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Old 19.03.2011, 14:22
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Importing used car...questions

Hello everybody! I'm just arriving in Switzerland, coming from the US. (Well...six months ago). I had thought to buy a car here but it seems they are very expensive! In the meantime, my father has offered me my mom's old car. It's a Mercedes stationwagon, E500 4Matic, circa 2004. He was going to sell it (Mom doesn't drive anymore, unfortunately) but said he'd give it to me if I could use it. I've done some looking around and I see that if I own the car for more than 6 mos, it comes in duty free. I'm wondering if it would be good to explore importing the car as an option but I have a few questions I'm hoping the more experienced can help me with:

1) Does it matter how long you've been in Switzerland for a car to come in duty free? If I ask my dad to transfer title today and store the car for me for six months, I'll have been here for more than a year before I get the car. Does that matter?
2) I've agreed to work in Switzerland for at least three years. Is that a consideration that needs to be taken into account?
3) How does the value of a car get calculated? My mom's car is free to me, so I'm not sure how much VAT and/or consumption tax would be in that case. Is it calculated on the local equivalent of blue book or something?
4) Even though the car is German, I'm pretty sure that the speedometer is only in miles, for some reason. Is that a difficult problem to correct locally?
5) Is there any advantage to having lived in Switzerland longer when it comes to importing a car? My girlfriend has been here for almost 10 years (she's American too) and seems to have an easier time of getting official stuff done than I do as a result (and not just because she speaks French!). Is this another case where longer-term residents win?
6) I see cost estimates ranging from 1500 dollars to 9000 dollars for shipping from New York/New Jersey (where the car is) to Switzerland. Any ideas on the real ballpark?

Any help or advice that the knowledgeable amongst us can offer is much appreciated. Thanks!

Todd
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Old 19.03.2011, 14:31
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Re: Importing used car...questions

I would suggest getting the car sold in the States and using the proceeds to fund a local car. Shipping costs, adaptation costs and other fees will make the importation expensive. It will also be much easier to sell on if you decide to leave.

All of your questions have been answered in this forum in various other threads, so have a good search (MFK / SVA / import etc)
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