GTA 5 – Import / Export Guide

For those who enjoy the GTA Import/Export DLC, grinding can be fun, relaxing, and profitable. This guide describes techniques and strategies, extensively using the Cargobob, to minimize stress and maximize I/E profitability. If you’re a griefer-averse player (as I am), consider grinding I/E exclusively in public solo lobbies. (There are guides describing how to find a public solo lobby.) This leisurely routine generates roughly 200k-250k GTA$ per hour (depending on how many other missions you can get done during the I/E cooldown).

The Cargobob may be a slow helicopter, but it is generally faster and safer than driving the windy roads of San Andreas under attack by NPC aimbots and choppers.

Other GTA Guides:

Recommended Equipment

  • Cargobob – The bread and butter for I/E missions.
  • Armored Kuruma – Bullet sponge for killing NPCs. Also fast enough to pursue car thieves that get by you.
  • Buzzard – Insta-spawn fast helicopter for moving between vehicles and targets. Also, fastest way to dispatch guards on floating barges.
  • Oppressor Mk2 (alternatively Oppressor Mk1 or Bati 801) – Vehicle for beating the time trial. Mk2 makes the time trial mission trivial as you can speed straight there with no risk of crashing.
  • AP pistol – My preferred drive-by weapon (to each their own).
  • Sniper rifle – For the Lago Zancudo stunt jump mission. In general, missions where the APC is used benefit from the sniper rifle (of whatever style) because the Armored Kuruma is not available for close combat protection.
  • APC w/ cannon (optional) – For missions that fight off waves of choppers (Armored Kuruma can be less optimally used instead of APC)
  • Stopwatch (optional) – Use a cell phone stopwatch to keep track of the 20 minute export timer. Reset the timer upon vehicle delivery. This saves the time necessary to enter the vehicle warehouse to check the export cooldown timer.
  • Terrabyte (highly optional) – “Robbery in progress” easy ~5 minute 30k+ GTA$ mission during I/E 20 minute cooldown. Also, stairway to top of covered parking if Big House warehouse is used.

Easy Rotation

  • Start import mission in office – When exiting the office, either take the elevator to the roof to a waiting Cargobob or summon a Cargobob using the Pegasus concierge*. After receiving the mission from the assistant, certain missions will result in re-entering the office for a different vehicle (e.g. Little Seoul follower or point-to-point missions).
  • Complete import mission (usually ending with Cargobob at vehicle warehouse) – store Cargobob on nearby parking area
  • Check stopwatch, if there are a few minutes left on the 20 minute cooldown, then do a VIP mission (headhunter, sightseer, hostile takeover) or a Terrabyte mission (e.g. robbery in progress). Optionally repeat as long as at least a few minutes remain on cooldown timer
  • Enter the vehicle warehouse and log onto the export computer. Select a top tier vehicle to export for 100k GTA$ (recommend exporting Mamba). FYI – 100k GTA$ mission nets 80k GTA$ after 20k GTA$ upgrade payment.
  • Exit the warehouse and pick up the export vehicle with the nearby Cargobob
  • Deliver the vehicle to the buyer.
  • Restart the cooldown timer stopwatch
  • Land the Cargobob on the roof of your office (use the office automated landing to ensure that any Cargobob damage gets repaired).
  • Go to step one.

* You may want consider always using the Pegasus concierge because, at 200 GTA$ for the Cargobob, the time saved from transitions and climbing stairs seems to more than pay for itself. 200 GTA$ is earned, on average, in about 3 seconds during the I/E rotation.


Before exporting any vehicles, it is recommended that 32 vehicle are “imported” and stored in the warehouse. At 32 vehicles, GTA will ensure that exactly 1 of each vehicle type is stored. Afterwards, whichever vehicle type is exported will be the vehicle type that is sourced from the import terminal.

Calling Lester

It costs 600 GTA$ for Lester to remove three stars. Import/Export generally earns about 4k GTA$ per minute. As such, it takes about 10 seconds for a Lester call to pay for itself. Since losing wanted stars delays you well over 10 seconds, call Lester to remove stars under most situations. Lester calls have a cooldown, so for some missions you don’t want to waste a call to Lester until the last step; e.g. the mission where you have to chase the delinquent car thief around town.

