Shipping a car from the U.S. to Germany

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I will move to Germany in a few days and remain there for at least two years. I wonder if it is economical to ship my car, a 2000 Toyota Avalon, there. I am confident that this car will run without any major repair for the entire duration that I will spend in Germany. The quote for shipping cost for that car from NY to Germany is around $900. That price excludes the shipping cost for the car from where I am to NY. From reading other comments on this subject, I understand that I must pay an additional sum for import taxes and other required modification/repairs. If I have a car, I would drive my car for commuting to work and traveling in Europe during weekends and holidays instead of taking trains or fly. Please share your experience, if you have any, or your comments in this matter. Thank you. Entropy

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Well first off the shipping costs don't seem all that realistic to me, does that also include marine insurance?

 

Germany/Europe has an excellent public transportation system (except when they're on strike) so it's very easy to get around & as for taking your car/truck on holidays, I think you'll find that it's much easier and in a lot of cases cheaper to just fly or take the train.

 

If you get here and decide you really need a car you can just get an old banger to use fro a coupla years.

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Having many friends that have shipped their autos between the US and Germany, I can say that $900 is way to low.

The min. going rate is around $2000-2500 or more depending on shipper,insurance and the ships travel dates (Arrival Time).

 

You most deff. want to get as much Insurance as possible, as Some of these autos were a total write-off due to (Salt) water damage

and mold. Something that will give you 100% coverage is reccomended.

 

As for the rest, Europe has great public transport systems, and you may find that having your car here is not really needed.

Add to that US autos are gas pigs and gas prices around 6-7 Eur a gallon, insurance is more than in the US, Import taxes, conversion

and testing (tüv) fees and you will see that it doesn't make much sense to import for only 2 yrs.

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Not completely important, but a Toyota Avalon isn't a small car. You would still get around here alright, but it is my experience that it's a bit annoying to manouver bigger cars through the smaller roads. Parking isn't my idea of a good time either. It might not really be worth it to spend all that money getting here. The transit system is usually quite good.

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The quote is from Neptune International for shipping a Toyota Avalon from NY to Bremerhaven.

 

Here is a brief detail of the quote sent to me

Shipping $850

Documentation fee $ 25

Insurance ~ 2.0% of value of the car

Personal and household items can be placed inside the car with documenation fee $ 65

 

I realize that the avalon is not a small car but it is extremely reliable and has decent gas milage, with an average of 29mpg highway. Another issue that I did not mention is car insurance. How much does it cost for a thirty something years old per year? Furthermore, is driving record in the US a factor in determining the cost of an automobile insurance policy? As always, thanks for your input.

Entropy (increasing steadily)

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Insurance will run you 400-1000 Eur Per Year and its usually based of the make/model of the Auto..

Don't forget Car tax as well.. Based off make/model and Pollution level. Prob. another 100-300 Eur per year

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is driving record in the US a factor in determining the cost of an automobile insurance policy?

Of course.

 

Get a letter from your current American insurace company showing how many years you've driven and claims that you've had. You should present this back to your new Insurance company here. This will allow you to negotiate your rates when you apply...

 

I haven't read through the other posters, but ensure that you have a drivers license from a US state which has reciprocity with the Germans. If you don't have one then get one. It will save you shit load of hassle...

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Not to be snarkish, but to me, bringing a car to Germany because you're not sure if you can get by on public transport is like bringing your own cow to the Old Country Buffet because you're not sure there'll be enough meat.

 

Driving here costs many times what it does in the U.S., and the public transport is of unsurprassed quality. You'd be best off selling the car, the revenue from which would cover a good chunk of all your travel costs while over here. Then when you go back, buy a newer-but-slightly-used Toyota and you'll be right back where you started from, without have to hassle with the car while you're here.

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I think you'd be better off leaving it behind and seeing how things go when you get here. You may decide you need a set of wheels, then so be it, buy one, but you may also discover that you don't need one after all, and the cost of having a set of wheels here may very well convince you that you don't need one.

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Don't ship a car to Germany unless someone else is paying for it.

