Importing a vehicle into the u.s. - Miata Turbo Forum - Boost cars, acquire cats.

Welcome to Miataturbo.net   Members
 


Insert BS here A place to discuss anything you want

Reply
 
 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-29-2009, 10:49 AM   #1
Elite Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (17)
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: NY
Posts: 1,614
Total Cats: 2
Default Importing a vehicle into the u.s.

My father-in-law has a car he is no longer using and has made my wife and I aware that he'd like to gift to us.

Problem is, he/it's in Germany and neither of us have any idea where to start. Obviously I'm going to be doing a ton of researching, but was curious if anyone here has any experience in doing this. If at all possible I'd like to avoid the cost of hiring someone to import it, but may have to depending on whats involved.

Fwiw, I'm thinking the car itself shouldn't be too much of an issue.
1999 BMW 5series wagon. 130k kilometers, no issues of any sort, and completely unmodified.

Here's some questions/thoughts I have just from the little I've read so far:

-If the car doesn't have one of those "50 state legal", "meets california emissions requirements", etc stickers under the hood, it's prob gonna get complicated. From what I understand, they will not release the car to ME, but to a 3rd party who will hold, test, and modify the car as needed to clear customs. Which I would have to pay for, and probably end up being very expensive.

-The car's speedo/mileage is in Kilometers obviously, not sure if this is also something that will prevent customs clearance. Obviously, once I take possession I can swap in a US one in Miles.

-The car is in good shape, no issues, mods, problems of any kind including safety, mechanical, or even cosmetic. So I'm wondering even if it doesnt have the US Emissions sticker, what could they want to modify/repair?? I read on the customs/border protection site that many years ago many vehicles imported needed new cat's depending on where they originated due to lack of unleaded fuel. Needless to say this vehicle has been run on unleaded all its life. Other than maybe the gauge cluster, I really can't think of much else.



Any help, advice, input, etc is appreciated.....thanks!
TonyV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 11:47 AM   #2
I'm a terrible person
iTrader: (19)
 
FRT_Fun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Arizona
Posts: 7,293
Total Cats: 180
Default

I did quite a bit of research about importing vehicles into the US, but it was a few years ago. Mostly cars from Japan. If he pulls the engine and they ship separately it makes life a whole lot easier I do not believe that there will be a problem with the speedo. I can not speak for sure about this, but sometimes the glass needs to be replaced, as well as the a few other things (headlights?). If they have that same model in the states I don't think you will have much problems safety wise. They will probably make you pay for a shop to make it pass US emissions.

Don't quote me on anything, just throwing that stuff out here, I will see if I have any info on my computer.
FRT_Fun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 12:13 PM   #3
Senior Member
iTrader: (1)
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 1,125
Total Cats: 0
Default

There's a guy on the mob (Mobbius MiataMob) that imported his RHD miata from England. He can give you some heads up as to what to expect. His name is Supercrew (mark).
ArtieParty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 12:15 PM   #4
Elite Member
iTrader: (9)
 
Saml01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NYC
Posts: 5,730
Total Cats: 2
Default

^ I too think if the car is produced in the states then it will be a no brainer getting it over here.
Saml01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 12:26 PM   #5
Senior Member
iTrader: (1)
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Outside of the Loop-ATL
Posts: 754
Total Cats: 0
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saml01 View Post
^ I too think if the car is produced in the states then it will be a no brainer getting it over here.
I don't remember/know that much about shipping cars but I do remember when a few local shops were importing cars.

A) Much much easier to import a car that is already allowed in the state. AKA easier to import a civic then a skyline.

B) since the BMW is already sold state side, you should just have to make sure the car is up to crash standards and emission standards here. AKA you going to have to get a little sticker for your mirror that said "Objects are closer then they appear"... and no I am not joking. When a local shop brought some Skylines over they had to get that little sticker. I remember cause it just seemed so stupid.

C) lucky bastard, I would love a BMW wagon.
wildfire0310 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 01:36 PM   #6
Elite Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (17)
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: NY
Posts: 1,614
Total Cats: 2
Default

Thanks for the leads guys appreciate it and keep it coming.

a) Pulling engine is not an option
b) I'll hit up the mob contact to see what he can tell me
c) Thats what I was thinking, since its sold here shouldn't be much problems. I'm sure there's probably a bunch of little things like the stickers you mentioned and whatnot. I just worry about the cost I'll be charged to cure them.
From what I understand so far, its not like will release the car to me based on a promise to do whats needed. The way I understand it, I need to pay one of their certified shops to give it a clean bill of health, and I can picture myself paying a ridiculous amount of money for simple fixes. I would just like to know an idea of what to expect, otherwise it wont make sense to import it if it'll end up costing close to a used one here.

d) I'm looking forward to being able to get the car, while it'll primarily be my wife's DD, I'll have an 04 Mazda 3s, and with the wagon (awd no less) we'll be in good shape. Not to mention my Miata. 3 decent cars, $0 car loans, etc..