Vehicle Warehouse Recommendation

There are a lot of discussions in forums of the best vehicle warehouse location. I have never seen my choice as anyone’s recommendation; however, for two reasons recommend the Big House as a preferred warehouse location.

  • (1) The landing area points North toward all of the import (steal) locations allowing the Cargobob to swoop in with its cargo without any difficult maneuvering, and
  • (2) the Big House warehouse resides directly at the base of a large suspension bridge tower that is lit in blue lights at night making it easy to locate from the sky anywhere around Los Santos any time day or night (except in heavy fog).

Big House road access is a little awkward but not used often because the Cargobob is the primary vehicle transportation.

I frequently park the Cargobob on top of a nearby covered parking structure because the Cargobob seems to have a tendency to despawn if left in the parking lot in front of the Big House for extended periods. I park the Terrabyte under the parking cover with the cab sticking out to use as a stairway to the top of the structure. Also, the Terrabyte can be used during I/E cooldowns for special Terrabyte missions like “Robbery in progress”.

Mamba: Recommended Import / Export Vehicle

Heavy vehicles slow down the Cargobob quite a bit because the helicopter must use its rotors for lift more than for forward thrust. The Mamba is one of the lightest weight top tier cars which makes it easy to carry with the Cargobob. The X80 is slightly lighter but has tiny windows and is one of the fastest cars if you need to chase it down and eliminate the driver. So the Mamba is light weight and relatively easier to steal.

Export (Sell) Missions

Without the Cargobob, I/E sell missions are more challenging because of aimbot NPC pursuers and glitchy civilian NPC driving causing significant damage. The drives can be long, and/or you need to stop and fight off the NPC attackers. For stress-free sales, you can’t beat the Cargobob.

  • Enter the warehouse, sit at terminal, select a top tier vehicle (Mamba), select the 100k GTA$ sale, and apply arbitrary modifications to the vehicle as quickly possible.
  • Drive the modified vehicle to an open area near the warehouse.
  • Recommend parking car up the hill of the parking lot in front of Big House so that the warehouse does not block your view when picking up the cargo vehicle.
  • Get out of the car and into the Cargobob.
  • Grandson Jaden says (he always wants credit lol) fly high to avoid NPC attacks. Pick up the vehicle and ascend steeply for 10 to 15 seconds to get out of NPC pursuer gun range.
  • At altitude, fly to the sell point marked by a yellow icon on map.
  • Stay high above the surface until close to the yellow aura on the ground. Steeply descend onto the target for 100% payout. There is one house on a Western hill where you can’t really see the yellow aura, aim for just beyond a red rectangle at the edge of the roof.
  • (Optional) After making the sale reset the stopwatch to monitor the I/E cooldown.

Using the Cargobob (once you get the hang of it) it will be easy to consistently make damage-free sell runs in 3 to 5 minutes.

Import (Steal) Missions

The following sections describe strategies for completing import missions of each type that might be encountered in GTA V. This guide describes techniques to avoid combat and to minimize damage by using the Cargobob, the Kuruma, and the APC.

Offshore Barge Missions

For many people (according to forum discussions), the most annoying steal missions are the ones where the vehicle must be plucked off of a barge and retrieved under wave after wave of withering Buzzard assaults. For these challenging missions, the following strategy usually works for me.

