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Has anyone ever bought a car in Europe then sent it back to the U.S.?

Has anyone ever bought a car in Europe then sent it back to the U.S.?

Jan 12th, 2004, 09:35 AM
  #1  
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Has anyone ever bought a car in Europe then sent it back to the U.S.?

I have a friend who is traveling to Ireland and wants to purchase a car there then ship it home. Does anyone have experience with this and might be able to offer some suggestions on pitfalls to avoid or whom might offer more information? Thanks for any help you can provide!
sjbisanz1 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 09:53 AM
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That's a problem. Do the Irish make any cars with U.S. Specs?

Volvo, Mercedes, and BMW have European Delivery Programs where the cars are purchased thru a U.S. dealer, picked up in Europe, driven on vacation, and shipped back to the dealer for you to take U.S. delivery of the car.

Any car bought overseas and shipped back to the U.S. that was manufactured after 1965 (somewhere around that date), must have U.S. specifications or converted to U.S. specs, which could be very costly.

What does your friend have in mind?
Budman is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 09:58 AM
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Could you have it converted to Canadian specs and just drive it over the border to US?
wsoxrebel is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 10:11 AM
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You can't register it in the U.S. unless you have the manufacturers original "Certificate of Origin." That's the piece of paper that looks like a title and will certify that the car has U.S. Specs.
Budman is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 10:40 AM
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Cars manufactured after 1965 (for US, probably the same for Canada) have to conform to N. American specifcations. Most don't, and the cost of converting them is prohibitive (numerous things, ranging from type of safety glass to seat belt types to emission controls - literally thousands of dollars in costs.)

Budman's list is incomplete. You can purchase BMWs, Volvos, Saabs, Mercedes and Porsches at their respective US/Canadian dealers, take delivery in Europe, either at the factory or other places (for a small fee), drive it around (usually 90-180 days max) then the car company will ship the vehicle to the domestic dealer, shipping cost included in the price. The purchase savings can be significant, and of course you get a pretty cool rental car while you're there. Once in a while Volvo will throw in the plane tickets to Sweden the deal (ha ha). Arranging this takes anywhere from 2 to 4 months to set up.

Go to edmunds.com and look for the "european delivery" boards under the various car makes listed above for a wealth of information.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 10:45 AM
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In addition to the info from Budman and Gardyloo - If you do bring in a car not up to US specs and plan to have it converted, you have to post a very large surety bond. For some cars it is over $100,000.
janis is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 10:46 AM
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Oops - hit post too soon. Once the car meets specs you get the bond back - but conversion costs are very often more than the original cost of the car.
janis is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 10:49 AM
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How about shipping the car to Mexico and driving into US? Here in Texas, there are so many Mexican plates...
wsoxrebel is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 10:53 AM
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You just can't register the car in the U.S.
Budman is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 10:56 AM
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Some days I don't think 1/2 the cars driving around Texas are registered in the US!

So if it the process is so cumbersome, why bother doing it?
wsoxrebel is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 11:01 AM
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Wow! What a ton of information! He thought he was getting a great deal on the car, but apparently not. It is thru Mercedes though, so he will be contacting a dealership. It is a car they make overseas but won't offer here. But thanks for all the great information. You guys rock!

Shelly
sjbisanz1 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 11:11 AM
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jenifer
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wsoxrebel - I believe that if you are stopped by the police driving a car registered to you, but not registered to the address on your license, you may have problems.
 
Jan 12th, 2004, 11:18 AM
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jenifer, Of course I would get caught, which is why I would never do it in the first place. I just keep thinking there has to be a big loophole because otherwise I don't see the benefits of the transaction.
wsoxrebel is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 11:31 AM
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A friend of mine looked into doing this with a model that is not imported into the US - and found out - as everyone above has said - that it is prohibitively expensive. Because the model is not for the US it does not meet US requirements and to modify it would have cost something in excess of $10,000.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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jenifer
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I have heard the same info as Gardyloo from others - You can purchase some cars overseas for much cheaper than you can purchase them here, even after the shipping charges. There must be some cars that do meet US requirements though of course, not all will.
 
Jan 12th, 2004, 12:13 PM
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The "sticker" savings on the ED products (most Saabs, Volvos, Bimmers) is around 6% - 9% all in (ie including shipping, options, all that.) Usually less for Porsches and MBs, sometimes zero savings aside from car rental costs. Depending on the model, time of year, etc., you can negotiate further with the dealer, resulting in even greater savings. On a $30,000 car, for example (doesn't that sound astronomic compared to a few years ago?) you can save around $2500 off the US sticker, plus, for a 3-week holiday in Europe, another one or two thousand for rental car charges you won't incur, plus most years if it's a Volvo you save the price of two air tickets to - ready? - Goteborg, cheaper insurance for the time you're there... so all in you can easily "save" $5000 - $6000 on the cost of a car plus a vacation. Not chump change for most folks. Of course, you need to be in the market for a new car and a European vacation in the first place, but if you are, I can't think of a better way to do it. We picked up a new Snaab this way some years back and had a ball tooling around the Autoroutes in a new car. Back home, the bills were waiting. Sigh.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 03:59 PM
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You really have to do your homework. We purchased a BMW 525i in 2002 and saved well over $4000 from what our dealer in NJ would have been willing to sell the car. They wanted nothing less than Dealer MSRP. We paid $1500 over European Delivery "Cost." Had to go out of state.

There are basically 4 prices for the car:

1. European Delivery Cost
2. European Delivery MSRP
3. Dealer (in the U.S.) Cost
4. Dealer MSRP

Negotiate somewhere in between 1 and 2 for European Delivery. More than paid for our European vacation.

Budman is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 04:35 PM
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Budman, do the fluctuations of the Euro make a difference in the deal? Or is the cost savings basically the same at any exchange rate?
wsoxrebel is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 04:46 PM
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The price of the car is set in U.S. Dollars. We ordered the car in November and picked it up in June. The dollar started to decline over that period, but it didn't affect the price of the car.
Budman is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 04:51 PM
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Budman, you are the man! Were you also able to charge it on your credit card and get points?!
wsoxrebel is offline  

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