It makes sense to import a car from an EU country. You can save money by eliminating customs duties and lower net prices.

The situation is different with vehicle imports from the USA or other overseas countries. They are very expensive and are only worthwhile if it is a special vehicle with rarity value. Classic cars from overseas are very expensive in some countries and even gain in value over time.

Advantage on imports

In other EU countries, the taxation of a new car is significantly higher (19 percent). Many sellers, therefore, offer a net price that is up to 30 percent cheaper in order to keep the vehicle price attractive.

The advantage: If you import the car to Germany, you do not have to tax the car in the respective country.

Disadvantages: bureaucracy & equipment

In addition to the advantages, car import also has some disadvantages:

•           With cheap EU vehicles from abroad, the equipment is often reduced to a minimum.

•           Purchase contract, liability, and guarantee are in the legal system of the respective country and not in Germany. If problems arise, clarification is much more difficult.

•           The bureaucratic effort is very high. Think carefully about whether it’s worth the time.

Important: Before you buy, calculate the transfer costs to make sure that you don’t end up paying more. In the next section, you will find out what costs you can generally expect.

How much does car import cost?

If you import or ship car overseas, the costs depend heavily on the respective country, the shipping company, and of course the vehicle price.

If you import a vehicle with valid registration from an EU country, you can pick up the car yourself. In this case, the costs are very low.

In the case of a transfer (transport from the seller to your place of residence) from overseas, the vehicle must be brought to your home in addition to the port in the respective country and from the European port.

In a sale outside the EU in addition to falling import VAT also customs duties on. They are calculated from the purchase price plus the freight costs.

You should consider this before importing the car

To ensure that your car import runs smoothly and that you do not experience any nasty surprises, you should note the following points:

•           Inquire whether the car is approved for road traffic. Especially with foreign vehicles, certain parts have to be converted or retrofitted (for example headlights).

•           Note that the car complies with emissions regulations.

•           Do not buy a car without original papers, otherwise, the vehicle cannot be registered in your country.

•           Look at the car personally before buying. In our guide to buying a car: checklist & important tips, we explain what you need to pay attention to.

•           When shipping: Find a shipping company with an agency at the foreign port. This ensures that everything runs smoothly.

•           Complete transport insurance with “all-risk” coverage under from. This means that all risks from vehicle delivery to the shipping company to deliver.