 

At any rate, you'd be without it for awhile when you first get to Germany, unless you ship it ahead. In the meantime, while the car is in transit, you would likely discover that you don't much need it anyway, and here you've gone to the bother and expense of shipping it and then getting it checked for driving in Germany.

 

Do check on the reciprocal driving license thing, though. You may have to rent or borrow a car occasionally, and the less hassle and expense to get your license, the better.

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The car is too big. It's a high-end sedan which is almost 2m wide, 5m long and has a wheelbase of 2.8m. You'll barely fit in normal-sized lanes and there are a lot of streets you'll get caught in due to bends and parking. Speaking of parking, you'll find few places to put that beast.

 

The car has a 70l tank; that'll cost you around $120 to fill up. The fuel economy is shit at almost 11l/100km (although it's better than a BMW 5 series).

 

With a 3l engine at 268 horsepower it'll cost a fortune to insure. It's a luxury car; Vollkasko (complete) insurance will be even higher. Plus car tax. And parking

 

The car isn't built for the EU, only the US and Australia. That means they didn't have to design in all the EU requirements. You could be looking at having a lot of parts replaced, including electrics, glass, catalytic converter, filters, and anything else the schlub at the TÜV decides he wants you to get in order to punish you for being so stupid and arrogant as to bring that thing here.

 

You're better off putting your car in storage in the US and picking up something here. In many places you can avoid cars and all their related costs and use the excellent public transportation. On the occasions you need a car you can pick up rentals cheap from the no-name local firms. Nice cars, I might add.

 

Just saw cinzia's post and want to add: you'll need to get a German driver's license if you're here longer than 6 months. If at all possible, trade yours in NOW for a VA license. Virgina's is fully reciprocal and requires you to take no tests.

 

woof.

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ok...so here is a dilema...moving to Germany from US. I have a Bmw 645ci...it is a 2005 fully loaded. These things are pricey in EU.

I can take it to Europe and sell for way more than here is US. Also, I can have a nice ride while touring Europe. I'm a car guy BTW. Company is offering me a car ...some piece of shit VW...not sure of Jetta or Passatt.

What should I do? I would never be able to afford such car in Germany...even used...

 

Your thoughts?

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If I was to dump 50-60,000 Euro for a BMW 645ci, I certainly would not buy a reimported USA version of the car (which you'll be able to see on the Fahrzeugbrief). Dump the BMW and take the "piece of shit VW". Look at BadDoggie's port...he is spot on.

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As far as i can remember you will have to have the brakes and the lighting changed here after a certain time,to comply with the EU Regulations.

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First of all, don't listen to anyone who says "don't bring your car!", especially baddoggie. He's an asshole and disagrees with just about everything, maybe he thinks people shouldn't have cars. And for once he may actually be wrong about something, though I'm sure he'll dispute that.

 

L / km traveled = 2.3522 / MPG (in US gallons), so if you really get close to 29mpg, you'll have 8-9L per 100km ($16 to drive 62 miles). My car that was an actual (usage-based) 24mpg in the States gets about 9-10L/100km depending whether it's city or highway (or if I go up to the 140mph speed limiter, hehe).

 

I did bring a car here and it was well worth it. If I'd sold it in the states and bought a similar car here, I would've come out $10,000 on the short end of the stick for various reasons. I am a car person so would not want to go without one. But it depends on the car (e.g. in my case, don't sell a convertible which once had an accident, in the winter). The exchange rate bites now, so you wouldn't want to sell it and then get here and realize "I want a car!"

 

The roads are great, no need to worry about narrow streets in most areas. Highways and regional roads are fine, I've seen plenty of people w/ 7-series bmw's, hummers, etc that seem to be able to get around the "narrow streets." Just know that if you drive in a city it can be hard to find parking downtown, and side streets might be interesting if a car comes the other way (you can pull to the side in a driveway or something).

 

- You must have owned the car for a while (6 months or 1 year, not sure exactly) otherwise you would have to pay import duty. Fortunately if yours is a 2000 it's likely you didn't *just* buy it.

 

- Get the DL of a state which has full reciprocity with Germany, BD is right about that. I am from VA so had to do very little. You have 6 months as a resident to get the German license before your US one is no longer accepted. Then after you get the German version, they take your US license. But you can tell the state you lost it and get a new one. The German license never expires, it's good for life.

