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Importing U.S. Cars To Europe

Apr 19, 2008
Not to discredit the excellent automobiles manufactured in Europe, there has been a sharp increase in the number of American cars being imported into the continent. Whether for the prestige of owning a rare American sports car or the savings that the depreciated Dollar has created in exchange rates, more and more Europeans are embracing the American automobile as their transportation of choice.

Purchasing an American import from a licensed dealer is different from a private purchase and shipment of an American car to Europe. Whereas the import company has already dealt with shipping costs, value added tax and new country registration, the private citizen may find all possible savings gone by the time all this extra expense is added into the initial purchase price.

Chrysler Group CEO Dieter Zetsche feels that the European market for American cars is at a point where it can now compete with traditional continental motor brands and find great opportunities for advancement. Their new release of the Dodge Caliber is expected to undersell traditional models from between five to 15%. Cadillac has always had difficulty in competing with the European model luxury cars. Now the release of the diesel engine BSL model Cadillac has shown itself to be an exceptionally affordable choice for discriminating drivers.

The new demand for American cars in Europe has lead several continental manufacturers to partner with American motor companies to build some of the European sold American models in their own factories. This makes for even greater savings for the consumer as they do not have import taxes added to the total price of the vehicle.

Even the Asian automobile manufacturers are finally becoming in-demand in Europe. Toyota Motor Manufacturing has long held a premier spot at the top of the American market. This reputation for quality and afford ability has migrated to Europe to the point they are now shipping over a half a million vehicles to the continent annually. With the proven fuel efficiency of the Toyota brand vehicles and their excellent in-city performance, Toyota anticipates eventually dominating the urban market.

While the new car market is growing at a rapid pace, there is still a large market share for imported used American cars. American motor sports and Hollywood movies have introduced Europeans to the wide and often unique aspects of the sport car culture. The prestige factor in driving a Ford Mustang, a Chevrolet Z-28 or wandering the French wine country in a Jeep Cherokee or Hummer is irresistible to some discerning Europeans.

One problem that has arisen from this increased interest in non-European vehicles is that occasionally private importers will start bringing in vehicles that the manufacturer had not intended for the European market. Recently Nisson Motors has attempted to push lawsuits over the importation of their GT-R series vehicle. They were not planning on offering the GT-R in Europe until 2009 and are seeking to stop import companies from bringing in the models that were intended only for the Japanese market. They warn that none of their European staff have any experience working on the GT-R nor would they honor any warranties of these vehicles on the continent.

This demonstrates one of the most overlooked areas of importing cars from other countries. You must be sure you have an adequate supply line for repair parts and support of the manufacturer to get the best and least expensive service out of your vehicle.
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