Author Topic: Shipping a car to Europe  (Read 2200 times)

aspiringnomad

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Shipping a car to Europe
« on: January 26, 2017, 09:42:42 PM »
Has anyone paid to ship a car from the US to Europe or anywhere else? Some quick Googling seems to indicate it would cost between $800 and $1500 for a mid-sized hatchback roll on, roll off, not including taxes and registration overseas (we'd look to avoid having to reregister until we're absolutely sure it's the right move and understand the tax implications). The car is only worth about $7k here in the US, but from what I can tell would go for quite a bit more in most of Europe. Anything I should look out for? Plan is to slow travel staying in smallish southern or eastern European towns over a couple years, where a car would be handy or even necessary, then sell it before moving on from Europe. Any thoughts on the wisdom of this vs. selling my car before I leave the US and buying a used car once there? This is part of planning for ER a couple years out from now.

Syonyk

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Re: Shipping a car to Europe
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2017, 10:15:02 PM »
Isn't most of Europe right hand drive?  I expect that would impact resale values over there.

aspiringnomad

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Re: Shipping a car to Europe
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2017, 10:36:05 PM »
Isn't most of Europe right hand drive?  I expect that would impact resale values over there.

Actually, I think most of Europe is left hand drive (the steering wheel that is, but drive on the right side of the road) with the notable exceptions of the UK and Ireland.

Pro_Amateur

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Re: Shipping a car to Europe
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2017, 03:23:47 AM »
On the continent, it's left-hand driving on the right side of the road. Also, in the US, many cars are automatics, while in Europe the stick shift is common.

Don't forget the technical issues. There are some differences between European and American cars, even if it's the same model. The blinking lights are different and there's also something with the exhaust (katalysator I think, I don't know the exact word in English).

Last but not least, in many countries you will have to pay some form of tax to get the car on the road for the first time. This depends on the age of the car and its initial cost. This is not the same as the yearly road tax, which can also be expensive.

For a car with that value, it might too much of headache. In some countries (such as Belgium) there is an interesting market of former lease cars, usually only 3 years old because that is the standard period after which they are replaced and sold by the leasing company.



sailinlight

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Re: Shipping a car to Europe
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2017, 03:36:49 AM »
Octane rating of gas is much higher in Europe too, 95 is the minimum I think.  It seems that this would burn the valves of an American car and could cause serious engine troubles.  Why do you think your car is worth more in Europe?  Also some countries will not let you buy and/or register a car unless you are a resident there.  I know in Italy at least there are month to month rental companies where you can rent a new vehicle for a few hundred Euros per month, including maintenance.  Much easier in my opinion.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Shipping a car to Europe
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2017, 05:23:13 AM »
The blinking lights are different and there's also something with the exhaust (katalysator I think, I don't know the exact word in English).

Catalytic converter? This is different in EU and non-EU countries. If you are importing into the EU you may need one retrofitted. They can be pricey.


 
Isn't most of Europe right hand drive?  I expect that would impact resale values over there.

Actually, I think most of Europe is left hand drive (the steering wheel that is, but drive on the right side of the road) with the notable exceptions of the UK and Ireland.

Yes, mostly left hand drive.

Dave1442397

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Re: Shipping a car to Europe
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2017, 06:34:20 AM »
You really need to be careful bringing a car to Europe these days.

Octane ratings are different in Europe - their 95 is equivalent to 91 in the US. See here for details - http://www.pencilgeek.org/2009/05/octane-rating-conversions.html

Yearly registration tax may be based on engine size or emissions in many countries. In Ireland, you'll pay from 120 Euro/yr for a zero emissions car (eg, Nissan Leaf) to 2350 Euro/yr for a car that emits 225g/km or higher.

Some countries will allow you to bring a car in tax free if you are becoming a resident of the country and bringing your car with you, but you'll still have to make sure the car conforms to emissions and safety standards.

Having an LHD car in an RHD country isn't too big a deal these days. The worst thing used to be toll booths when you didn't have a passenger to pay for you, but these days most tolls can be paid with electronic tags, so it's no big deal.

We had a couple of families in our town back in the '80s who brought cars in. One family brought a couple of Toyotas from Canada, and drove them into the ground. The other was a wealthy retiree who brought a stretch Lincoln Town Car in lavender/purple with a chauffeur to drive her around. It was a trip to see that thing cruise by back in the days when most people had tiny cars.




aspiringnomad

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Re: Shipping a car to Europe
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2017, 07:44:03 AM »
On the continent, it's left-hand driving on the right side of the road. Also, in the US, many cars are automatics, while in Europe the stick shift is common.

Don't forget the technical issues. There are some differences between European and American cars, even if it's the same model. The blinking lights are different and there's also something with the exhaust (katalysator I think, I don't know the exact word in English).

Last but not least, in many countries you will have to pay some form of tax to get the car on the road for the first time. This depends on the age of the car and its initial cost. This is not the same as the yearly road tax, which can also be expensive.

For a car with that value, it might too much of headache. In some countries (such as Belgium) there is an interesting market of former lease cars, usually only 3 years old because that is the standard period after which they are replaced and sold by the leasing company.

From what I could tell most countries allow you to drive a foreign car for a certain period of time before requiring any kind of registration at all. Since we would be looking to avoid becoming tax residents anyway (> 6 months/year in most places) that should not be a problem with our plans to move around among EU countries. The plan was to just drive the car with its existing US registration and if we ever needed to register it to sell it, do so in a country with favorable policies/taxation concerning that.

The technical issues you and others raise are a great point that I hadn't really thought about. US cars are LHD which conforms to the continent and my car is a manual which also conforms with most European cars, but I hadn't thought about octane ratings, emissions, and safety standards. And if I never reregister, having it registered in the US would probably seriously hurt its resale value.

FWIW, it's a 2010 Mazda3. It's been a great car, but maybe not worth the hassle.

RWD

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Re: Shipping a car to Europe
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2017, 08:28:06 AM »
It's not worth the hassle unless you have something really special. I'd also be surprised if it only cost you $1500 to ship the car. It cost me over $1000 to ship a car across the United States about a decade ago.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 08:17:08 AM by RWD »

Dave1442397

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Re: Shipping a car to Europe
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2017, 08:45:15 AM »
FWIW, it's a 2010 Mazda3. It's been a great car, but maybe not worth the hassle.

Not worth it, especially if you planned on selling it over there.

Most people won't want to deal with the foreign version of a car they can just buy at a local dealership. Even here in the US you can get a lot of used cars cheaper in Canada right now, but it's still a hassle bringing them across the border, and some manufacturers won't honor the Canadian warranty in the US.

Syonyk

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Re: Shipping a car to Europe
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2017, 08:53:42 AM »
Mazda3?  Not worth the trouble.  Great cars, I love mine, but they're not exactly rare.

aspiringnomad

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Re: Shipping a car to Europe
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2017, 09:27:54 AM »
Appreciate all the advice. What sent me down this road was looking into the used car market in certain countries, namely Portugal. Apparently taxes and registration are unbelievably high there, so 5 plus year old cars (not fancy ones) in decent shape cost upwards of 15k. Then there's all the registration hassles. Was trying to avoid all that and figured since I like the car I have, maybe I can just ship it over.