Author Topic: Potential move to Italy... ship car?  (Read 1158 times)

Geographer

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Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« on: August 05, 2019, 06:42:06 PM »
Hey guys! I received an offer to move to Italy to work for a US company. Included in the compensation is 100% paid relocation... shipping all our household goods and even a vehicle. However, we're on the fence about shipping the Scion Xd, because it could be a hassle to register the car there, if it even passes their regulations and inspections. Should we ship the car, or just sell it and buy a car there? How expensive and stressful could that process be?

We're planning to move to a fairly urban area so we might even just try going car-free for a bit. I think we may be find with just our bicycles, using trains to get from city to city, and maybe even renting a vehicle when needed.

Anybody have experience, recommendations, or advice for us? Thanks in advance!

Villanelle

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2019, 06:51:24 PM »
Sell and rebuy. 

We lived in Europe (Germany) for a few years.  Roads there are no joke.  We were in the minority in that we didn't end up with what I loving call "angry pole disease" on our cars.  Tiny roads, lax observance of laws, and unfamiliar rules cause a lot of scrapes and scratches.  Buy a beater so you don't worry so much about it, and that doesn't even address what might be require to bring it up to Euro standards.  (We went with the US military and as such weren't subject to Germany registration requirements. 

Bernard

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2019, 09:10:58 PM »
You cannot register that car there.
If you had a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, things would look differently.

erutio

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2019, 09:18:47 PM »
Sell it.  Put the money into vtsax. 

Could you convince your company to buy you a new bike when you get to Italy?

Undecided

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2019, 10:39:04 PM »
You cannot register that car there.
If you had a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, things would look differently.

Well, that, you cannot really drive in urban Italy....

habanero

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2019, 02:18:02 AM »
European cities also have this weird thing called "public transport" which is generally good and efficient. Inter-city train connections are also good across the board.

If you need a car or not depends a lot on where you live and work. Italy, like any other country, has all sorts of places.

And no, in any case, don't bring the car.


Little Aussie Battler

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2019, 02:32:39 AM »
What part of Italy?

At a minimum I wouldn’t buy a replacement until you have settled in and feel like you understand the local driving ‘rules’.  My experience in Italy (and some other parts of Southern Europe) was that driving is aggressive, speed limits are suggestions and touch parking is common and widely accepted.

Parking is also limited in many places, so you may find that you can survive without the car (or that you need a small car).

reeshau

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2019, 02:42:02 AM »
I can only agree with what everyone else is saying.  I was you a year ago, although with Ireland the added factor of driving on the other side of the road.

1) Hassle of registration, regulations compliance
2) lack of parking, particularly in urban areas.  Don't let the imminent arrival of your car force you into renting a place with parking.  In many areas, housing is the tricky bit; get that settled, and let the accessories / amenities follow.
3) greater availability of public transport.  Also, the availability of car share and Uber-like services.  And the plausible year-round use of bicycles or scooters.

If that doesn't convince you:

4) lousy relative gas mileage, from a US-geared 4 speed.  Remember, you'll be paying $6 per gallon.  Even older cars here are 6- to 9-speeds, and the gear ratios are set to maximize fuel economy.
5) Maintenance and repair:  if you get a look-see trip, stop by the local Toyota dealership (if there is one) and ask them about the availability of spare parts for your car.  While the xD is based on the Toyota B platform, the shop's mechanics will have no familiarity with the xD specifically, and any parts specific to it will probably need to be ordered.  Expect trial and error, and longer times in the shop.

I do agree with @Bernard --if you had a classic or rare car, having the company import it would be a good opportunity to make money selling it.  Alas, in Ireland you had to own it six months prior, so I missed the window.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2019, 04:05:11 AM »
Yep - don't ship the car.  People don't drive big American cars here and registering etc a foreign car is a huge bureaucratic pain (so I've heard).  Also there's no parking and gas costs and arm and a leg. 

We are car free in urban Italy.  PM me if you'd like more info.

BTW - please be aware that you won't be able to use your US drivers license in Italy once you have been resident here for 12 months and you cannot convert your US license for an Italian one. The theory part of the exam is really tough and only offered in Italian.  You should start studying for it as soon as you arrive and start organizing the exam many months before you need to have your license.  I have foreign friends who speak great Italian who have failed the theory exam 3-4 times.  Do you speak any Italian already?
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 04:08:10 AM by Hula Hoop »

Rdy2Fire

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2019, 06:37:58 AM »
As others said sell the car, and re-buy, however, since your employer offered to ship it as part of relocation ask for a car allowance (either one time or ongoing monthly) to subsidize that as they would have spent a significant amount to ship it so you're just asking for that money in another form; nothing to lose

Rdy2Fire

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2019, 06:44:36 AM »


BTW - please be aware that you won't be able to use your US drivers license in Italy once you have been resident here for 12 months and you cannot convert your US license for an Italian one. The theory part of the exam is really tough and only offered in Italian.  You should start studying for it as soon as you arrive and start organizing the exam many months before you need to have your license.  I have foreign friends who speak great Italian who have failed the theory exam 3-4 times.  Do you speak any Italian already?

