- Import Vehicle Into Usa From Germany
- Cost & Time Examples For Importing Cars From Germany
- Why A-1 Auto Transport For Car Shipping
- Our Car Shipping Process
- Cost Estimation
- Documentation For Imported Car
- Car Shipping
Import Vehicle into USA from Germany
Germany is one of the busiest and most prominent car manufacturing countries in the world, especially for luxurious vehicles. Vehicle enthusiasts know Germany is responsible for BMW, Mercedes Benz, and the Maybach brand. These are no ordinary cars. Some Benzes may go for up to $450,000 while the some custom Maybach sells for up to $1,500,000. Americans with cash to spend love investing in German automobiles because they are on a class of their own.
The vehicle importation traffic from the United States to Germany is almost unbelievable considering it is a EU country and there are several prominent car manufacturers based in the US. Multiple vehicles are being shipped to all 50 states of the US every month. Due to the high dollar standard of most vehicles from Germany, shipping gets a tad more sensitive. As such, clients need auto shipping companies with the resources and the muscle to oversee safe shipping of these vehicles. That is why A-1 Auto Transport Inc. offers you incomparable services when it comes to import vehicle into USA from Germany.
Read on to learn more about this.
Cost & Time Examples For Importing Cars from Germany
|Berlin to (California port) to San Jose, CA||$3000||$200||27+5 days|
|Hamburg to (New York port) to Boston, MA||$1500||$400||41+5 days|
|Hamburg to (California port) to Las Vegas, NV||$2400||$450||29+5 days|
|Berlin to (California port) to Portland, OR||$3000||$475||27+6 days|
|Hamburg to (California port) to Seattle, WA||$2400||$550||29+6 days|
|Hamburg to (New York port) to Columbus, OH||$1500||$550||41+5 days|
|Berlin to (New York port) to Detroit, MI||$2200||$575||41+6 days|
|Hamburg to (New York port) to Chicago, IL||$1500||$675||41+6 days|
|Berlin to (California port) to Denver, CO||$3000||$775||27+7 days|
|Berlin to (New York port) to Houston, TX||$2200||$1,075||41+7 days|
- *Prices and times are estimated. They can vary depending on the season and the type of vehicle.
- *Save the ground transport cost by delivering the vehicle to the nearest port.
- *Allow an additional 10 days to process the documents.
- *Prices are for 1 car in a dedicated 20ft container. This is the safest and most reliable way to transport a vehicle internationally. Other items may be included in the container to help save you money when moving.
- *Using the RoRo (roll on, roll off) method is less expensive and shipments can be completed in fewer days. Contact us now for a free RoRo quote.
Why A-1 Auto Transport for Car Shipping
We have been in the automotive transport business for the last decade. We know the particulars and workings of the vehicle imports industry in and out. Our experience comes second to none as we have offered car shipping services in the US to all 50 states, including coast to coast car shipping, interstate car shipping, and even overseas car shipping.
We have affiliations with the busiest ports in America and the biggest cargo airlines in America. Wherever you are, be rest assured, we shall deliver your car to your door step in perfect condition. Moreover, we offer real time car shipping GPS tracking so our clients can watch their shipment when they import vehicle into USA from Germany.
Our Car Shipping Process
We have to plan every step involved in getting the vehicle(s) on American soil from Germany. We walk through the entire process of having cars imported with our clients, starting by identifying the vehicle make, model, year of manufacture (also known as the vehicle profile) and from which warehouse it’s coming from. The vehicle’s particulars will determine a great deal how much the shipping process is going to cost.
The means of transport is selected prior to the start of the shipping process. While air freight is recommended for luxurious vehicles such as a classic car, ocean freight (in enclosed containers) is also an okay option. We offer both options to our clients, ensuring that the vehicle will be in perfect condition. While most car manufacturers will offer delivery services to a port of the client’s choice, some require clients to make personal arrangements. That’s why the location of the warehouse in Germany is important in order to plan to transport the vehicle to the most convenient German Port or Airport.
