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Old 24.01.2011, 10:13
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Export a used car to UK

Hi there,

I am running out of time to sell my Swiss registered car, and I'm thinking I might as well drive it to UK. Is the export process from Switzerland, and the import process in UK easy and straightforward? Do you know how much it costs both sides?

Thanks,
keymoo
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  #2  
Old 24.01.2011, 15:59
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Re: Export a used car to UK

You could try and sell it in Britain as a Swiss car.

Otherwise it isn't worth all the hassle and costs.
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Old 24.01.2011, 16:19
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Re: Export a used car to UK

Thanks. That's what I'm trying to establish. How much hassle is it, and how much does it cost?
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Old 24.01.2011, 16:26
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Re: Export a used car to UK

cost - new headlights

hassle - if you have not owned it for xx months (12 I think) then you'll need to pay the import duty, It'll be worth bugger all in the uk, a hell of a lot less then its worth here, you'll need to sit in a scummy dvla office somewhere to sort the paperwork, then go for an extended mot test (should be a doddle compared to here)

what car is it? how much you want for it?

from a money point of view it makes no sense at all importing it to the uk, even if you have to sell if for way less then its worth here you'd still be much better off. check www.autotrader.co.uk for the price of your car over there, 2nd hand cars in the uk are worth bugger all
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Old 24.01.2011, 16:48
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Re: Export a used car to UK

I have a 1997 Renault Espace with 160K kms on it. Fair condition, runs well, probably needs a new exhaust, has a new battery. Paid 4500 CHF for it 18 months ago. Would be happy with 2000 CHF, but I need to have it sold by mid-Feb. What would you do?
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Old 24.01.2011, 16:53
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Re: Export a used car to UK

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I have a 1997 Renault Espace with 160K kms on it. Fair condition, runs well, probably needs a new exhaust, has a new battery. Paid 4500 CHF for it 18 months ago. Would be happy with 2000 CHF, but I need to have it sold by mid-Feb. What would you do?

autotrader recons a uk spec one is worth 500, so a left hooker there is going to be worth even less, on top of that insurance is going to be an issue.

when was the last mfk done?

basically its not worth anything in the uk, if you take it there be prepared to scrap it as soon as you get there

personally I'd sell it for whatever I could get for it here.

pm me if you get really desperate, I may need a large load space for a couple of months and that would be cheaper then hiring a trailer.
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Old 24.01.2011, 17:04
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Re: Export a used car to UK

Thanks, well my intention was to take it to the UK and run it into the ground and get a new car in 12 months time. I just need to quantify what the hassle is and how much it costs to just do the export/import bit. Last MFK was in Dec 2009.
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Old 24.01.2011, 17:16
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Re: Export a used car to UK

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Thanks, well my intention was to take it to the UK and run it into the ground and get a new car in 12 months time. I just need to quantify what the hassle is and how much it costs to just do the export/import bit. Last MFK was in Dec 2009.
it should cost just the price of rhd headlights and hopefully the exhaust will pass the mot, oh and the costs of the number plates around 80 iirc ,road tax and mot, check you can find someone to insure it first as most of the big boys won't want to touch a left hooker. but as you can buy a rhd one easily for 500 is it really worth the hassle?
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Old 24.01.2011, 17:32
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Re: Export a used car to UK

Just been on confused.com and the best insurance quote I got is 390 which isn't too bad and may be worth me bringing it back, getting an MOT and the headlights changed. I will just run it for another 12-18 months, and then scrap it or sell it for 500 quid or whatever I can get. Probably worth it as I don't have any spare money to buy a new car now, but will have in 12 months.
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Old 24.01.2011, 17:56
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Re: Export a used car to UK

but if you sell it here for 1000chf (for example) thats 670 (ish) which will buy you the same car (but a year or 2 newer) in the uk, and you wont have to buy headlights, plates, extended mot etc etc
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Old 24.01.2011, 20:58
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Re: Export a used car to UK

Reads OP; has sharp intake through clenched teeth; thinks "Nah, I really don't think you want to do that..."

The Jeems did similar last summer, with a 16yr-old RHD car that was originally registered from new in the UK, and that, moreover, we had all the supporting UK docs for from the year dot, and even the original UK headlight units too!

Here's the four-act farce of a saga that ensued.