  • Fly Cargobob to the shore adjacent to the barges at sea.
  • Summon an APC (Armored Kuruma also works but a little more slowly). Deploy APC on the shore near where the cargo vehicle will be deposited. For extra boarding speed open the APC hatches with the interaction menu. Top off health (snacks) and put on the heaviest armor.
  • Call a CEO Buzzard (interaction menu). Fly Buzzard to missile lock-on range of the two barges. Blow up the barge guards with missiles from near maximum range. From experience, blowing up the guards with missiles from range does not seem to damage the cargo vehicle, your mileage may vary. (Note: In video, used rifle on the last guard, not a missile. Also, APC and Buzzard already in position from previous mission.)
  • After killing guards, return to shore and leave the Buzzard some distance from the APC.
  • Take the Cargobob to the barge and pick up the cargo vehicle.
  • Gain a little altitude and sprint for the shore near APC. Buzzards will attack before you reach shore. (The East coast mission is a little different because the pursuit trigger is onshore rather than over water.)
  • Carefully drop the cargo on shore above the high tide mark. (Recently, I failed an otherwise successful mission because the tide came in and killed the cargo vehicle before I got back to it.)
  • Fly the Cargobob to the APC and try to enter the APC without being killed by the Buzzards. If you do die, pull out a minigun (or other weapon) and fight our way back to the APC to finish the mission.
  • Once in the APC, move away from the cargo vehicle to reduce the risk that a Buzzard will crash into the cargo vehicle causing damage that will result in repair expenses.
  • Use the APC cannon to destroy the four waves of two Buzzards each.
  • If the Cargobob is smoking or destroyed, call Pegasus for a replacement and fetch it with your Buzzard or the APC.
  • Use the Cargobob to transport the cargo vehicle back to the vehicle warehouse.

Stolen Vehicle Police Chase Missions

Perhaps the second hardest mission type is the one where a kid has stolen the cargo vehicle and has a police escort as he drives across San Andreas like a madman. This mission has a signature of a police helicopter hovering over the target vehicle until the mission trigger is tripped. Some people snipe the driver without tripping the chase trigger. I tried that method and failed (other guides show sniping locations). Non-sniper method follows.

  • Fly the Cargobob to location on the road about a mile away in the direction that the car will be traveling.
  • (Optional) Summon a CEO Buzzard for deployment as a possible getaway vehicle for losing stars more easily than in a car.
  • Summon an Armored Kuruma for the main attack.
  • In the Armored Kuruma, slowly approach the location marked by the hovering police helicopter.
  • When the helicopter begins to drop, stop the car, pull out drive-by weapon, and prepare for the oncoming speeding cargo vehicle.
  • Fire into the cargo vehicle driver-side windshield. Police will attack (3-star). If you failed to stop vehicle, commence pursuit and take out the driver.
  • Do not use Lester to remove wanted stars until inside the cargo vehicle.
  • After assuming control of the cargo vehicle, use Lester to lose stars.
  • When in the cargo vehicle, either drive to Cargobob or drive it to the warehouse, depending on how far from each. If the Cargobob is used for transport, it will be at the warehouse, ready for the next sell mission.

Stunt Jump Missions

There are three stunt jump missions, two near Los Santos and one at Lago Zancudo.

The easy missions are near Los Santos (Richman and Vinewood sign):

  • Fly nearby in Cargobob.
  • Summon Armored Kuruma.
  • Drive to ramp, eliminate guards from the Armored Kuruma.
  • Call Lester to remove wanted stars.
  • Use Cargobob to pick the cargo vehicle off of the ramp.
  • Outrun chopper pursuers to the warehouse.

Lago Zancudo is too far from the warehouse to outrun the pursuing choppers, have to fight. Recommend full health and armor at start.

  • Fly Cargobob to the sand spit across the water to the South of the stunt ramp.
  • Summon APC and Buzzard.
  • Drive the APC to the base of the bridge column slightly out in the water across from the stunt ramp. Climb from the APC onto the base of the bridge column.
  • From the cover of the bridge column, snipe all of the guards at the stunt ramp. Wait for wanted stars to expire (or call Lester).
  • Move the APC to near the trigger point for the defenders at the end of the jump landing area.
  • Fly the Buzzard across the water to the stunt ramp.
  • Take the stunt jump in the cargo vehicle.
  • At the end of the stunt jump, keep driving until the attackers are triggered (assistant will provide notification).
  • Exit the cargo vehicle and try to get into the APC without get killed.
  • Drive the APC to other side of the bridge to protect the cargo vehicle from collateral damage (i.e. get away from the Mamba).
  • Destroy all waves of attackers (choppers and limousines).
  • Use Cargobob to haul cargo vehicle back to the vehicle warehouse.

