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Old 22.03.2010, 18:19
AussieMatt AussieMatt is offline
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Re: bringing my USA BMW to CH?

hey zuifmufi,

I'm also bringing my Audi S4 from Cali to Switz. There are a few things to consider and this forum is full of info, but it is not complete.

Firstly is the radio/navi. At least for my Audi, this is already "cracked" by several audi navi experts between the UK/EU and US. There is at least a specific audi navi forum that helps with such software changes between EU and US. With regards traffic monitoring and the use of radio (satellite or FM) frankly I'm not too concerned. In theory audi navi with the EU software will work no probs, but I use the CD/SDcards for my listening pleasure. In any case most local radio in switzerland is pretty bad and I don't understand them anyway, so I'm not concerned.

The second big thing is whether you will have to make any changes to your car to comply with swiss regs. Someone mentioned that it was easier to sell it in the US and buy one local. Well yes and no. It may be easier to sell in the US, but economically it is totally worth bringing my car in. Considering cost of rego and transport compared to the differences in values. Even my car being 3 yrs old now is still worth 10-20kCHF more than what I would get in the US!

Also, these days there are less significant manufacturing differences for US destined cars and EU market cars. The big things to note are headlights (xenons need washers), exhaust fumes, speedo (km/h shown) and indicators (orange turn signals) and something to do with the wheels/tires. Additionally, I found a few local contacts that do this sort of thing regularly and were able to analyse my car build (the exact details of what was put on my car) to determine if it would require significant homologation to swiss standards. Thankfully they believe it won't need to change much based on the car's setup.

Someone mentioned that the US suspension is different on some models. This is true in some cases and typically the US suspension is higher and softer. But my understanding is that this is not of great concern to the swiss authorities if it is higher and softer. I have aftermarket suspension, which may require swapping back to OEM, getting rego and then putting it back on again, but hopefully not.

With regards importation these are the basic procedures:
1. swiss import customs clearance (I believe you get this when you either drive across the border or when it is unloaded from the container)
2. necessary modifications to meet swiss regulations
3. registration of your car in switzerland (requires gas emissions test, etc)

The import also depends on if you are bringing it as part of your household goods (under form 18.44) and also that you own it for more than 6 months. That way you don't pay customs duties or taxes.

Documents required for swiss import customs clearance:
- original form 18.44
- copy of passport
- copy of lease or property title to place of residence in switzerland
- copy of residence permit
- copy of attestation of residence from the local gemeinde
- confirmation of employment from employer
- copy of foreign title showing a date older than 6 months.

you will then be issued form 13.20A and 18.44 will be stamped. These are neede for starting the registration process.

Then you need to go through the process of making any changes to get it registered.

It's not an easy process, and it is somewhat still vague to me, also since I have not been through the process yet. So the above is only what I have learned and may or may not be accurate. The process may also be slightly different depending on the Canton.

With regards a conformity document. I still haven't been able to track one down. No one really knows. Audi of America doesn't have one. The exporters don't have one. My next stop is the DMV to try and get a copy of the original first registration certificate.

It's a process. It's not fun. But I can't wait to have my car here!

Good luck and if you need help the forum is mostly helpful and I will try where I can.
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