Act One - "It Can't Be Too Difficult"
Fight through the UK HMCR website trying to figure out which forms are appropriate. Fail entirely to figure out which ones are, so print off both (all three?) sets of forms and fill 'em in, and let the customs folk decide for themselves.
Load up and head to Blighty; this is the easy bit, so make sure that you enjoy it. I'd recommend the French ferry bunch for crossing the damp bit, their boats have a very good bistro/restaurant where one can enjoy a nice meal at a good price, and moreover not have to sit with the riff-raff.

Present self to the Exciseman, who looks at all your sets of preprepared papers, calls another posse over and together they cogitate for quarter of an hour. Try to dismiss all thoughts from your head of the type "But surely this is your job? Shouldn't you know all this?".

They will finally conclude that it's easiest for all concerned if it's classed as a "Temporary Import From Outside the EC", and that they don't need to get involved. They can now return to their cups of tea and the big football game on the telly, you can return to your car and set off on your way, carefully holding onto all the sets of documents that you previously printed and completed, especiallly the ones that they have just told you that you don't need.

Run the car temporarily in the UK on Swiss plates and Swiss insurance.Although temporary import can be used for a period of up to twelve months, you DO NOT want to wait until the nice invitation comes from the Strassenverkehrsamt to bring it to its MFK - failure to attend said MFK costing you fines, having big non-insurance implications, and all the usual Swiss bureaucratic hassle .

Enjoy this period of respite - it will not last.
Act Two - The DVLA Document Dance
Fight through the DVLA website trying to figure out which forms are appropriate. Order an "Importation Pack" from them. Receive said pack, be none the wiser, finally give up, and turn up in person at the "local" DVLA office with every scrap of car documentation in your possession, and let them tell you what is required. Write all this down, read it back to and confirm it with the nice person who's just told you this, time-and-date it and also politely ask for and write down the name of the nice person "just in case".

Because it was formerly a UK car, all that is required is just a "normal" MOT. Because of the MFK, the car breezes through this without a single hitch, cross or query. Again, savour this moment - it will not last.

CAUTION: You are now entering Kafka Kountry

For those who are unaware of it, the DVLA has "joined-up" the MOT system, the Vehicle Registration System and the Road Tax systems. One now needs a valid UK insurance certificate to initiate the registration process. So far, so good.

Part of the registration process is the allocation and issue to you of the UK registration number of the car. Makes sense, still looking good.

So, now onto t'interweb, all ready to reap the benefits of Comparing The Meerkat, Going Comparing and so on...
And it's about bl@@dy time, too, after putting up with all the cr@p adverts for them on the box!

One soon becomes all too familiar with the error message "Invalid Registration"... That's funny - I can't seem to find any car insurer that will let me insure my car on foreign plates, even though the insurance is part of the registration process to change the foreign plates to UK plates and "I'll tell you as soon as I know what the UK number is, honest!"...

Continue to play this internet game of Kafka's Katch22 until sanity is seriously diminished. As an interesting variant, phone up some brokers and insurers to hear that "Computer says no...".

Finally, with a low growl and a slamming-down of the keyboard, set off on a second trip to the DVLA office, trying to remain polite once there. Practice this politeness beforehand, because this will not be an easy thing to do once in situ at said DVLA office.

Pull out the time'n'dated list and say "Excuse me, but I I seem to be having a problem here - Ms XXX told me on the Wth of XXX at YYZZhrs that these were all the things I needeed to register the car, and one of these is a valid UK insurance certificate, but I can't seem to get any UK car insurance without a UK registration..."

Be ready to resist the urge towards physical violence when the reply comes: "Yeah, that's a problem, isn't it... A lot of people say that..." Ask in a very clipped, controlled voice "Well, how can I possibly register the damned thing, then?!?!" Feel the restraint slipping at the reply that comes "Well, you need to find an insurer who will insure on the chassis number instead of the registration number." Ask the next two questions as clearly as your by-now locked jaw-muscles will permit: "Why the f**k didn't anyone say this when I was in here before?!?!?" and "Well, which insurers do insure in chassis number?"

N.B. For the welfare of all concerned, It is important to leave the DVLA office immediately after the second shrug-of-shouldered "Dunno..."

