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      08-02-2009, 01:28 PM   #1
luisalbertoga
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Exclamation importing a car from Spain to the US... any help?

Hi all!!

I don't know who else I can ask.. so here I go.

I have read some of the pages that are available about importing a car, and I have some idea about the process... but what I really need is a real life experience of someone who has done it, or if you know any transporter who will do it, real costs, any contact in the EPA or Dept of transportation or BMW North Amercia.... to speak with them about it. (I actually think I need a letter from BMW NA saying that my car is suitable to be imported into the US)

Here is the case...

I work for a Spanish multinational, and I will be in the USA for long (Denver, Colorado). I am actually in the US, with an E-2 Visa, doing some work, and I am planning to bring my car with me in a few months (unless I am able to sell it at a decent price).

I have read that you can import your personal car, for personal use, for 1 year, and you don't need to pay any custom duties or taxes. That is interesting, but actually, I will be here longer (I hope), so I don't know if it will be a good option.

The car is a BMW 330d. I am aware that in the US the diesel model is the 335d, but I would say that there shouldn't be any problems with the emissions levels, or safety certifications, as the car is basically the same, and I think that cars nowadays are well bellow the emissions levels, and most countries have very similar emissions levels. The biggest issue would be the tachometer, that read in kph, and not in mph (we only have it in kph, not in kph and mph...) They might want me to change that, but apart from that I don't think there will be any other modifications to the car.

Has any of you had any experience importing a car from Europe? Do you know of any e-mail, address, telephone for BMW North America, where I can ask them about the document saying that my vehicle is capable of being imported into the US? (or not).

Do you know of any company that is specialized in importing vehicles from Europe to the US? (I have seen many fom the US to Europe...)

I have contacted some spanish companies, but they are asking over 7,000 USD, plus taxes at customs that I will have to pay myself (without saying how much that can be), any time the car has to be in the entry harbor (also paid by me), and any modification needed to the car (also paid by me).

There is just too many uncertainties!! and speaking about money and legal things... I really do not want to take any risks!!

Can anyone help me? I am already in Denver. I have already gone to where you get the title of the car (I don't remember the name of the department) and spoke with them, but they didn't know much.

I have tried to contact customs, but with no luck...

I am quite desperate!!

I just need an "all-in" price for getting my car here!!!! my nice e-90 330d.

I know it will be cheaper to buy here a new or almost new e90 330xi, but the problem is that I cannot just leave my car in Spain, and the financial situation everywhere is not the best, so they ask for ridiculous prices to buy a second hand car.

Thanks!!!

here you have some pics of the beauty!





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      08-02-2009, 01:50 PM   #2
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nice ride. i dont know anything about importing a car from there to the us. i just know its expensive/takes a long process. gl though =)
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      08-02-2009, 02:34 PM   #3
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Thanks iheartsole!

Well... the other option would be to sell my car, which I like very much, and paying here more for a prewoned car that I don't know much about his past drivers...

I would love to know about someone who actually have tried to do it, and how expensive it was...

Best!
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      08-02-2009, 03:03 PM   #4
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Ask the op, he said he imported it from Spain to the US.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=288111
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      08-02-2009, 03:56 PM   #5
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Thanks Rome!!

I've just sent him a PM.
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      08-02-2009, 07:14 PM   #6
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Debo...looks like he is in the Military (sticker in lower left corner of windshield) so he would not be of any help as his car is US spec and the military shipped it back to the states for him.
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      08-02-2009, 07:18 PM   #7
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Car looks awesome.

I don't have any experience with this, but many of the BMW diesels offered in Europe don't pass US emission requirements. My guess is you might run into a problem because of that, but again I'm really no expert.

Good luck, and let us know what happens either way.
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      08-02-2009, 07:30 PM   #8
luisalbertoga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacan335 View Post
Debo...looks like he is in the Military (sticker in lower left corner of windshield) so he would not be of any help as his car is US spec and the military shipped it back to the states for him.
well... if that is the case... then I am afraid that it won't be of much help...
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      08-02-2009, 07:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jopa489 View Post
Car looks awesome.

I don't have any experience with this, but many of the BMW diesels offered in Europe don't pass US emission requirements. My guess is you might run into a problem because of that, but again I'm really no expert.

Good luck, and let us know what happens either way.

Jopa, do you know if those diesel are of earlier models?

The 330d has the active particle emissions filter, and there is virtually (and without the virtual part), no smoke out of the exhaust, and the allowed emissions levels, are really low for any new car (this is 2006).

Thank for the comment!!!

It's hard to find someone that has already tried to do so... I know some people that have done it from the US to Spain... but never what I am trying... (yes, I know, that by itself is supposed to mean something... but it will mean quite a lot of money anyway...).

Thanks!!!!!

Best!
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      08-02-2009, 08:35 PM   #10
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I don't know for sure unfortunately. Perhaps the 330d with the APE filter would pass, and it's the smaller 4-cylinder diesels that don't. Wish I could be of more help.
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      08-02-2009, 09:01 PM   #11
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Thanks Jopa!
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      08-02-2009, 09:03 PM   #12
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The answer is that it is simply not possible if you want to keep the car in the U.S. for over one year.

