicles is not random, as dealers order a specific amount of particular cars from production plants, so the right cars need to be delivered through the various modes of transport. And this needs to be achieved while preventing damage to the cars.

Modes of transport for a new car

Cars can be transported through airplanes, ocean by large ships, and land by trucks or rail.

Mercedes-Benz Collection

Cargo ships transportation

Large cargo ships have a distinct box-like design with a length of around three football fields with multiple decks for storage. They are designed and built to transport around 8000 cars at a time. There are many ports worldwide, and thousands of cars are transported around the world in this way. Once they are unloaded at their destination, the cars are then transported further through rail or trucks.

Rail transportation

Another efficient mode for car transport is through rail. Around 3 out of every 4 new cars in the US have to travel on the trains before reaching the dealers. The average distance that a new car travels on trains is around 1300 miles. Rail cars are designed in such a way to carry around 12 to 20 vehicles.

They have two to three decks, and cars are loaded onto a three-decker rail car. So a train with around 70 rail cars can transport around 800 cars from production sites to the showrooms. There is a specific type of ramp used to move the car onto the rail car where they are locked to avoid movement. There are various designs of the car racks, the latest being the auto max. This auto rack has multiple racks, one on top of another, and thus increases vehicles’ space and transport.

Truck Transportation

Transportation on the trucks is the last step for the new cars to move to the showrooms. These trucks pick up the new cars either from the factories or mostly from the rail yards and carry them to the dealership. Tractor-trailer trucks can transport around 12 cars. 4 cars can be loaded on the tractor, and another 8 can be loaded on the double-deck trailer. The ramps are operated through hydraulics, which can be elevated or lowered to allow easy and efficient car loading.  They are secured with straps, chains, and hooks to allow easy transport.

A car’s journey

Mercedes-Benz Collection

A car goes through different stages before it arrives at a dealership in perfect condition. The journey starts at a manufacturing and production plant, where the car undergoes one final inspection and installation process before it is discharged.

To protect the cars from damage such as scratches, the vehicles are wrapped completely by a wrap guard-a protective material that protects the cars from damage as they cover their long journey.

Sometimes the car may be manufactured in a plant outside of the country; in such a situation, the car had to travel by ocean to its port. The transportation ships are specially designed to carry over 8000 cars at the same time. These ships allow cars to easily roll on and off for easy unloading and loading.

Once the car has arrived at the port, the cars are unloaded from the ship and kept in a storage house until a car hauler picks them up. A car hauler is a type of truck or trailer specially designed and built to transport cars. These trailers can transport up to 10 cars at once. Once the car hauler has completed its loading, the cars are delivered either directly to the dealership or an auto ramp according to the distance.

If the car has to travel a long distance, then it is delivered to an automotive facility associated with a railroad from where it continues its journey. It is very common to transport vehicles by train. Once the car arrives at the railroad, it is loaded onto an automotive rail car.

These rail cars are common of two types, bi-level or tri-level. Bi-level train cars hold up to 8-10 large vehicles. Tri-level rail cars are used to transport passenger cars. The cats are loaded and unloaded from these rail cars by portable ramps. Portable ramps allow the cars to be rolled on and off the rail car. To prevent damage to the care, they are loaded very slowly. Once the cars are loaded, they are secured by special straps that keep them fixed in one place.

Once the car is onto the rail car, it is ready for transportation to a storage lot, from where it is taken to the dealership. Once the car is unloaded at the dealership, it is thoroughly inspected to ensure there aren’t any dents, scratches, or dings. Then the car is washed and ready to be sold.

How do the cars stay damage-free?

Car Parking

As you saw above, the cars undergo loading and unloading at multiple locations and times before they are finally delivered to the local dealership. The journey is full of changes of possession. From the star, keeping the car safe and protected is crucial.

To ensure the safety of the vehicle, the cars are thoroughly inspected at every change of possession. If any damage is found, the party in charge reports the damage and repairs the damage. Apart from this, the cars are wrapped in a wrap guard before they are set off on their journey. The wrap guard protects them from scratches and other injuries. When the car is transported through rail cars, they can utilize AAR that establishes guidelines and diagrams for the loading procedure.


So whenever you look at a new car standing in the showroom looking shiny and bright, you would know that it has traveled through the ocean and land. So enjoy the new car that has been provided to you through a lot of effort.