After a couple of days, discover that Swinton have an insurer that may insure on VIN, but that it may take a little while to get through to "the specialist department", and they'll call you back as soon as. When the phone rings, be sure you're sitting down to answer it, have an old towel and some ibuprofen or whisky handy - because what you're about to hear will make your legs buckle, your nose is going to bleed, and you will also have to deal with the pain of having no choice but to accept the 4-digit-GBP annual premium that you're being quoted.
(For a 16-year-old estate car with 120k miles on the clock, RHD, originally-new-in-the-UK and UK-specification.)

Pay for the insurance. Drink the whisky. Wait for the cover note. The whisky dulls the pain, the cover note duly arrives.
Act Three - Closing In On The Kill
Check the list and all the documents on it. Check them again. And again. And again. And all the other documents that are not on the list.

Finally, set off to the local DVLA office. Again. Taking everything relating to the car with you. Take the Haynes Manual and the code for the stereo, just in case.

At the DVLA office, feel an unexpected sense of familiarity with the place and the staff, followed by a feeling of progress that one has finally made it not just past the "reception" queue, but that one has even made it through the "document checking" queue, and one is actually now in the "processing" queue. DO NOT RELAX.

When finally called to the counter, present each document it turn, as requested. When asked for The Customs Document, present the one universally agreed at Dover that this was the one needed. Remain Zen-like as the counter-clerk tells you that "No, this isn't the one I need. I need another one." Allow a brief flicker of an enigmatic smile to play across your face as you reach into the Big Pile Of Documents and pull out the one he's asked for. That's it - the one that you were told wasn't the one by the fine people of HMCR at Dover, but that you so, so sensibly kept hold anyway. STILL DO NOT RELAX.

Then, when asked for the Swiss registration document, hand this across. When the clerk staples it to the folder, explain politely that you require that to be returned to you, for it must be returned by you to the Swiss authorities, otherwise you will incur fines and hassle and stuff. The clerk will explain that, no, they must have it, but that, yes, they will subsequently send it to Switzerland on your behalf. Do not call the nice person a liar at this point.
Instead, allow another brief enigmatic smile to flicker across your face, and say "Oh, ok." Do not say out loud what you're actually thinking, namely "I'm glad I somehow had the foresight to 'lose' that before I left Switzerland, and asked the STVA for a duplicate." However, STILL DO NOT RELAX.

The clerk will eventually ask whether you want a 6-month or 12-month tax disk. State your preference and pay in cash, there and then. Once you have the receipt in your hand, and the clerk has closed the file, YOU MAY NOW HEAVE A small SIGH OF RELIEF.

The registration document arrives in due course, following only five or six followup calls from you,
It is accompanied by another document, not seen before - a certificate authorising the making of the appropriate number plates. This certificate has a time limit on it - do not exceed it, or you will have to go through all the stuff above a second time.
(Presumably, there is an agreement in effect with the criminal types not to get false numberplates made up without one of these authorisation certificates - I find this deeply reassuring in the modern age.)

Phone the insurance bandits and tell them the new UK registration of the car. Phone them before they cancel the insurance because you didn't tell them the registration within the required time period.
Even though you didn't know the UK registration yet.

Another quiet moment of quiet inrtospection is probably quite appropriate here.
Act Four - "Dear God, Will It Never End?"
Now, all that remains is to deal with all the nonsense originating from the Strassenverkersamt, because you a) didn't show for the MFK, and b) haven't returned the plates and registration document.

The fines and flack are piling up. One is clearly in their Big Book Of Bad Burghers.

One can take some satisfaction that registered letters and parcels sent from the UK to CH are indeed tracked from end to end. So not only can you tell the famously efficient Swiss bureacratuc maching that it screwed up, but that you can also prove that they're incompetent, and do this by insisting on faxing the evidence to them whilst they talk to you on the phone, so they cannot deny receipt this time.
I choose to interpret their conceeding "Yes, it looks as if we we must have received these, after all" as as close to a grovelling apology that I'm going to get from them, so honour is preserved.

Subsequently, corresponding with the Swiss insurer regarding the cancellation of the motor policy, is equally rewarding.

As soon as we receive the refund due for the unused part of said insurance policy, we go off to town to celebrate the successful registration of our Swiss car in the UK.
Sadly, the 5 rappen refund does not go very far.
During the (rather muted) celebrations, one wonders to oneself if it was really worth it...

Reflecting that Gordon the Volvo has given sterling service since his arrival here, and is even picking up the local accent, yes, it was worth it.