The planning also involves deciding which US port the vehicle is being shipped to and the mode of delivery to the client. We offer both door -to- door & terminal -to-terminal services.
After the planning, we use our comprehensive car import costs calculator to give an estimated quote on how much it will cost to import vehicle into USA from Germany. The final figure is determined by the total distance covered during transportation, the vehicle profile, risk insurance, and of course, the taxes customs and having to pay duties that come with car shipping. Generally, air freight is more expensive in comparison to ocean freight. Have a look at these in more detail here. Remember, this figure is just an estimate, so allow room for variations.
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or call us to do it for you:
Documentation for imported car
The vehicle(s) have to be cleared by German customs office authorities before they can leave the port. This is done by taking care of all relevant documentation including customs, duties, import taxes and any other fees as deemed fit by the German authorities.
We also ensure the car carries the International Registration Marker. If you are a foreign national working in the US, be prepared to use your foreign license tags along with an international driving permit. For US residents, temporary license plates are issued by the DMW until their own national license plates are ready. Motorists who are from a country that is not a party to a traffic conventions are required to secure permits in the U.S, preferably before they import a car.
Documentation requirements also dictate that all vehicles bear the manufacturer's label on the engine compartment in English to reflect correspondence with US emission requirements.Where these requirements are not met, the vehicle will have to be imported by an independent commercial importer unless otherwise exempted or excluded. Note that the vehicle will not be released until work is complete and the fees are relatively high.
Also included in the documentation is a detailed pre-shipping car hauler inspection report which records the vehicle’s profile and condition it is in at the moment our personnel receive it.
Once the car is cleared, it starts making its way to you. A travel schedule is provided to the client so that they can be brought up to speed on the ETA. Air transport normally takes several hours to a day while transport by ocean takes longer – a week or more.
Upon arrival on US soil, the relevant documentation (customs import duty, safety inspection, emissions checks, bill of lading, etc.) is taken care of and our team delivers the vehicle to you. Door-to-door delivery will see your vehicle delivered at the address you provide, while terminal-to-terminal delivery involves dropping off your vehicle at a designated pick up point.
Need to import a car into the US from Germany? Talk to us today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is A-1 Auto Transport Experienced with Importing German Cars?
Yes, A-1 Auto Transport and our partners have years of experience with importing German vehicles. Due to their quality, they are some of the most popular vehicles to import for car buyers and car dealers.
When you put your trust in us, we will provide a seamless and efficient import experience so that you can enjoy your new ride.
What Safety Equipment Must My German Car Include?
Before your German car can be brought into the United States, it will be thoroughly inspected by Customs personnel. They will be checking to ensure that it is equipped with required safety equipment to make the vehicle eligible for import, such as:
- Anti-lock brakes
- Windshield wipers and washing system
- Electric brake systems
- Lamps and reflectors
- Anti-theft devices
- Seat belts
- Door locks
- Side impact protection
- Flame resistant interior
- Fuel components
If your German car does not have any of these features as required by law, then it will have to be modified. However, there are a few exceptions, which are outlined below.
Are Any German Motor Vehicles Banned in the U.S.?
While German vehicles are known for their innovation and performance, there are a few models that are banned in the United States. These vehicles are not allowed in the U.S. because they do not comply with safety requirements set forth by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration and cannot be modified.
A few banned German cars include:
- 2004 Volkswagen Beetle Ultima
- 1987 BMW M6
- 1995 Audi RS2 Avant
While NHTSA does allow you to modify most nonconforming vehicles so that they are compliant, the cars above cannot be altered enough to satisfy U.S. safety regulations.
As always, check with the U.S Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control for import prohibitions.
My German Car Does Not Meet Safety Requirements. What Should I Do Now?
If your German car does not meet NHTSA’s safety requirements, you will have a few options. The first will be to modify it so that it complies with U.S. safety standards. Our partner carriers will work with you to facilitate this process, but it will add to the overall cost of your import services.
