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Old 16.09.2022, 21:53
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Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

I am trying to figure out if I want to drive my US car to CH or get one there. Or simply go there for a while and figure out if I want to own a car. Need some help to figure out the possible downsides of both decisions, please...

Firstly, I have a decently packed impreza 2019 premium AWD with 27k miles. I can get maybe 22-23k here and then use that to get something in CH. Alternatively, I believe I could just ship it there. Does anyone see problems such as resale value of American car? Will it be seen as not as good as Swiss/European? It does have mile based clock and similar things.

An alternative is to get a car there, maybe go electric or hybrid. I can see a lot of discussion about the charging situation and it seems like it is improving. It seems like there are also decent discounts for getting a new car and I will be working for a fairly big company so they might have some. Or simply get a 2-3 years old decent car there.

Appologies for a long winding post - I hope it makes sense.
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Old 16.09.2022, 22:33
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

You'll almost certainly take a big hit, to get it registered in Switzerland you will need a clock in KM.


If you are not sure, keep it in the States, come for a while and then decide, Switzerland doesn't suit everyone and it is very different from the US !
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Old 16.09.2022, 23:35
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

There's a technical inspection to determine is the auto is roadworthy before you can register it. You'd assume since it's a 2019 model there should be no trouble at all.....but differences in standards (light color, fog light) between Europe and US may get on your way.

Check these threads on EF https://www.englishforum.ch/search2.php?q=car+import+US

And google for modifications needed to import an US Subaru into Europe. Maybe you're lucky and few or none modifications are needed. Maybe a significant amount of money is required and this must be taken into account.
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Old 17.09.2022, 01:46
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

There are currently - AFAIK - still no or very few discounts for cars. New or used.

I would second selling it in the States (while the market is still hot there), getting here without one and get by with public transport, rentals, car-shares and a bike for the time being. Walking is also very much possible here.

There are signs that the market is cooling down in Europe (a recession is looming), this should bring prices down.
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Old 17.09.2022, 03:45
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

Thanks for these replies guys. Sounds like there were a few things I wasnít thinking about. I should probably get rid of it here and get back to the European style. On a sidenote, I am a European just been here for a year and a half for my post doc(posted in introductions).
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Old 17.09.2022, 10:15
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

We brought our car (a Volvo, many years ago) - but only because:

It was brand new - as in bought a couple of weeks before OH's unexpected secondment to CH.
OH's company paid for the shipping, plus a gross-up for US taxes on the benefit.
OH's company paid for whatever it took to pass the MFK.



Had any of those things been missing, it would not have been worth bringing. If we had to spend a cent of our own, OH would have sold the car in the US. Simply not worth it if you have to pay for shipping - or unless you have something truly special.

But a bog standard Volvo, however nice and shiny new? Not on my own dime.

Last edited by meloncollie; 17.09.2022 at 10:32.
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Old 17.09.2022, 10:25
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

Here is a list of documents you need to register a US import:

https://www.ag.ch/de/verwaltung/dvi/...ort/usa-import
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Old 17.09.2022, 10:34
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

Sell and buy if needed, reduce the stress around your move.
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Old 17.09.2022, 10:49
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

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Or simply go there for a while and figure out if I want to own a car.
Swiss public transport is fantastic. Check if your company will pay you the AG (yearly pass).
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Old 19.09.2022, 14:24
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

Solid advice here. Sell it, get here, see what you need, then buy.

source: I imported 2 US cars to CH (but sold my WRX STI hatch in the US)
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Old 19.09.2022, 14:31
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

Donít a lot of US cars have red indicator lights? Not sure thatís be accepted here.
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Old 20.09.2022, 17:48
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

FWIW...

We brought our 2010 Range Rover Supercharged from the US. in 2017 as it only had about 20k miles and was paid off. It cost us ~2k to ship from NJ and we typically buy vehicles and use them until they stop running.

We use it as a grocery getter, quick errand boy and some long road-trips occasionally into the hills/mountains for holidays. With a family, the need for groceries/errands requires a vehicle where we live for convenience (we find at least).