PS--not sure if I mentioned, but obviously this is a LHD car, and currently street legal in Germany
TonyV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 02:00 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: MD/DE/PA
Posts: 337
Total Cats: 0
Default

Have fun: Vehicle Importation Regulations

While it's theoretically possible, I can't see how it'd be worth it for a 10 year old BMW wagon, or, really, any vehicle that is readily available in the states already. The shipping cost alone is likely to be fairly high, not to mention who knows how much paperwork.
the_man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 02:30 PM   #8
Senior Member
iTrader: (1)
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 1,125
Total Cats: 0
Default

I think that's what Mark said. He said after it was all said and done it was like 7K or something just to import it. He said if he had to do it again, he wouldn't. Too big of a hassle and just not worth it.
ArtieParty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 03:29 PM   #9
Elite Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (17)
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: NY
Posts: 1,614
Total Cats: 2
Default

7k is quite steep, and more than I'd wanna pay to do this. I'd say in the 3-4k range I'd go for it, otherwise prob pass.

edit: quick search showed that they go for around 10-15k with similar mileage, and as little as 8-9k in the 100-125k mi range. Also have to figure that for 7k I could find myself something that'll do just fine. edit:

Some more good info here (thanks for the previous link as well)

BMW World - Importing a BMW


Basically it seems the biggest issue so far seems to be whether or not the vehicle has a EPA sticker or some sort, and has to be in English. This sticker, is basically a certification that the manufacturer has complied with DOT, Emissions, safety, etc...
If that IS there, then so far it seems a matter or small but non negotiable things such as: headlights, amber markers, bumper lights, 3rd brake light, seatbelt warning, several stickers, MPH gauges (this is a must apparently), and so on.

Then would come the usual fun with the DMV. Which I am not so worried about. As long as I can get the car in my possesion from customs, the rest I could figure out and get done, even call in favors if need be.

The biggest make/break it for me is:
-Does the car have this epa sticker (which I will ask my father-in-law to verify)
-Whats the typical cost for an RI (registered importer) to make the mods needed

If the car doesn't have the sticker, it'll have to run through a battery of tests/inspections for emissions, safety, etc and a long list of mods needed to be done to make it conforming. That sounds like way to much for my wallet.

And the RI, I can see being expensive regardless of how simple the modifications needed are. I wish there was a way I could do it myself. I'm going to do some more research on this, but I doubt it. I know the DMV requires the correct customs clearance forms to register, so I'm praying that maaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe I can elect to do the modifications myself, with the customs security being that duties/taxes are paid, and I cannot register the vehicle, sell it, etc... with out certain forms from them, meaning I'd have to correct the defaults. But I somehow doubt it, most likely its how I'm assuming which is they will release it to an importer, who is certified by them to do the mods, do them right, and only after will I be able to actually take possession...

Last edited by TonyV; 06-29-2009 at 03:45 PM.
TonyV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 04:11 PM   #10
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6,454
Total Cats: 80
Default

If the car is worth more or the same in Europe than here, consider selling it there and sending the cash here.
JasonC SBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 04:21 PM   #11
Senior Member
iTrader: (1)
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Outside of the Loop-ATL
Posts: 754
Total Cats: 0
Default

As for shipping I think cost will really have to do with how long you willing to wait and how you ship it.

I remember hearing that a shipping container was 5K from Japan to America. Granted the same shop was loading 4 cars into one container. Two nose to nose and two more hanging above the other two. Tho that is not the best way.. somewhere there is a photo of when one of the straps broke and one skyline dropped onto another one. Talk about a bad day.

If you could find someone or some busniess to split a container that should cut your cost for the shipping itself.

But Jason has a great point.. at some point it maybe cheaper to just sell it. Granted having a LHD BMW wagon would be sweet.
wildfire0310 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2009, 04:46 PM   #12
Junior Member
iTrader: (6)
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Lansdale, PA
Posts: 462
Total Cats: 3
Default

As to the DOT and EPA stickers, you can also get a letter from the mfg on their letterhead stating that it was built to US specs.

Granted this is from Canada to the US, but importing my Miata was very painless.
BradC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 05:56 PM   #13
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: MD/DE/PA
Posts: 337
Total Cats: 0
Default

Canada to the US importation has a separate set of rules. It is not the same as "rest of the world to the US" or, as relevant here, "Europe to US" importation. This is likely just another move forward in annexing Canada as the 51st state. If it wasn't for the fact that all the trade with Canada would become "internal" trade and make our trade deficit larger, I suspect we'd have already done so.
the_man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 06:53 PM   #14
Elite Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (17)
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: NY
Posts: 1,614
Total Cats: 2
Default

^+1, Canada to US is much easier/simpler, but thanks anyway.
TonyV is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Raleigh: Fiberglass headlight scope, 1.6L ECU, AFM, Hardtop latches, more bigmackloud Miata parts for sale/trade 13 09-22-2017 01:34 PM
Fab9Tuning's NC MX-5 Turbo Kit Discussion- EFR/Garrett V-Band FAB Prefabbed Turbo Kits 216 03-22-2017 05:00 PM
Standalone Blinkers/brake lights help triple88a General Miata Chat 15 10-04-2015 08:40 PM
Miata Newbie hdizzle Meet and Greet 8 09-21-2015 11:08 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:53 PM.