Since BMWs are cheaper in the U.S. than Europe, you would probably be better off selling anyway.
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      08-02-2009, 09:14 PM   #13
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You wrote me earlier. Here the thing, I brought my car over through the military so I really don't think I can help do to the fact my car was shipped here for free. I will say this, you should talk to DNV first for the State your going to be living (working) and then shipping companys should be easy to get right out of the yellow page book.
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      08-02-2009, 10:13 PM   #14
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no idea on importing but nice ride :P

love the interior
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      08-03-2009, 03:54 AM   #15
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I have a friend who had a 335i in Japan, who wanted to ship it to california. The car didn't have US emmisions sticker (even though the same drive-train is certified) and he just gave up and sold his car at a huge loss.
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      08-03-2009, 04:27 AM   #16
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no way.

Forget about importing the car into the USA. The cost involved are much higher than the loss in selling and buying it cheaper in the USA. You might even have problems with importing a diesel. Just recently there was an article in the US-Mil. newspaper "Stars&Stripes" about importing a non-US spec car into the USA. Conversion could cost up to 15000 USD.
Maybe I'm able to find the article and will post it later.
Don't forget the import tax.

from this website: http://www.sefco-export.com/carclear.htm
"Did you know...?
...that about 80% of the inquiries we receive for importing vehicles into the USA (cars, motorcycles, any on-the-road titled vehicle) are for vehicles that CAN NOT come into the USA? Why? Because they DO NOT conform to US DOT/EPA/FHWA regulations. It's important for you to do your homework first before shipping your vehicle to the USA. We will provide you with a confirmed shipping/handling rate after you have read the below information and can confirm to us that "yes" your particular vehicle will be allowed into the USA. Otherwise, giving you a inbound to the US-shipping rate will be a fruitless effort. In some cases, unless you are planning on driving the auto around for up to 1 year and the shipping it back you will not be allowed into the US due to current EPA/DOT standards. There are shippers who do bring in their vehicles into the US that aren't made to US specs, and will elect to have the autos reconverted over by a registered importer (RI). This is an expensive process that costs up to $ 15,000.00 and can take up to a year in time.

If you, the owner of the auto, still want to bring your auto into the US, even though the auto isn't US titled / doesn’t meet the US standards, you can bring it in and have it in the US for exactly up to one year, but you can’t register it. You will have to physically meet with US Customs officials and present an itinerary of your stay in the US. You will be required to show copies of your plane tickets, addresses of hotels, resorts, etc. where you will be staying, and all names and addresses of people you will be staying with. Please contact US Customs directly for more information.
"

=============

and this is from this website: http://www.japanautodirect.com/japan...ing_to_usa.cfm

Vehicles eligible for import into the USA:
1) Any vehicle that is at least twenty-five (25) years old (to the month/year of manufacture) is eligible to be imported into the USA, fully exempt of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (Department of Transport) and Environmental Protection Agency (vehicle emissions) standards or import restrictions.

2) Any vehicle that was originally manufactured to meet the NHTSA (DOT) & EPA standards, such as USDM cars like a Chevrolet Corvette or European exotic from USA, can be repatriated back to America without import restriction.

3) Any vehicle that is a non-US spec vehicle (Not DOT & EPA compliant), such as JDM cars like a Nissan Skyline, you must hire a DOT-registered importer and have them conform the vehicle to U.S. standards upon importation. * Please check the "list of non-conforming vehicles" (link below) for the JDM vehicle you want to import and also the "list of registered importers" (link below) who might be able to conform that specific vehicle to US Spec for you.

For all of the correct and up-to-date information about the rules and regulations to import a vehicle into the USA please contact the NHTSA & EPA. For your referrence, please click on the links below.


http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/...elig060109.pdf
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/web_complete_RI_list120508.pdf"
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/quiktext.htm


....oh, I forgot to mention the
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      08-03-2009, 04:44 AM   #17
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Ok, here it is:

Being overseas offers a unique opportunity for car enthusiasts
... but getting some vehicles back to the States can take months and require modifications costing more than $30,000

By T.D. Flack and Mark Abramson, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Wednesday, July 29, 2009
http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?s...&article=63906
================================================== ====



In Germany, troops can find themselves behind the wheel of a used Mercedes-Benz for less than $5,000. In Japan, $5,000 can put them in the bucket seats of one of Japan’s prized sports cars.

But officials and car enthusiasts warn that anyone hoping to bring that dream car back to the United States better have deep pockets.

Any foreign-produced car less than 25 years old must be modified to U.S. standards — and that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency are all involved, and modifications can be extensive. They can range from new headlights to bumper reinforcements, seatbelt warning systems to instrument panels.

Staff Sgt. Larrance Ritter of the Traffic Management Office at Misawa Air Base, Japan, said TMO officials at any base can provide basic information on how the system works — including links to Web sites with detailed instructions — but that the troops must "do the homework."

