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Buying a BMW that is not marketed in the US - information appreciated

Buying a BMW that is not marketed in the US - information appreciated

Mar 29th, 2001, 04:05 PM
Mary W
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Buying a BMW that is not marketed in the US - information appreciated

I'm interested in purchasing a BMWti while in Europe. This car is no longer marketed in the US, and local dealers are not being helpful. Does anyone know of a way to purchase and make arrangements to have this car shipped to the US after traveling for 3 weeks. What are the ramifications regarding insurance?
Mar 29th, 2001, 04:57 PM
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Never mind about insurance. Think registration. If you can't pass the federal safety, air quality, and equipment standards most States won't let you register it, or your uncle Sammy will make you do something really awful. See http://www.customs.ustreas.gov/imp-e...formal/car.htm
There used to be "grey market" methods of "federalizing" nonconforming foreign cars, usually big Mercedes models that could justify the big cost, but that loophole is largely closed. Grey market Benzes were hard to maintain, too, since many of the parts weren't stocked in N. America.
Sorry to be a poop, Mary.
Mar 29th, 2001, 05:56 PM
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When I was growing up in the 1960's my father had a BMW that was no longer allowed to be imported into the US because it didn't meet US safety standards (the dashboard was wood not padded, etc.) Whenever any repairs needed to be done, such as when the muffler needed replacing my father had to call Germany to get parts. The dealers wanted nothing to do with it.

Good Luck.
Mar 29th, 2001, 09:00 PM
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Sorry you cannot import Cars into the US that do not meet US specs. and requirements. Generally, that means if the BMW is not already sold in the US it will not pass.

Mar 30th, 2001, 07:17 AM
Mary W
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This model has been sold in the US - currently have one. Assume the fact that it has been discontinued is due to the fact that it is a small hatchback and probably not in demand as a result. The car is well liked and would love to replace it. This seems not to be a problem of meeting standards, but or marketing.
Mar 30th, 2001, 07:38 AM
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I don't think you are listening Mary.

The problem may be a marketing one, but a car built for the European market is unlikely to have the correct safety specification for the U.S. The same model will have a different specification, depending on which market it is destined for.
Mar 30th, 2001, 07:55 AM
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Mary, is it a 318ti? The issue may be that the engine and fuel systems in a European market 318ti MIGHT be different enough (compression, targeted fuel octane, etc.) that it simply can't pass US emissions standards. Also window glass, headlights, electrical system features, bumpers, airbags, catalytic converter, etc., MAY be different, and the cost of retrofitting US-compliant pieces, even if possible, will outweigh the savings you'd achieve over just buying a used one in the US and completely restoring it. If you're an expert or a mechanic, you might be able to risk it. Are you?
Mar 30th, 2001, 08:57 AM
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Importing individual cars into the US is a very difficult and expensive process that should only be attempted by a specialist. Considering that you can probably find a decent used example is a good enough reason not to even think about it. Although it is now discontinued a new version was debuted at the Geneva Motor show. I would not be surprised if it is sold in the US in the next couple of years. Be patient and pester your local dealer. BMW have a European delivery program, but that will only cover US spec cars. Check it anyway at www.bmwusa.com or 1-877-992-6999.
Mar 30th, 2001, 09:20 AM
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Mary, When I was living in Germany, some of my coworkers shipped German cars back to the US when they returned home. In fact, our company, Lockheed Martin gave their employees a generous allowance toward either purchasing a car in the US or buying one over there and shipping it.

You would have the car converted to US specs, being Department of Transportaion and EPA regulations. Typically, you could convert the car (many firms do this) and ship it from Bremerhaven for around $2,000.00. It wasn't much when you considered you could buy the car over there for much less than you could here and save money. I worked with someone that ordered Porsches or Mercedes from the factory with US specs and sent them home and sold them for a nice profit.

In fact, you could order a Mercedes with a one year+ waiting list (that's right!) and SELL your spot on the waiting list two weeks before delivery. The trick was you could only sell so many cars each year being an ouslander.

If cars were five years old or older, they didn't need the EPA mod, just the DOT. A friend bought a 240D that was five years old, converted it and shipped it back to Florida (with a trunk load of spare parts) and sold it in one week for a $10,000.00 profit.

In Germany, you can order your car with US specs or find a five year old creampuff and convert it, just be sure that the particular model can be imported into the US. Some cannot and I know the BMW 316 and 323i were two of them. Many dealers in Germany have a current list.

Good luck.

Mar 30th, 2001, 09:54 AM
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Mary- We bought a 2000 BMW 323it, a small hatchback model last fall. Are they still selling those? Perhaps you can substitute this model. I love mine.

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