Shopping around has become an international obsession in recent years. Few people nowadays would buy
a car (or furniture or any other major item) before comparing prices of at least three, four or more dealers. We are often willing to spend days and even weeks, and travel 30, 40, or 50 miles to get that attractive price break. Unfortunately, most people do not realize that a ”shopping-around spree” is nothing other than chasing rainbows. By expending all this effort looking for the ”super bargain” we often end up just kidding ourselves.
In most cases, (unless, of course, shopping around is your favorite hobby) the savings you may achieve by shopping around town -- or even across the country -- are not dramatic enough to justify the time and the aggravation involved. They can't be! Not within a single economic system. On1y by activating such powerful factors as the currency fluctuations, dramatic reductions in the cost of labor, raw materials, taxes and government rules and regulations between sovereign nations, tax breaks for foreign nationals, and many other differences found only between international jurisdictions, can we avail ourselves of impressing, even awe-inspiring savings.
Look at the prices provided. Compare them with the prices for similar models available in the United
States. Aren't you astonished?! In addition, the European prices are MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested
Retail Prices.) It is not uncommon for European dealers to offer deep discounts, sometimes 25% off
MSRP, on many models during the year. How about those hundreds of makes and models not available to
U.S. consumers? It's all available to you now!
True, buying a car direct from Europe will require more initiative and effort on your part than simply ordering from the dealer across the street. But, in these distressing economic times we learn that people are more and more willing to do that, if the end result translates into great savings to them.
Shipment from Europe
Approximate basic sea-freight rate for a medium size car from Northern European seaports to the US East Coast is $1500. Marine insurance (appr. 1.9% of the car value) may not be required but is highly
Bringing a Vehicle into the United States
There are three principal agencies you have to deal with, before you can drive and enjoy your new car.
1. U.S. Customs
2. E.P.A. - The Environmental Protection Agency
3. D.O.T. - The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation.
Dealing with these agencies may sometimes be a trying experience, but we feel it is worth it.
All foreign-made cars brought into the United States, regardless of whether or not the importer intends to sell the auto or imports it for personal use, are subject to customs duty. Such a duty is a percentage applied to the automobile value (ad valorem) and for automobiles it is 2.5%.
The importer or its representative/broker will fill out all necessary Customs Forms. Your vehicle can be imported to the US under Bond. The face value of the bond is equal to the actual European price of the car plus the customs duty (2.5% of the value.) You can arrange such bonds through an insurance broker at a nominal cost. The Insurance Carrier may require certain financial information about you to determine whether or not you are a good credit risk. To expedite the matter, the clearance broker will assume the risk and the bond, over his own name.
After the bond value is posted, you have 120 days to comply with the requirements of DOT and 90 days
to bring your car into conformity with EPA requirements. You may, however, request an extension of time
for up to one year, by applying to the Director of Customs at the Port of Entry,
Bringing Your Car Into Conformity
Once you have taken possession of your new car, your next step is to make certain modifications, so that your automobile complies with the standards prescribed by DOT and EPA. More and more, newer
European models are produced equipped with original safety and pollution-control devices similar to
those required by U.S. law. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and, very soon - Volvo,
manufacture vehicles in the US. So, the specifications must be almost identical.
Nevertheless, the chances are that some modifications will be necessary to satisfy the US Federal
Agencies and encourage them to certify your car and release your bond.
U.S. retail price for the parts and labor-cost vary widely, depending on the section of the country, the service station requirements, and other factors. Of course, if you are an experienced mechanic or have a friendly relationship with one, that helps a great deal. You should also understand that different models may require somewhat different modifications.
Once you pass the test, E.P.A. will certify your car and recommend the release of the bond.
DOT requires no test at all and “legalizes” your car based on representations made by a person or a
service station that performed the compliance work on your car together with certification of the parts
You can greatly facilitate bringing your car to the US standards by using the assistance of the Registered importers (RIs) approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who perform the necessary modifications to bring the vehicles into conformance. Click here for the complete list of RIs by states.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS!
The choice is yours. In fact, we hope we have given you a lot of choices. You do have a tempting
alternative. Isn't it better than merely listening to a sales pitch from a local car salesman or dealership?!
Whatever you choose, PLEASE DRIVE SAFELY!