The importer we used charged us for some simple modifications and took it to the road office to get it certified and the license plate put on it. I think all they did was toggle the MPH to KMH and they charged us 1k for that pleasure.

To sell it there and buy an equivalent replacement here would have meant coming out of pocket significantly for us so we brought it over.

We recently got it road tested again at the local Strasse... and they broke my back over the trailer hitch and the wiring harness. I had to go 3 times as they did not like the hitch receiver, the tow ball on the tongue, the different US to EU wiring adapter I bought online, etc., and were basically just being difficult. They argued my hitch was not EU compliant and I had to print out the Range Rover invoice for the EU hitch I had so they would let it go. They were even telling me I had to take off the factory provided Range Rover towing kit on it if I could not fix it. It was a ridiculous headache for a non-issue they turned into a first class incident.

I then paid my garage CH-German speaking mechanic to take it in for the 4th time and they passed it without a problem and they all probably enjoyed more than a few giggles at my expense. It was very frustrating, not to mention billed by the state for each vehicle visit it took to get it passed.

In hind sight, I probably would have sold it and bought something here instead. It would have reduced the stress of the move, if it was from here and I did not have to deal with all the complexities of a foreign car from the US for ongoing maintenance and tests.

We like the idea of an extra very small, fuel efficient vehicle to use instead, but the breakeven on an electric for 4 for us is still so many years out, we keep the big beast on the road, just a lot less frequently.
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Old 20.09.2022, 19:16
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

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Donít a lot of US cars have red indicator lights? Not sure thatís be accepted here.
I see some cars and pickups going around with red lights so probably not? I just saw yesterday a newish dodge durango.
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Old 20.09.2022, 21:04
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

All these are helpful. I do believe it is better to get rid and get something once I settle in. I will be living in an urban area (Basel) and it would only be a burden to get the parking and sort out all these issues.
Just out of curiosity, I have the km clock, but it is the ring inside (as opposed to MPH outside the clock). Is even that a problem? I never look at is there is a digital one in the middle of the panel.
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Old 20.09.2022, 21:33
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

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All these are helpful. I do believe it is better to get rid and get something once I settle in. I will be living in an urban area (Basel) and it would only be a burden to get the parking and sort out all these issues.
Just out of curiosity, I have the km clock, but it is the ring inside (as opposed to MPH outside the clock). Is even that a problem? I never look at is there is a digital one in the middle of the panel.
Contrary to all expectations, Switzerland is relatively car-friendly. Roads are perfect Basically, all apartment buildings less than 10 YO have plenty of underground parking with prices between 100-200 CHF/month. Paid parking in the cities is sufficient, at least the weekends.

I guess the main difference for us that come as foreigner is that a car is not a "irreplaceable tool". All the boring things in life can be done by foot, bicycle or public transport. So, the car is mainly for fun and pleasure.

If you have considered driving anywhere you need to go as a chore, enjoy the possibility of car-free life in Switzerland. It's totally doable.

If you enjoy the simple act of driving, get a car that makes you smile. I'll be too old to drive one day and public transport will be a must. For now, I better enjoy the car that makes 0 to prison time in 9 seconds
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Old 21.09.2022, 07:51
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

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<snip>

If you enjoy the simple act of driving, get a car that makes you smile. I'll be too old to drive one day and public transport will be a must. For now, I better enjoy the car that makes 0 to prison time in 9 seconds
Adding to the possible car-free life, is the fact that the Mobility car-sharing option is a very viable option for those that wish to have the use of a car intermittently, and the cost of that is very reasonable. If true car rentals are a desired option, the likes of Hertz do have more interesting cars available than the usual econoboxes, and there's a currently-thriving performance car rental scene if one can pony up the deposit.