Photo Shoot Missions

There are three photo shoot missions; an easy one at Del Perro beach and two harder ones that are too far from the warehouse to outrun the chopper pursuers.

Del Perro Beach photo shoot:

  • Fly Cargobob to near the photo shoot.
  • Summon an Armored Kuruma.
  • Eliminate guards from protection of the Kuruma.
  • Drive cargo vehicle to the Cargobob.
  • Haul the cargo vehicle to the warehouse, outrun the pursuing choppers with the Cargobob.

Desert and Wind-farm photo shoots (similar strategies for these two):

  • Fly Cargobob to near the photo shoot.
  • Summon an APC. (Armored Kuruma can be used but makes choppers more difficult)
  • Snipe the guards from a safe distance.
  • Position the APC near the pursuit trigger point.
  • Summon a Buzzard to fly back to the cargo vehicle (or walk or grab an NPC vehicle).
  • Drive the cargo vehicle through the attack trigger (assistant notification).
  • Try to get into the APC without getting killed. Move APC away from cargo vehicle.
  • Fight off the waves of choppers and limos from the APC.
  • Drive the cargo vehicle back to the Cargobob.
  • Haul the cargo vehicle to the warehouse with the Cargobob.

Warlord Key Missions

In these straight-forward missions you’re asked to find a key to unlock the cargo vehicle.

  • Take the Cargobob and park outside of the warlord mansion area.
  • Summon Armored Kuruma.
  • Enter warlord mansion grounds protected by the Armored Kuruma.
  • Using silenced AP pistol, eliminate guards until one drops a key that can be reached to unlock the cargo vehicle.
  • If the guards are alerted, eliminate them all, collect the key.
  • After unlocking the cargo vehicle, drive it to the Cargobob.
  • Haul the cargo vehicle to the warehouse with the Cargobob. If the guards were alerted, will need to outrun pursuing chopper.

Little Seoul Follow Missions

These missions have you following a normal Kuruma surreptitiously to a gang headquarters. If you draw one of these missions, have your assistant fetch your Armored Kuruma and follow the yellow track to the location of the gang member’s Kuruma. These missions can be long and windy. Either follow quietly (slow) or reveal yourself (fast). After reaching the gang headquarters, eliminate all the gang members from the Kuruma. Try not to shoot the cargo vehicle. Recommend fetching a Cargobob to haul the cargo vehicle back to the warehouse. If revealed during the initial pursuit, there will be attackers on the way to the warehouse. If the Cargobob is used to haul in the cargo vehicle, attackers can be avoided with altitude.

Race Meet Missions

  • Fly the Cargobob to outside the alert radius of the race meet.
  • Summon Armored Kuruma.
  • Eliminate hostile meet goers from the safety of the Armored Kuruma. Try to avoid shooting up the cargo vehicle.
  • Drive cargo vehicle to Cargobob.
  • Use Cargobob to haul vehicle to warehouse at altitude to avoid ground-based resistance.

Race Circuit Missions

  • Fly the Cargobob to the race circuit.
  • Summon a fast car (there will be no armed resistance).
  • Move unaggressively to a position at the end of a straight-away.
  • Use a drive-by weapon to eliminate the cargo vehicle driver. If missed, chase down in the fast car.
  • Drive the cargo vehicle to the Cargobob and haul it to the vehicle warehouse.

Detective Work Missions

These easy missions require you to figure out where to find the cargo vehicle from a picture on your phone and, don’t forget, a map region name. Just fly the Cargobob to the vehicle and haul it in (no combat). You might get three stars while in transit but they are usually easy to lose without delaying the delivery. Otherwise, just call Lester. Other guides may have information about the cargo vehicle locations. The map area name will be listed and the map can be used to get close to the target if the picture doesn’t ring a bell.

Time Trial Missions

If you have an Oppressor Mk2, these missions are trivial. Even with a fast bike (e.g. Bati 801) can be pretty easy, just don’t crash.

