The increasing popularity of cut-price from Japan and the Far East will be a fillip to motor intermediaries, said the AA.

Sales of these so-called grey imports – models not conforming to EC standards but cheaper than their UK and European-manufactured counterparts – are expected to reach 50,000 a year by next March.

These cars can be up to £7,000 cheaper than UK forecourt prices, but these savings will almost certainly be offset by higher premiums.

"This is because parts, panels and accessories on Japanese cars are not always the same as the European versions," explained Iain Cox of the AA's broking unit.

"Spares may have to be imported – which is costly for the insurer. For this reason, many insurers will not quote, or will charge a higher premium."

Some insurers may even refuse to provide cover for a grey import altogether.

Many grey import car buyers will be keener to shop around for insurance than usual which intermediaries household be seeking to exploit, said the AA.

"Insurers frequently vary their terms on imported cars – withdrawing from cover, loading premiums or removing loading from one month to the next – so it is best to use a broker with access to a range of insurers," added Cox.