I did go for a "having a car in my life" option, but my motoring mobility needs are not satisfied by Mobility (roofrack and hitch-carrier needed for kayaking and mountain biking, and ideally no roof-box needed when camping). I also chose a car that could go from zero to a fine in under 7 seconds anywhere in .ch, meaning I can look forwards to all my drives even though I don't actually drive much.
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Old 21.09.2022, 10:51
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

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Just out of curiosity, I have the km clock, but it is the ring inside (as opposed to MPH outside the clock). Is even that a problem? I never look at is there is a digital one in the middle of the panel.
No, in my experience that counts. You also may be able to toggle a setting and switch the digital to Km, which also worked for me w/ MFK.

welcome to Basel
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Old 21.09.2022, 12:10
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

What size is the motor?

Possible to have it shipped relatively cheap without a container to France and pick it up at the port on arrival. However, don't put anything in the trunk that you don't want stolen.
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Old 21.09.2022, 16:12
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

Almost all cars in states have Km above the mph or digital you can switch.. from mph to km.. I brought mine over in 98 and only had to unplug the front side marker lamps
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Old 21.09.2022, 21:39
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Re: Coming from US to CH: bring my car or get one there

Mobility in combination with public transport seems very appealing. I have to say that I have some doubts about carless living at this point. I have lived in Europe most of my life and have only been driving for the last 5-6 years, as life in Ireland and the US is kinda impossible without it, or at least some levels of comfort. I am really undecided if I will be able to come back to non-lazy type where you don't use your car to go 20 m down the road... Now, comforts of the life with a car are obvious even in Switzerland - not for essentials but just to decide to go somewhere for a trip for a weekend without much need for planning according to trains and an option to back whenever I want is also a plus... For me, although there is an expense, it will not be a problem to keep up with car-related expenses, and that is not really an issue. However, I will probably sell the one I have here if I get a decent offer, but I am just curious if I don't do that and do decide to take it with me
how feasible, cost vs pain ratio and so on.

In terms of my vehicle, it is an Impreza 2.0i (link to the add)I am not sure about emissions have to check that. Other than that, I believe I wouldn't have problems with any other parts. It has both analog speed clocks and I can always switch the digital one to km.

Some doubts:
Probably a dumb question...I can see that people have found the insurance in SW. What about in between? Do I check with my insurance if they can cover international travel, but what if not? I don't remember seeing something in posts on this forum about the time/travel in between.

I have something like 2 years no-claim bonus from the Irish branch of Liberty insurance. Does this mean anything in CH?

How about shipping? Any recommendations? I can see that there are many of these online quoting services and I tried one. Below is part of the offer they send automatically - this seems like it could go up to $2K??
RORO
RORO
We can offer the following rates from the United States to northern European ports Antwerp & Zeebrugge Belgium and Hamburg & Bremerhaven Germany. We can also ship to Southampton and Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

We use several different carriers from the East Coast of the USA to Europe, which may call at different ports in the UK (Liverpool or Southampton), Belgium (Antwerp or Zeebrugge)and Germany (Bremerhaven or Hamburg).

Export - Shipping (inc. BAF,LSL,BL)
East Coast (Baltimore, Brun, Charls) $ 1,006 855
East Coast (NY & Baltimore) $ 855
East Coast (Jacksonville) $ 855
Southern Coast (Galveston) $ 1,123
West Coast (Tacoma, Long Beach) $ 1,460

Export Costs
ISPS $50
AES, Docs & Port fees $400 (Estimate)
An escort is required for US ports, expect the cost to be between $50 - $125, depending on port.


Import
Import Costs (EU Ports / UK Ports) Ä250-Ä325 / £250-£325
(Port Fees, THC and Customs clearance, does not include any taxes or duties.)
Marine Cargo Insurance
If requested, Marine Cargo insurance is charged on top of the above costs as a fixed fee or % of the insured value (Vehicle Value + Shipping costs).

We are able to offer All risks - excluding chips, dents, scratches, and marring or All Risks including chips dents and marring subject to a third-party survey and additional fees (certain routes/port pairs and carriers only)

Insured Value Cost
To 25,000 175
To 50,000 275
50,000 + 0.50% *

*Insured value = Vehicle Value + Shipping costs
*Third-party survey fees, if requested, minimum Ä100/$100/£100 only available at certain ports + Admin fee 50
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