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Old 25.05.2017, 07:05
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Trying to decide if we should import our 2016 Toyota Highlander from the US

We purchased a new Toyota Highlander AWD SUV last summer. Today it is worth $6,000 less than what we paid. Estimated shipping is around $2,000. I'm unsure of the cost to update tail lights, etc. to conform to Swiss requirements. I've read online that the satellite radio, stereo and built-in GPS will not work in Switzerland, but not sure if this is accurate. Parking isn't a factor as it is included with our rent.

Not sure if it's better to sell here and buy a new vehicle after we arrive. Would appreciate any opinion/experience you have on this issue. Thank you.
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Old 25.05.2017, 09:20
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Re: Trying to decide if we should import our 2016 Toyota Highlander from the US

Plenty of other threads on the forum about this.

Usual advice - sell in US and buy a car here. It costs a fortune to have a US model converted to the correct Swiss standards. And will be hard to resell when the time comes.

But as you also say, there are conflicting stories. The real answer depends on your grasp of the local language and tenacity in being bothered to do this.

Regards


Ian
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Old 25.05.2017, 09:24
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Re: Trying to decide if we should import our 2016 Toyota Highlander from the US

As i said, lots on here already. Searching "importing car from US" gets over 25 hits.

Two most recent ones.

https://www.englishforum.ch/transpor...itzerland.html

https://www.englishforum.ch/transpor...xperience.html

Regards


Ian
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Old 25.05.2017, 09:34
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Re: Trying to decide if we should import our 2016 Toyota Highlander from the US

Here's some info based on my many years of working on cars from different markets (and converting them too). I'm an electronics engineer, I understand these systems. No, I will NOT convert your car for you

Satellite Radio - dead in the water
US satellite radio covers the US only, no signal in Europe, so that system will NOT work. Totaly dead. No replacement possible.

FM Tuning Steps - a killer
FM radio in the US steps at every 0.2MHz, whereas in Europe the standard is 0.1MHz. Some US radios step in 0.2MHz increments, some step in 0.1MHz increments. Check yours. If 0.2MHz, you will not be able to receive some European FM radio stations. Ad if these are the ones you want to receive, bad luck.

RDS - if fitted - no big deal
FM Radio in the US uses a US variant of the European designed RDS (Radio Data System). The Program Type (PTY) display text is different, but this is rarely used by users.
Station name display and retuning is the same and works fine.

FM Deemphasis - mostly not noticed
US uses 75us FM Radio deemphasis while Europe uses 50us. This results in FM sounding a bit different in the higher frequencies. Most people don't even notice. No big deal unless you are an audio purist.

GPS Navigation - will probably work, but check
Most GPS systems around the world just need to have the local map inserted or loaded onto the harddisc. The only difference is the map, the other hardware works globally (exception: traffic info, see below). Check your car whether it uses a DVD or a hard disc based map system. Check your manual to see if the system is also region-locked, some are. This means that the dealer must reprogram the car to accept European maps instead of US maps. Varies a lot by car maker.

GPS Traffic Information - check it
There are different traffic information systems in the world. Europe uses extensively the FM RDS service to broadcast the Traffic Message Channel (TMC) data for the nav system to use, and also flags the radio station with TP (supports Traffic Program) and triggers the announcements with TA (Traffic Announcement). The traffic broadcast system in your car may use some other mechanism such as HD-Radio or SatelliteRadio to receive the data, check it. If it uses RDS TMC, it will likely work.

Car Telephone - old school or new and blue
If you have a fixed car phone fitted (I do) then it will likely not work, as most US phone networks uses a different technology to Europe. But if anything you will likely have BlueTooth and that will work

Emergency OnCall Systems - no answer
A lot of cars have emergency systems these days that call via phone network to some central service center, using GPS receivers to locate you. Forget it, it won't work because the phone network is different and the call center may also not be reachable from Europe.

Garage Door Openers - always closed
Do you have the programmable garage door opener fitted? If so, it won't work in Europe as Europe uses 433MHz and the US uses 315MHz for the garage door remotes. No signal. Dead.

And they you have all the mechanical stuff:

Headlights - not shining brightly
US uses DOT standards, Europe uses ECE standards. The headlamp is clearly stamped with DOT and / or ECE (of course not just ECE for the US), normally in the glass molding on the side of the headlamp. You may need to remove the headlamp to see the marking. Check your headlamps, if you have the ECE stamp you are fine, otherwise you must replace the headlamps for ECE versions. This is mandatory for driving in Switzerland, your vehicle will not be permitted on the roads without ECE headlamps.
Likewise similar story for taillamps, but these are much less of a problem, as most lamps are the same.



Overall, my view is the following:
If you are a purist and want everything in your car to work properly (like me), don't even bother importing. Take the financial hit and get a local European car and enjoy the awesome Euro technology, some of which is very different to the US. Regards this as simply a moving cost.

If you are doing it purely for financial reasons and are willing to put up with the stuff that won't work at all or only partially work, then up to you. Note carefully the transport and homolgation costs, are they worth it?

If you are doing it because you love the car beyound any sound financial common sense, then go ahead. Noone will stop you anyway.
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Old 25.05.2017, 10:09
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Re: Trying to decide if we should import our 2016 Toyota Highlander from the US

Looking on autoscout24.ch, there are 3 for sale in CH, so not a popular car.
One guy states chf1900 replacing the satnav/radio.

Often with an international move the company may compensate you for the cost involved in firesale of your old car, ask them.
This is over and above the moving allowance.
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Old 25.05.2017, 10:45
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Re: Trying to decide if we should import our 2016 Toyota Highlander from the US

If you have a loan or a lease on the car, you will have to pay that off before you can export it.
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Old 25.05.2017, 10:50
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Re: Trying to decide if we should import our 2016 Toyota Highlander from the US

I think the best would be to sell it and get something similar here... it would be a thing less to care about, therefore a problem less to think about it.

BTW, nice ride! Had to do the same, sell my car before the move, and im even in europe!
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