Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


What to Consider When Importing a Car? - Vol.404

If you're interested in importing a car from another country, there are quite a few things to keep in mind. You're probably going to have to do some research to completely understand what it takes to do this. To make this process easier for you, we're going to mention some of the most important factors you need to take into account in order to successfully import your new car.

Year of Make
Some countries allow for cars aged up to 30 years to be imported, while others have stricter regulations. On the other hand, some countries have no restrictions on the age of the vehicle.

It's important to make sure you find this information about your country, since in some cases you would have to make a lot of alterations to your car in order for it to pass import criteria. This can increase the total import cost significantly, so it's always a good idea to import more recent cars.

Transportation Costs
When importing a car, it's important to take into account the shipping terms. If you're importing cars from Asia, you should read up on different shipping agreements like CIF and FOB. Basically, they are used to determine how the shipping costs are distributed between the buyer and the seller. Since choosing the right one can make a lot of difference, it's best to consult an agent before you make a decision.

This is probably the most important aspect of the importing process. It's also the one that can be the trickiest to understand. Different countries impose different kinds of rules and regulations, so it's important to understand all the requirements.

As an example, here are some of the most important regulations that a vehicle has to meet for import into the USA:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations
- Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations
- Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS)
- The Clean Air Act

Each country has a different set of regulations, which you can find on the official websites. Always make sure your car conforms to these standards to avoid potential importing issues.

Customs Clearance
After your vehicle has been shipped, it needs to go through customs clearance. This requires a lot of paperwork, so in order to avoid unnecessary complications, make sure to plan ahead and gather all the important documentation. To give you an idea of what this means, here's a list of the most important documents needed for European customs clearance:
- Original Title Certificate
- Bill of Sale
- Seller's Export Declaration
- Passport
- Declaration of Dangerous Goods
- Direct Representation Form (if an importer is working on your behalf)

Import Taxes and Duties
In order for your car to get cleared, you need to pay import taxes and duties. Since this is usually a complicated process, because of all kinds of calculations and forms, it's a good idea to seek help from an importer.

If you want to import a car into the USA, the following duty rates apply:
- 2.5% for cars
- 25% for trucks
- 2.4% for motorcycles, but they can be free of charge, depending on the cylinder size.

Import duties of the European Union:
- 22% for trucks
- 10% for cars
- 6-8% for motorcycles, depending on the engine capacity.

So as you can see, importing a car is a complicated process that requires a lot of planning. For this reason, make sure to take your time and do your research. Every country has a different set of laws that you need to be familiar with in order to do import your car properly. If you need help, there are a lot of car importing agencies that can help you with this, so make sure to look at all available options.