Buying a US-spec BMW in Germany, then shipping it

...and selling the car in the U.S. for a profit

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Rhapsody
Has anyone known anyone who's done this or has done it themselves? I'm talking about what I'm being pressured to do by several relatives: buy a new, US-spec built BMW in Germany, drive it for 500 miles, and then ship it back to the States when I return, and sell it for a profit. I like my current car, but then again, I also like money.

Thoughts on this?
NOFXmike
I highly doubt you'd make money off of the idea, however, if you're going to buy a BMW anyways, it's cheaper than buying it over there...save you a few grand.
Owain Glyndwr
the cheapest way for your relatives to buy a BMW would be for them to order it through a US dealer and ask for European Delivery. This will automatically get a hefty discount off the retail price. You can then pick up the car at BMW Welt on tax plates and have it shipped back via container to the US. You don't even need to drive it 500km as it will be on tax plates.

BMW's in the US are a damned site cheaper than in Germany at the moment and with this extra discount even cheaper still.

For example:

BMW X5 4.8i

German net retail price = €58,403 plus tax so €69,500

US sticker price = $ 54,500 plus tax.

you do the maths.

(I only know this "scam" you are talking about from US Military personnel who are entitled to tax free purchases and are also given hefty discounts off the sticker price. So many soldiers stationed here buy one shortly before they return to the US)
ExpatCharles
I like my current car, but then again, I also like money.
I know the 1 series is just yet to hit the market stateside. You have the advantage of buying those used here - that might be more in the right direction of what you are looking for.
Owain Glyndwr
Not really, you don't.

The E87 1-series four door hatch and the E81 2-door hatch sold here will not be sold in the US. The US market only offers the E82 1-series coupe and the E88 1-series cabriolet. Both of these models have only just been launched so VERY limited used car availability if any all.

Also the engines sold in the US will be different to those sold here.

Germany offers the 135i, 120d and 123d coupe.

I think the US offer the 135i and the 128i coupe. I doubt you'll be able to find too many 135i Coupe on the used market here yet. Besides you then have the problem of homologating a ECE spec vehicle into the US, which is not easy and costly.
TexMunich
I know the 1 series is just yet to hit the market stateside. You have the advantage of buying those used here - that might be more in the right direction of what you are looking for.
Just be careful if it is not a US model, there will be expenses to convert, especially if you importing before it is even officially released in the US.

I shipped my used X-5 from the states to Germany. With the exchange rate it appreciated in value.
hobi316
Very good point. Z4, X3, and X5 are currently produced in the US, South Carolina to be exact. Soon the Z4 will be moved to Germany and the X6 will see production in South Carolina too. Just a heads up...
Owain Glyndwr
errr what the hell has the location of the production facility got to do with whether you get a US model or ECE model?

If you order a car in Europe you will ALWAYS get an ECE model by default unless you specifically request a US model. Spartenburg Plant produces the X5 for all markets, so produces US models, ECE models, Japan models plus any number of country variants based off these models.
TexMunich
I think the point wasn't so much where it was produced but how it's priced, in USD or Euros. Buying a car in Germany for Euros and shipping back to the states doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The opposite does make sense, if you can avoid import & customs fees.

The European delivery option will save $1500-3000 depending on which vehicle you choose. I tried this a few years ago and the hard part was finding a US dealer who would play ball. I lived in Dallas and all the dealers gave me this story that I would be taking a delivery slot from the dealership and they would then lose their opportunity to sell the car at full price. The problem could have been it was a big city or that it was the new 2002 E46 M3 I wanted. I would recommend looking for BMW dealers in less affluent areas.

The supply of used BMWs is definitely more over here. I don't know if the pricing of these used BMWs plus shipping and conversion charges would save you any money.

FYI - If anyone is interested in buying a US spec BMW and shipping it back to the US when your time is done in Germany I would recommend that you join the US BMW Car Club at least a year before buying. They usually have a program where if you were a member of the club for the preceding 12 months before buying a new or certified pre-owned BMW you would get a rebate on the purchase. I got a $1000 rebate when I bought my X-5 in 2004, all for the cost of $35 for a one-year membership. The monthly BMW magazines are pretty cool too.
Timmeh
This isn't supposed to be a dig at anyone, but why on earth would anyone throw away money buying a brand new car? I can never understand this.
TexMunich
Not a dig either, but you probably never will because each person has their own reasons for buying new.

Before I bought my 2002 M3 - new, I had driven my previous car for 14 years and put 237,000 miles on it. Why shouldn't I get a new car?

By the way, I don't own it anymore. Two kids will change things.
Allershausen
Z4, X3, and X5 are currently produced in the US, South Carolina to be exact. .
The X3 is not produced in America, it's produced in Austria. As OG says, a Euro spec car will cost a lot of money to convert to US spec. There are same major differences in the safety equipment on US models, as well as lights and a few other things that escape me for the moment.
Odenwalder
Even buying a US spec car and driving it at least 500 miles before shipping it to the states will still become expensive. As mentioned before, shipping will cost between $1500 - $4000 depending on shipping method. If you want no scratches or dings, go with using a container. Anyway, then you have to pay the taxes and fees once it gets to the port of entry. And that can be $5,000 or more. I did this in 1996 with a brand new 318ti, US spec, bought in Germany, had just over 1,000 miles on it. I was shipping it on military orders and still had my Army Europe plates on it, so I was allowed to take it out of the port. But before I could register it and put state tags on it, I had to pay all duties, taxes, and fees. It was a rude awakening.
leky
Doesn't it depend on which state you register them though? When we shipped our cars to the US we didn't have to pay any taxes on them, I think they were both over 2 years old though if that makes a difference.

If anyone wants a US spec M3 2003 (I think) let me know, I'll sell you my husbands it doesn't get driven that much as he won't drive it in the winter or in the rain, doesn't leave many days to drive it around here.
Timmeh
Not a dig either, but you probably never will because each person has their own reasons for buying new.
Furry muff I spose. I just can't see how anyone can see the value in a new car, and just cringe at the thought of driving off the lot and effectively throwing x many thousands of yoyos down the drain in those few seconds.
Before I bought my 2002 M3
Nice choice.
By the way, I don't own it anymore. Two kids will change things.
I just hope for your sake that the arrival of kids didn't mean swapping the M3 for a people mover.
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