 

- Make sure you have letters from every insurance company going back 20+ years (or, back to when you last caused an accident). Letter must state "accident free driving on the duration of this policy" and the policy duration. If it's not clear enough, the German insurance may reject the letter and demand a "correct" one. You get lower and lower insurance the farther back you go accident-free. You can get Vollkasko (collision) or just (forget the German name for) liability just like in the States, depends how good a driver you think you are. My parents always switched to liability only when the value of the car was low and it was a few years form replacement time.

 

- Check with a Toyota dealer in Germany in advance about what you need to get changed on your car. For my BMW it was ~600 euro. Needed a rear fog light (red light brightness like a brake light, which often goes where one of the two reverse lights would be in the US). I've never used it. But they had to replace the rear light clusters to have the place for it on my car; add a switch; and run the wires. Also I needed the side turn-signals replaced with a different color. Brakes, headlights, etc depends on what yours are now. There's a good chance it's compliant and you won't have to change those things. Because the German specs are good specs, so a lot of quality automakers like Toyota use parts that are passing the German rules. I'm pretty sure you won't have to replace any glass :P

 

- My car came unscathed (roll on / roll off) but I had to get special insurance b/c it was >5y old. Check if they cover that with the 2% fee, because your car is also old. Also check if the 2% is the current, used car value or the new car value. I'm sure an insurance agent could also quote you for marine insurance (which you MUST have, otherwise they can drop a steel beam on it or sink it and you're screwed). Also check about delivery in Germany, unless you want to pick it up in Bremerhaven and get the conversion done there (I wouldn't risk driving it to your final location unregistered / uninsured, from the lack of insurance it's probably not legal anyway). I guess Bremerhaven companies charge a lot for conversion knowing this. I got mine delivered by truck to Munich for about $240 extra, then sorted the rest here.

 

- My 3.2L engine M car with 240hp costs a whopping 240 euros or so per year in taxes. Hell, I think that's less than I paid in Virginia. Don't listen to BD on that one.

 

Let us know what you decide to do, good luck...

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Jarek, I would bring the car if I were you (if you can afford it, which you probably can if you own a 645). But check the conversion costs first. Most likely the same as me, just a couple light clusters to get the rear fog light.

 

Can't lecture you on the fine points of selling a US spec bimmer since I still have mine. Mine has the added problem of a smaller engine, which the US M's had for years. But you probably would still get more than in the US.

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I certainly would not buy a reimported USA version of the car

yoyo...there is not difference or very tiny difference between the US spec and German version. If anything, US version has more toys/options...

 

J

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I really doubt you would have much luck selling your car here, most Germans who can afford those sort of cars buy new ones every 3 years anyway & I doubt they would consider a used US spec unless it is way cheap.

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The quote is from Neptune International for shipping a Toyota Avalon from NY to Bremerhaven.

 

Here is a brief detail of the quote sent to me

Shipping $850

Documentation fee $ 25

Insurance ~ 2.0% of value of the car

Personal and household items can be placed inside the car with documenation fee $ 65

 

I realize that the avalon is not a small car but it is extremely reliable and has decent gas milage, with an average of 29mpg highway. Another issue that I did not mention is car insurance. How much does it cost for a thirty something years old per year? Furthermore, is driving record in the US a factor in determining the cost of an automobile insurance policy? As always, thanks for your input.

Entropy (increasing steadily)

I worked in this field and personally dont think that is all. Next question is who is doing your custom clearance in Germany? Also you say you only have a few days. You need to have your car at the port and inspected by custom up to 72 hours before the ship is there. On top of that the car needs to be stuffed (industry lingo) into the container and secured. As what others have said you need full insurance, there is a good chance your car will have scratches on it...it happens. Sea water damage is highly possible as it is going across the North Atlantic this late in the year, the seas are rough.

 

I shipped only about 200 kilos of personal goods out of NY and paid 371 Euros plus another 200 here. My goods were only valued at $1000...you ca is worth more...

I also know to ship Ro-Ro (Roll on roll off ships, what is used for importing cars ie BMW) run about $2000...

 

So you might want to check into that again...

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