If your car cannot be modified or it will be too expensive to do so, you can have your car shipped back to Germany. The last option is to forfeit your car to Customs, allowing them to destroy it.
Note that vehicles belonging to members of foreign armed forces, foreign diplomatic personnel or any individual cleared for free entry by the Department of State are exempt from this requirement. The same is true for those imported by nonresidents for personal use not exceeding a year and those temporarily imported for testing, demonstration or competition.
Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My German Imported Car?
Yes, the United States charges taxes on all vehicles being imported into the country. The fees will vary depending on which type of vehicle that you are importing.
In addition, your car may be subject to a “gas guzzler” tax, which will add to the cost of importing your vehicle. There are a few exemptions that may allow you to avoid paying import tariffs.
How Much Are Taxes on German Import Cars?
The tariff rate for a standard car, SUV, or minivan is 2.5%. This fee is calculated based on the purchase price. Let’s say that you purchased your car for $20,000. The tariff would be only $500.
The tariff for motorcycles is similar to the tax rate for cars, coming in at only 2.4%. The tax rate for pick-up trucks is much higher. If you import a truck, you will be charged a 25% tariff.
What is a Gas Guzzler Tax?
The Gas Guzzler tax is a fee that the government charges consumers when they buy a vehicle that is not fuel efficient. Dealers are also charged this tax when they are ordering and importing cars. The tax was implemented in 1978 as part of the Energy Tax Act.
However, the Gas Guzzler tax only applies to passenger cars. At the time it was implemented, SUVs, minivans, and crossovers were not as popular as they are today.
How Much is the Gas Guzzler Tax?
The Gas Guzzler tax rates fluctuate, depending on how low the fuel mileage is on your car. The law requires passenger cars to get a combined MPG of at least 22.5. The tax is laid out in a tier system. The lower your combined MPG, the higher the tax will be.
If your German car gets between 21.5 and 22.5 MPG combined, then your tax will be $1,000. However, if it is under 12.5 combined MPG, then your fee will be a staggering $7,000 to $7,700.
How Much Does It Cost to Import a Car from Germany?
Importing cars from Germany involves a lot of complex processes. As a result, calculating the costs of your shipping services has to account for several different factors, including:
Unsurprisingly, the summer months are the time when the demand for shipping services is the highest. The great weather reduces the risks of encountering a major delay with your shipment. In addition, most colleges let out for summer break, which increases the strain on shipping resources even further.
On the other hand, there is less demand for both domestic and international shipping during the winter months. If you are able to wait until winter to import a car, you can increase your savings.
A-1 Auto Transport and our partner carriers charge by the mile when we’re calculating shipping rates. We will list the estimate for the ocean and ground services separately, as the per-mile rates are different for each leg of the import process.
For instance, the ocean freight cost for importing a car from Berlin to a California port may be $3,000. The ground segment of the trip would be a separate cost of approximately $200.
Those numbers are loose estimates. The actual shipping cost will vary based on the other factors included in this segment.
When you import a car from Germany, you will have two primary ocean freight shipping options to choose from. The first is known as RoRo shipping. When using this method, your car is driven onto the ship at the export location and removed from the boat in the same manner when it arrives at the designated U.S. port. RoRo is incredibly affordable, but it exposes your vehicle to the elements.
The alternative option is known as container shipping. When you select this method, your car will be stored in a dedicated 20 ft steel container. If you choose this option, your shipping rates will be higher, but your car will be protected from the elements, perfect for rare and classic cars.
When importing a car from Germany or any other nation, the U.S. charges an import fee known as a tariff. Currently, the tariff rate for passenger cars, SUVs, minivans, and crossovers is 2.5%. The rate for trucks is 25% and the rate for motorcycles is 2.4%.
If you purchase a German car for $30,000, then you would also have to pay a 2.5% tariff totaling $750. You may also have to pay a Gas Guzzler tax if your car does not get at least 22.5 combined MPG.
The fuel economy of your new car will also impact the total import cost. If you purchase a passenger car that averages less than 22.5 MPG combined, then it is subject to a Gas Guzzler tax. This fee does not apply to trucks, SUVs, minivans, or motorcycles.