Hula Hoop.. My understanding, which may not be correct, is that as long as you get an International Drivers Permit, which is tied to your US, license in this case, you can re-new that every year and be fine. At least this is what I was told when there was a possibility of moving to another EU country.

reeshau

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2019, 07:43:19 AM »


BTW - please be aware that you won't be able to use your US drivers license in Italy once you have been resident here for 12 months and you cannot convert your US license for an Italian one. The theory part of the exam is really tough and only offered in Italian.  You should start studying for it as soon as you arrive and start organizing the exam many months before you need to have your license.  I have foreign friends who speak great Italian who have failed the theory exam 3-4 times.  Do you speak any Italian already?

Hula Hoop.. My understanding, which may not be correct, is that as long as you get an International Drivers Permit, which is tied to your US, license in this case, you can re-new that every year and be fine. At least this is what I was told when there was a possibility of moving to another EU country.

Ireland works similar to @Hula Hoop 's description of Italy:  you get 12 months' grace, and then you are not legal to drive on a foreign license.  I am in driver's ed right now.  There are a number of countries Ireland will accept as an exchange of license, but those are all RHD countries.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2019, 07:45:30 AM »


BTW - please be aware that you won't be able to use your US drivers license in Italy once you have been resident here for 12 months and you cannot convert your US license for an Italian one. The theory part of the exam is really tough and only offered in Italian.  You should start studying for it as soon as you arrive and start organizing the exam many months before you need to have your license.  I have foreign friends who speak great Italian who have failed the theory exam 3-4 times.  Do you speak any Italian already?

Hula Hoop.. My understanding, which may not be correct, is that as long as you get an International Drivers Permit, which is tied to your US, license in this case, you can re-new that every year and be fine. At least this is what I was told when there was a possibility of moving to another EU country.

This is not legal in Italy.  Maybe it's OK in other EU countries but not here.  I have friends who have gotten in big trouble for driving with an international drivers permit and US license after 12 months of residency here. Driving in Italy without a valid license is a criminal offense and insurance companies won't cover damage if the driver was driving without a valid license.

Do this at your own peril.

If anyone wants any tips on passing the Italian drivers' license exam let me know.  I just passed it a bit more than a year ago.  My main advice is to start studying Italian intensively now.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 07:47:11 AM by Hula Hoop »

Imma

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2019, 08:03:53 AM »
I work with expats. In general most countries in the EU do not allow Americans to exchange their American driving license to a local license because the requirements are so different.

There is however an exception in my country that might exist in other countries as well: if you are coming to our country as a high paid, high educated expat using a specific scheme, you can exchange any valid foreign driver's license for a Dutch license. Basically this is just a perk for rich people that I don't agree with at all, but it's worth finding out if Italy has a similar exception.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2019, 09:13:55 AM »
I work with expats. In general most countries in the EU do not allow Americans to exchange their American driving license to a local license because the requirements are so different.

There is however an exception in my country that might exist in other countries as well: if you are coming to our country as a high paid, high educated expat using a specific scheme, you can exchange any valid foreign driver's license for a Dutch license. Basically this is just a perk for rich people that I don't agree with at all, but it's worth finding out if Italy has a similar exception.

Never heard of this here but I guess it's possible.  I'm an expat/immigrant -highly educated but not especially highly paid so I had to join the other plebs and do the license exam.

Geographer

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2019, 03:46:37 PM »
Thanks for the responses. It sounds pretty unanimous that shipping the car is a bad idea, which is what we were also thinking. Depending where we find an apartment, my commute to work should be no more than 2 or 3 miles. I currently bike commute daily, 8.5 miles each way, so we really shouldn't need a car.

I also didn't think about the drivers license stuff, I assumed getting an international drivers license would be pretty easy, but it sounds like a nightmare!

Imma

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Re: Potential move to Italy... ship car?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2019, 03:15:05 AM »
I work with expats. In general most countries in the EU do not allow Americans to exchange their American driving license to a local license because the requirements are so different.

There is however an exception in my country that might exist in other countries as well: if you are coming to our country as a high paid, high educated expat using a specific scheme, you can exchange any valid foreign driver's license for a Dutch license. Basically this is just a perk for rich people that I don't agree with at all, but it's worth finding out if Italy has a similar exception.

Never heard of this here but I guess it's possible.  I'm an expat/immigrant -highly educated but not especially highly paid so I had to join the other plebs and do the license exam.

In my country this is part of a special set of rules for high skilled expats that are sent here on behalf of a company, they also pay less taxes. I don't know specifically about Italy but I know many countries have schemes to attract this type of expats and it sounds like maybe the OP could potentially be in a similar scheme. There is heavy international competition to attract the best expats.

I'm not a fan of rules that make rich people pay less taxes, but unfortunately the implementation of those schemes is part of my job. I really don't agree with exchanging any license for a Dutch license: the purpose is road safety not making life easier for expats. But I didn't make the rules.