  • I usually equip a weapon before getting onto the bike.
  • Beat the clock to the finish line.
  • The owner attacks with a bat. Eliminate him.
  • Afterwards, call Pegasus and order a Cargobob.
  • Take the bike or a summoned Buzzard to the Cargobob spawn location to fetch the Cargobob.
  • Pick up the cargo vehicle and fly back to the warehouse at altitude to avoid the ground-based attackers.

Guarded Cargo Vehicle Missions

Some cargo vehicles are sitting in driveways or elsewhere with various NPCs standing around.

  • Do not rush in and your assistant will warn you of any resistance.
  • Land the Cargobob outside of the response perimeter and summon an Armored Kuruma.
  • Eliminate the guards from the safety of the Armored Kuruma.
  • Drive the cargo vehicle to the Cargobob and haul it to the warehouse. If the guys were wearing suits, you’ll probably have to outrun a chopper. Otherwise, fly at altitude to avoid ground-based resistance.

Unguarded Cargo Vehicle Missions

If the cargo vehicle is unguarded, be aware that the car might be rigged with an explosive that will detonate if you drive too slowly for too long. If at all possible, try to pick up any unattended vehicle with the Cargobob. You can haul rigged vehicle to the warehouse without triggering the trap.

Speed Missions

If an unattended vehicle is in a garage or otherwise inaccessible to hook up with the Cargobob, place a waypoint on your map to help you navigate the easiest route to outlast the two minute challenge. When you enter a rigged vehicle you will see an additional timer bar on the console. After entering, you have eight or ten seconds before the speed bomb timer starts.

  • Drive carefully to a wide straight road.
  • Don’t jump out because the vehicle will blow up.
  • On windy roads, drive slowly and cautiously with a periodic speed boost because whenever the base speed is exceeded the countdown timer resets. That is, you do not have to keep the speed up, you can just periodically reset the bomb timer.
  • Also, it’s a good idea to find a freeway to drive on where it will be easier to maintain speed with fewer obstacles.
  • Since the Cargobob should be used to sell the vehicle, consider getting a Cargobob to haul the vehicle in after beating the two minute timer.

Police at the Scene Missions

There are several missions where the police are at the scene of the cargo vehicle. These include the pull-over missions (e.g. DUI) and the accident missions (e.g. Route 66). These are among the easiest I/E missions, especially using the Cargobob.

Just fly to the mission location, get close enough to trigger the three wanted stars, and have Lester remove the wanted stars. If the car is in the open (i.e. the pull-over missions), just pick the car up and take it to the warehouse. Be gentle because the car door is open and can rip off for 3k+ GTA$ damage (or get in vehicle and close the door). Alternatively, land the Cargobob and drive the cargo vehicle to an open area where it is easier to pick up and take it to the vehicle warehouse.

Vehicle in Motion Missions

Easy mission: Look at the map or mini-map. Fly to a point a quarter of a mile in front of the moving vehicle. Land Cargobob. Vehicle will stop. Steal vehicle. If stars appear, call Lester. Haul cargo vehicle to vehicle warehouse with the Cargobob.

Written by bimmer1117


  1. Sadly can’t use the hook on any of the cars outside of the one requiring to find a specific Cargobob (not the one that you already own, which is fucking stupid). I know that Rockstar really want me to buy their scam shark cards, but are they really that pathetically desperate? Ugh.

  2. If I buy a new vehicle warehouse to replace the cheapest one, will it keep all of the vehicles? Will I get a cheaper price because I’m exchanging rather than straight up buying a new one?

    • Unfortunately, you cannot buy a new warehouse until the old one is empty. Since selling has a 20 minute cool-down, it would take over 10 hours to sell a full vehicle warehouse. The cool-down is much shorter if you fail the sale. Being impatient, after selling a couple top range vehicles, I just finished up by dumping the rest of the vehicles into the bay using the ‘Bob. It would have only taken a little over 4 hours to export the 12 top range vehicles but, alas, no patience here. I don’t recall for sure but I do not think that I received any discount on the new vehicle warehouse because I already had one.

  3. Wow nice guide, im trying to save up to get a warehouse and start to i/e to get some quick cash. I started a few days ago ans trying to get 2.5 millions its quite difficult. But this guide will save me a lot of troubles. Good job!

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