The Gas Guzzler tax increases as fuel mileage decreases. For example, a vehicle that averages between 20.5 and 21.5 MPG combined will be subject to a tax of $1,300. If your vehicle gets less than 12.5 MPG combined, then you will have to pay between $7,000 to $7,700.
Age of Imported Car
If your German car is 25 years old or older, then you can import it without modifying it to meet U.S. vehicle regulations. This can save you big bucks during the import process because modifying a vehicle can be incredibly expensive. If you have your eye on a classic car, find out exactly when it was manufactured. It just might qualify for the 25-year car import rule.
However, keep in mind that each state is free to create its own vehicle and traffic safety requirements. For instance, California has very strict regulations that apply to any vehicle manufactured after 1975. Unfortunately, these laws apply to domestic cars and imports. Make sure to check your state’s laws on imports before attempting to import a car to the U.S.
If your car does not qualify for an exemption under the 25-year rule, then it must be compliant with U.S. safety and emissions requirements. If it is not, then Customs will not allow your vehicle to enter the country. This will leave you with two very potentially costly options.
The first choice is to ship your car back to Germany on your own dime. The second is to coordinate vehicle modifications with our DOT registered importer partner carrier. They are also responsible for posting a DOT bond (1.5x the vehicle's dutiable value) along with the normal CBP entry bond.
After these modifications are made, your vehicle will be permitted to enter the United States. If possible, ensure that your car is compliant before scheduling import services.
NB: As it relates to a personal use, previously exported vehicle, once you can prove to the CBP that it was previously owned and registered in the US, it may be returned duty free. Proof may include state-issued registration card or a bill of sale from a US car dealership.
What is the Cheapest Method to Import Car from Germany?
If your goal is to maximize savings with our car shipment services, then we recommend scheduling RoRo ocean freight shipping during non-peak season.
Many of our carriers offer discounts during non-peak winter months because there is a lower demand for shipping services. Scheduling transportation services during the winter and opting for RoRo shipping is the cheapest way to import car from Germany.
What is RoRo Shipping?
RoRo stands for “roll-on/roll-off.” It is the cheapest ocean freight shipping method available. The carrier will drive your car onto the ship and secure it to the deck. When the ship arrives at the final destination, the carrier will drive it off of the deck and turn it over to you.
The primary drawback of RoRo shipping is that your car is not protected from the elements. It will be subjected to inclement weather and ocean water during the journey. That is why A-1 Auto Transport recommends container shipping if you are importing a rare or classic car.
What is Container Shipping?
When you select container shipping, your car will be stored in a dedicated 20 ft steel cargo container. It will be strapped down within the container so that it does not shift or roll during vehicle shipping.
If you want to save money, you can opt for shared container shipping and have your vehicle shipped with other cars. This means that other items will be stored in the container with your car, but nothing will be stacked on or placed inside of the vehicles.
Are There Discounts Available When Importing a Car from Germany?
Yes, A-1 Auto Transport offers tons of cost-saving opportunities to our customers. However, not all of these discounts are available year-round. The best way to learn about the latest discounts is to contact our sales team.
We offer discounts for:
- Off-season imports
The savings options listed above are just a few of the ways that we help our clients get a great deal.
How Do I Prepare My Vehicle for Export from Germany?
Remember, your vehicle is about to travel thousands of miles on a massive ocean vessel. Not only is it going to be handled by the shipping company, it is also going to be handled by ground carriers, loading crew members, and other logistics staff.
If you want to make sure that your car makes it to your new home without any delay, it is vital that you have it ready to go when the carrier arrives. In order to prepare your car for international shipping, we recommend that you:
Clean the Vehicle
Even if you just purchased the motor vehicle, thoroughly clean both the interior and exterior. This will make it easier to detect any damage when your vehicle arrives.
While damage during the import process is rare, it is still important that you thoroughly inspect the vehicle when it arrives.
