The auto transport industry is incredibly segmented. It’s not surprising – the United States is huge and there are a lot of differences between each region. Understanding the differences in auto transport by region is important.
Carriers understand this, as do brokers. Remember, a carrier is a company that physically hauls your vehicle. A broker just handles all the back-end stuff like scheduling and paperwork. But when it comes to physically moving your vehicle, you need to know the differences in auto transport by region, not just the differences in companies.
The United States Federal Government splits the country into four main regions, each of them with one or more divisions. Let’s start from the top:
Auto Transport to the Northeast
Division 1: New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
Division 2: Mid-Atlantic ( New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
Auto transport to the Mid-Atlantic is typically more popular than shipping to New England both due to ease of access as well as demand. More customers ship from those three states than pretty much all of New England combined.
This can change during the winter, when snowbirds get active, but still, most people in the region ship out of New Jersey or New York. You should expect shorter wait times and lower prices for shipments out of the Mid-Atlantic than New England, with the exception of perhaps Boston.
Auto Transport to the Midwest
Division 3: East North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin)
Division 4: West North Central (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota)
The Midwest is quite large, but auto transport to the Midwest is a bit trickier. The East North Central states tend to see more traffic, mostly because of their cities. Notice that in the East North Central division the largest cities are Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Columbus and Milwaukee.
In the West North Central, really, you have Kansas City, Minneapolis, and St. Louis, and maybe Lincoln. These areas are not nearly as popular as those in the East North Central, of which Chicago is easily the most popular car shipping location. As such, shipments to Division 3 states tend to be easier to find than shipments to Division 4 states.
Auto Transport to the South
Division 5: South Atlantic (Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia)
Division 6: East South Central (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee)
Division 7: West South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas)
The South, as defined by the U.S. government, is freaking huge. It even includes Delaware and Maryland, which are traditionally grouped in with the Mid-Atlantic states. That said, though, the south is a popular car transport location, especially with cities like Miami, Atlanta, D.C., Charlotte, Richmond, Nashville, New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, to name a few.
There’s a lot more, of course, but car transporters like the region because it’s popular among customers and easy to travel around. Shipments to those bigger cities tend to be easy to find due to their proximity as well as ease of access.
Auto Transport to the West
Division 8: Mountain (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming)
Division 9: Pacific (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington)
The west is probably the trickiest place to ship a car to,but it’s not like it’s hard. Mostly though it’s because of those Mountain states – Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Mexico, Utah and Wyoming have few major cities. Of them, Utah is perhaps the most popular because of Salt Lake City.
But the Pacific coast states are the most popular notably California. Many carriers make trips out west just to service cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Those are massive car shipping hubs that see a lot of traffic, so they attract more carriers. Their routes often taken them through those mountain states, which can ease prices and wait times for pickup for shipping to those more barren states.
About auto transport by region
An auto transport carrier company (or simply company from here on out) physically transports vehicles. Most of them are ten-car haulers; what this means is that they can fit a total of ten vehicles on their truck. A lot of auto transport companies out there are one/two man operations.
That is, one drives the truck, the other is in an office dispatching. This is common in the auto transport industry given the sheer demand for service out there. Something to note is that a lot of carriers run regional routes – many will stay in the Pacific west, for instance, or up and down the east coast.
Remember that all auto transport companies are required to abide by federal laws and regulations and regulated by the FMCSA and the NHTSA. This means that every auto transport carrier on the road is as safe as any other. For more information about shipping to individual states, makes sure to visit our auto transport states page.
General auto shipping information
Typically the only time you’ll be talking to your auto transport driver him/herself is during pickup and delivery of your vehicle. Most auto transport carriers don’t advertise because they simply use Central Dispatch. Central Dispatch is the industry standard load board where auto transport brokers can find carriers in your area (and visa-versa).
This system works best and we advise you to ship with a brokerage instead of a carrier, as it’s going to be cheaper, easier, faster and better than trying to find a direct auto transport carrier. Your best bet, however, is to book with an broker, though. They will make things faster, cheaper and easier for you.
Get a free auto shipping quote to any region
Regardless of where you’re shipping from and to, fill out our free online auto transport quote request form. You’ll get a free, customized quote to ship your vehicle directly from us. We work only with top-rated carriers as well so you’re in good hands from start to finish.
You can also call our toll-free telephone number and speak to our own live representatives who can answer your questions and help you with the quote form if you need it. So go ahead, fill out our free form or give us a call, and find out what American Auto Shipping can do for you.