Aber...

The End (Curtain)


Simples.


Aber... I don't think I'd ever do it again. (Especially with an LHD car - the inconvenience of the Wrong Side, plus the even more inflated insurance for the Wrong Side, plus the significantly reduced payout for an LHD in the event of a constructive writeoff.)
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Old 25.01.2011, 00:24
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Re: Export a used car to UK

Fascinating, thanks for that weejeem. I'd heard about the importation pack but didn't realise the process was such a ball ache. I'm shocked to learn that the cost of insurance could be so high too.

My main worry had been the possibility of getting to Dover and having the car confiscated or something similar. As I understand it, a British resident isn't supposed to be driving a foreign registered car in the UK.

When I finally take my car back I'm hoping to get the same reg number that I had before I left the UK. I still have the old plates.
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Old 25.01.2011, 11:09
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Re: Export a used car to UK

Thanks weejeem for the detailed, entertaining and extensive reply - you've certainly made my decision for me. I will take some photos and advertise the car this week for 2500 CHF.
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Old 25.01.2011, 11:44
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Re: Export a used car to UK

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Thanks weejeem for the detailed, entertaining and extensive reply - you've certainly made my decision for me. I will take some photos and advertise the car this week for 2500 CHF.
That's too expensive you'll never sell it at that price and it will frighten off any potential buyers, try Chf 1900.-- and be motre than happy with Chf 1200.-- !

By the way you won't get 500.-- for it in the UK, you pay 500.-- for a right hand drive, yours is left hand drive so divide by 2 at least.

Be realistic, this way you're not so disapointed later on.
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Old 25.01.2011, 12:39
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Re: Export a used car to UK

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That's too expensive you'll never sell it at that price and it will frighten off any potential buyers, try Chf 1900.-- and be motre than happy with Chf 1200.-- !

By the way you won't get 500.-- for it in the UK, you pay 500.-- for a right hand drive, yours is left hand drive so divide by 2 at least.

Be realistic, this way you're not so disapointed later on.
Well I paid over 4000 CHF for it just over a year ago and it was a much better car than others I saw priced at 3000 CHF. The UK market is different to the Swiss one and I think 2500 CHF is a very reasonable asking price. We'll see though...
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Old 25.01.2011, 14:01
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Re: Export a used car to UK

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Well I paid over 4000 CHF for it just over a year ago and it was a much better car than others I saw priced at 3000 CHF. The UK market is different to the Swiss one and I think 2500 CHF is a very reasonable asking price. We'll see though...

all depends how much time you have, if its not sold a week before you leave then you'll either have to take it with you, or literally give it away.
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Old 25.01.2011, 15:30
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Re: Export a used car to UK

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Well I paid over 4000 CHF for it just over a year ago and it was a much better car than others I saw priced at 3000 CHF. The UK market is different to the Swiss one and I think 2500 CHF is a very reasonable asking price. We'll see though...
Good luck with the sale !

PS The price you paid for it is totaly irrelevant, it's what somebody is ready to give you for it and what you are ready to accept for it, thats the value of your car !
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Old 15.03.2015, 00:36
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Re: Export a used car to UK

I have yet to get into the minutae posted by Weejeem, and will post on my experience in Glasgow if it comes to that. Essentially, after being quoted between 750.0 and 1500.00 for a few boxes a 12 inch Tv and some clothes, I decided to buy a Fiat Brava for CHF 300.00 the dealer organised export plates for the middle of the month for two weeks and insurance for CHF200.00. I paid Chf 150.00 for the equivalent of AA or Rac covering myself and any car I am driving for a year... so CHF650 plus CHF max 400 in petrol

CHF 1000 Zurich to Glasgow, I may or may not be able to import and use the car, but even if I scrap it after 2 weeks I am ahead. I have 4 or 5 boxes, small stereo Tv, couple of laptops etc, and shipping alone was between CHF750 and CHF 1500. Then I would have to fly or get a train, minimum CHF400.

Anyway, if anyone is moving to Switzerland, and wants a car contact me... msolarcayman at gma x l. cxm or call Swiss Cell. 0788 939 180 or (I leave Mon 16th March 2015) so UK phone will be on next week 044 (0) 782 548 5477. I will be taking my time and enjoying some decent French food on the way... lol. Skype details are. jamesgale

Ciao
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