Import/Export A Car
The car manufacturers that offer these kinds of deals are typically the maker of higher-priced models and their goal is to maintain the enthusiasm felt around the world about their brands. The advantages are being able to enjoy an additional 3-7% off MSRP, and combining a wonderful European vacation, with added bonuses. Visit your favorite manufacturer’s website for additional details, and to see if this kind of plan is offered to you.
Imagine flying overseas (sometimes for free!) to pick up your brand new – very foreign – car, driving it around, and having it shipped back home? From Dresden to driveway, here’s how you can do it:
- Stop at your local dealer to reserve your car. The overseas dealer will schedule a pick-up arrangement time with you so you can set your travel plans. However, this process could take some time, depending on the car – you should plan 3 months ahead of time.
- Catch a flight and enjoy your car on vacation for a while. You can stay up to 3 or 6 months, and tour the countryside. You don’t have to worry about anything – the dealership will have arranged all documentation to keep your car legal on the road while you are visiting – make sure to check specific details with your car manufacturer. Also, while unleaded gasoline is available in Europe, know that you may pay $6 or more per gallon!
- Schedule your (empty) car for shipping back into the U.S. at a city near you, and allow time for customs. It will typically take anywhere from 6-8 weeks for your car to be delivered into the United States, and even though insurance and the shipping costs are included in the purchase price of the car, local state and county sales taxes are not.
- Pick up, and drive your new vehicle home.
Exporting A Car
If you’re sending your car over the border, you need to provide proof of ownership, by way of title or registration. Keep track of any changes made to the vehicle while out of the country for submittal upon re-entry. Also, you’ll need to plan ahead – customs needs at least 72 hours with your vehicle to ensure its departure by validating all ownership documents. You may have some issues with meeting the federal emissions standards when trying to import your older-model car back into the U.S., so it’s best not to even try. Some older vehicles (circa 1970s) will not meet the air standards and will fail upon re-entry.
Go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website to learn more.
Check out these other helpful links:
Vehicle Importation Regulations
Importing Your Car into the U.S.
Autopedia: Importing and Exporting Vehicles
The Automotive Imports Facts Manual