Gather the Necessary Vehicle Documents
Before turning your motor vehicle over to the carrier, it is important that you collect several essential documents. Without this paperwork, the carrier will be unable to take possession of your car.
At a minimum, you will need:
- Bill of sale displaying the VIN
- Proof of ownership
- Bill of lading (Provided by the carrier)
The bill of lading contains valuable information about your car. This includes the year, make, model, and VIN. It should also outline where your car is being transported to.
Photograph the Vehicle
Before providing your car to the carrier, we recommend photographing both the interior and exterior. You should also photograph the odometer. This gives you plenty of supporting proof in the event that you need to file an insurance claim.
If your car suffers any damage during the import process, make sure to notify our team immediately and provide a copy of these photographs.
What is the 25-Year Rule?
The 25-Year Rule is an exemption for imported vehicles that are over 25 years old. If your German imported vehicle was manufactured at least 25 years ago, then it does not have to adhere to U.S. vehicle safety requirements. This means that you do not have to pay for costly modifications.
What is the Show and Display Rule?
The Show and Display Rule is another potential exemption to NHTSA safety requirements. If an imported car is deemed to be rare and technologically significant, then it does not have to comply with U.S. safety requirements.
In order to qualify, the imported car from Germany cannot be:
- Currently in production
- Available domestically
- A replica
Vehicles that meet these requirements are often exotic and incredibly expensive.
What Are 3 Benefits To Import Car From Germany?
Importing a car from Germany with the help of A-1 Auto Transport has many benefits. The three most common reasons that people choose to import German cars is that it allows them to:
Even after paying the customs duty, purchasing a car directly from German auto manufacturers can be cheaper than buying it domestically from a private seller. Many of our clients have used our services to save cash while also getting a high-quality foreign vehicle or even a cool classic car.
Obtain a Rare Vehicle
While many German automakers are active in the U.S. marketplace, they may not offer their complete line of cars for domestic purchase. If you want to get your hands on a rare or unique classic car, importing it is sometimes the only option.
Students that are studying abroad and professionals that accept international assignments will sometimes purchase a vehicle while they are overseas. When they conclude their studies or wrap up their latest project, they often want to bring their car from Germany back to the U.S. with them. That is where we come in!
A-1 Auto Transport makes it easy for them to protect their investment and import their car to the states.
Do German Cars Have to Be Compliant with U.S. Safety Laws?
Yes, ensure the vehicle conforms to U.S. safety standards and laws. It must also be compliant with state traffic and vehicle safety requirements. There are a few exceptions, such as vehicles that are over 25 years old and those that qualify for import under the “Show and Display” rule.
Do I Need to Be Present During Loading?
Yes, you or a representative need to be present during the loading process. If you cannot be present, make sure to let our sales team know well in advance. We will facilitate the import process and coordinate with the dealer or your representative.
Do I Need to Be Present When My Car is Delivered?
Generally, yes, you need to be present when your car is delivered to the United States. However, it may take a few days to get customs clearance, especially for car shipments during peak import season.
A-1 Auto Transport or our partner carrier will notify you when your car is ready for pick-up.
If you are not able to retrieve your vehicle at the time of delivery, we can facilitate both short and long-term storage. We will need to arrange warehouse space with our network of partner carriers in advance, so please give us ample notice.
What If My Car Cannot Be Modified?
If your car cannot be modified, then you will have two options. The first is to ship it back to Germany. You will have to pay for the return shipping out of your own pocket, which can be extremely expensive.
The second option is to surrender your car to Customs. They will destroy the nonconforming car since it is not eligible for import into the United States. Generally, this is the preferred choice if the vehicle is not very valuable.
Do I Have to Make Modifications Myself?
If possible, we recommend arranging for modifications to your vehicle before scheduling vehicle shipping services. This will save you money and minimize delays during the import process.
However, A-1 Auto Transport and our partner carriers have a wealth of experience with imports and international road traffic. If you prefer, we can connect you with a provider that will make the necessary modifications to your vehicle.