Not every car can be imported, Ritter warned. Troops should start by visiting the NHTSA’s Web site for a list of those eligible for import. The next step is contracting with an authorized "registered importer" in the United States who will do all the work to the car before it can be released.
Ritter also said the car won’t make it into the military shipping system until the servicemember can show a receipt proving he’s paid at least half the total bill with the importer.

Registered importer Lois Joyeusaz of J.K. Technologies LLC in Baltimore said her company works with a lot of Europe-based troops, but advises troops coming from Japan not to even bother trying because of the cost. A high-performance Japanese Nissan Skyline, for example, runs about $35,000 to convert to U.S. standards, including the necessary structural modifications.

Importer Phil Trupiano, a co-owner of Birmingham Motors in Royal Oak, Mich., said he often gets e-mails and calls from servicemembers who want to bring a car into the States. But bringing a vehicle into conformity takes an average of three to four months, he said.

Kristil Pinlac, based in Germany, had planned to bring her 1989 BMW 318 to the States when her husband gets out of the Army. But she changed her mind when they found out they would have to spend about $3,000 on modifications.

“When I first bought it, I didn’t like it that much,” she said, “but it is a very nice car.”

She said the car has been reliable, but the conversion costs and costs of shipping it to the States kept her from having the work done.

Air Force Master Sgt. Timothy Smith at Yokota Air Base, Japan, said he was shocked when an importer said it would cost more than $30,000 to bring his $1,200 1997 Nissan Skyline to standard.

“I said, ‘Are you serious?’  ” Smith recalled. “It was like a wake-up call.”

Smith is the noncommissioned officer in charge of the personal property section at Yokota, and his office helps about 3,500 people move their stuff each year.

After conducting his own research, he better understands why so few people elect to ship cars. From June 2008 to May 2009, he said, only 23 people shipped a car from Yokota to the United States.

His advice to anyone considering shipping a car home is simple: “preparation and planning.”

Joyeusaz, the registered importer from Baltimore, was more direct.

“Ninety percent of the people who [import cars] are servicemembers,” Joyeusaz said, “and they are being creamed by DOT and EPA.”
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      08-03-2009, 07:58 AM   #18
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Anything is possible i saw a 1 series hatchback in Atlanta which they do not sell in the US only the 1 series coupe. And there are also skyline Gtr's running around in the states. Ship it to Mexico are to canada. The only thing you have to get pass there is the border. And i have read on the Vw vortex forums that a guy drove an Audi S3 from mexico to texas and wrecked the only S3 in the US running from the cops because of illegal street racing. Mexico will probably be easier for you.
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      08-03-2009, 09:47 AM   #19
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If your 330d motor doesn't have AdBlue injection (urea), then that's a much bigger issue than the kph/mph conversion. You would have to retrofit the necessary components. Why? b/c since 2006, diesel NOx emissions levels are now the same as gasoline's. But since diesels emit more NOx than gasoline, they need more stringent controls. These controls need ULSD (<15ppm) to work effectively. US didn't get ULSD across the board until a couple years ago. That's why so few diesels were imported into the US. The diesel wasn't available to meet the standards set by the EPA.

From the EPA's website:
A. What is a non-U.S. version vehicle?

Non-U.S. version vehicles generally are those that are sold in foreign countries. They will not have the U.S. EPA compliance label. Non-U.S. version vehicles may also include U.S. version vehicles that have been modified or altered.

Besides EPA, several other Federal agencies regulate the importation of nonconforming vehicles, including the Department of Transportation, Customs and Internal Revenue Service.

EPA does not recommend the importation of nonconforming vehicles. Conversion of nonconforming vehicles is usually very expensive, and sometimes impossible or impractical.

EPA will permit the importation of a nonconforming vehicle only if it qualifies for an exclusion or an exemption, or is imported by an independent commercial importer (ICI), who is a current holder of a valid EPA certificate of conformity.

Last edited by fxhomie; 08-03-2009 at 02:17 PM.
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      08-03-2009, 10:13 AM   #20
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can anyone comment on bringing a right hand car from germany to the US. Keep it for less than a year, then ship it to say, Singapore.

I mentioend less than a year since it seems that above a year would require you to do ALL modifications, etc on the car (based on comments above)

Cars in Singapore are insanely expensive. I realize the consequences of importing a vehicle to Singapore having to pay all their import taxes, but the net price of the car would still be a lot cheaper.
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      08-03-2009, 06:43 PM   #21
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Nice looking car, I'm sure you will love it here in Denver!
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      08-03-2009, 07:41 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortyb View Post
Anything is possible i saw a 1 series hatchback in Atlanta which they do not sell in the US only the 1 series coupe.
It was only here for 1 year (imported by Bosch).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortyb View Post
Ship it to Mexico are to canada.
What exactly does this sentence mean?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortyb View Post
The only thing you have to get pass there is the border.
Really? How does it pass inspection and get registered with plates?
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