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Old 09.05.2021, 22:43
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should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

I am a Swiss citizen born and raised in the US. It's been my dream to move to CH for some time now but I have a question about importing cars. I am currently looking for a new vehicle in the US, but I am not quite ready to move to Switzerland. Do you think I should get a Volkswagen in the US and then export it to CH when I move? I think it would be convenient to secure a car that would be easy to manage in CH now, since VW's are very common. But I worry about the maintenance and cost of driving one in the US, since they are considered foreign vehicles and that automatically makes working on them more pricey. I just recently had lots of trouble with a BMW that cost a lot of money in repairs and still isn't functioning. So should I get a VW here? Should I get a new VW when I transition to CH? Do you have any other car recommendations for me either in US or CH? many thanks in advance.
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Old 09.05.2021, 23:32
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

It's not important what the brand is but
- whenever that car was produced in EU
- is that model specific to US market only or avaliable in Europe
- is it new car.


Now, when car is produced/manufactures in EU - you get 2-years warranty on that car in CH regardless and worst case - your car gets towed to DE - which is EU regulated market.

However should your car be EU produced but manufactures in US - you get no warranty whatsoever and parts may be pricy.

When you bring car - it takes some time and about 2k to adjust the car to CH specification .

Cars in CH are cheap - except for some luxury lines like BMW X7 / Audi Q7 or sport cars - so there is not much reason to ship a container across the pond to get it more expensive than local one.
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Old 10.05.2021, 01:27
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

For a new VW car: definitely buy a car here or get in from Germany.

Shipping, customs and necessary modifications costs for you, as a private person, will outweigh any gains from a better price offer on a US market. A new Passat from 23k looks interesting, but an overall cost of getting it shipped over the ocean, cleared thru customs and legalized in Switzerland can easily multiply that number by 1.5 and more. Add extra costs for, possibly, lower ecological class, lower resale value, servicing and insuring less common variant of a car with possible parts issues, and there is no savings left at all.
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Old 10.05.2021, 09:16
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

Buying a car in Switzerland is as easy as anywhere else, and you would then have the advantage of the dealer helping you with the registration and no hassles with import.

If you buy one to import, you must have it at least six months before coming here otherwise you pay tax when you import (you can't count something less than six months old as part of your normal household goods).

Plus all the complications of a US car probably not being the same official type as an EU / CH one.
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Old 10.05.2021, 09:22
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

The used car market shouldn’t be ignored. Lots of cars get exchanged after a single year and in many cases people are leaving Switzerland meaning they want to sell urgently.

Do US cars have rear fog lights? They are mandatory here. (Just an example of different standards)

Last edited by bowlie; 10.05.2021 at 09:40.
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Old 10.05.2021, 15:12
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

imported my BMW 3 series this year as part of my move.

High level price breakdown:
1500 USD Shipping from East Coast
600 CHF for registration and MFK Test(Think Registration cost would need to be paid if you bought in CH anyways)
1000 CHF for rear fog light button(car had rear fog lights but US cars don't have the button in the car) + MFK failed part(shocks)

Overall, was not a bad experience. Also don't speak any German and was still able to get it done. I would say if it is part of your move, it seems like they care less. If you buy a used car in the US and bring it over here, I would think it is good value for money. Cars are pretty expensive here. With that said, I've heard used car prices in the US have gone up quite a bit, so it might not be worth it now. For me, between the price difference and the current exchange rate, I have come out far ahead IMO.
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Old 10.05.2021, 15:44
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

Keep in mind that if the car is less than a year old you could be liable for import tax. Ouch!
This can also be to your advantage. For example, US Muscle cars are very expensive here due to extra environment tax on em. In this case one can buy that dream Corvette, Jeep, Thunderbird or Mustang at about half the price. Drive it in the US for a year and then ship and import it here tax free. Also, inquire at the dealer about special ordering a car for Swiss import.
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Old 10.05.2021, 15:57
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

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Keep in mind that if the car is less than a year old you could be liable for import tax.
6 months, not a year.

There would also be duty of 4% on top of the 7.7% VAT.

Tom
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Old 10.05.2021, 15:57
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

I don't know but you might struggle/get less when you sell an import too in years to come? especially if it is a European manufacturer ironically.
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Old 10.05.2021, 16:23
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

Do you pay sales tax in the US when you buy a car? Not certain this would be refunded if exported.
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Old 10.05.2021, 16:37
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

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Do you pay sales tax in the US when you buy a car? Not certain this would be refunded if exported.
Depends what State and City. Some States have no sales tax. And there's no Federal sales tax.
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Old 10.05.2021, 16:42
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

Order a German one, to be delivered to the US in Swiss spec
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Old 10.05.2021, 16:45
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

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Order a German one, to be delivered to the US in Swiss spec
Nah! Get a Mexican low rider.
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Old 10.05.2021, 17:51
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

If it's a fairly standard car I wouldn't bring it over. More cost and hastle than it's worth. If it's something very special which you're attached to, why not, but the cost of shipping, the paperwork involved in getting the vehicle registered, particularly for a special car, is going to be painful.
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Old 10.05.2021, 18:26
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

And you can save a lot here by doing a parallel import. I just saved CHF7k off a 27k list price. One of the VW brands as well.
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Old 10.05.2021, 23:05
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

In the case of a VW, I would definitely not import a newish model from the US to Switzerland. The reason is that although the mechanics are largely the same, and some differences are minor (double vs. single rear backing-up/fog lights), some electronic settings are not; and more importantly, there are differences in bodies and interiors such that repair parts become extra expensive. For instance, compare these front views of the latest Passat:
US: https://www.caranddriver.com/volkswagen/passat
CH: https://revueautomobile.ch/2020/03/0...-0-tsi-r-line/
The greater "squint" of the US model is because of a different setup of the main lights. The consequence is that a relatively minor corner accident could require replacing more parts or getting expensive and slow import parts.
The arguments about tax savings and importing older models are all true and sound. But in the case of VW (unlike e.g. BMW that makes few models in the US and which models are more standard), the differences between continents are too much of a pain.
On the upside, that US VW might have bigger cup holders.
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Old 11.05.2021, 16:37
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

One more reason to wait on getting a car in CH could be that certain EU required safety features may not be the standard in the US yet. But on this point, actually am not certain about it.
https://www.englishforum.ch/transpor...want-wait.html
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Old 12.05.2021, 17:10
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

I got back in 2009 brand new US-sourced Q7 - no issues at all (even red-indicator lights are fine by C?H stanards). Front Xeon lights had to be "re-coded"via VAG to EU norms - and that was it
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Old 12.05.2021, 18:45
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

I actually forgot something by bow - something called "homologation" would be required should it be only car in CH of that type etc - that would have been 5-8k CHF. Way around it was to speak to general importer of similar vehicles to CH (my case was AMAG) and provide some paper that this car falls in category of other already certified vehicle and requires no separate homologation.
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Old 12.05.2021, 21:53
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Re: should i export my car or get a new one in CH?

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I got back in 2009 brand new US-sourced Q7 - no issues at all (even red-indicator lights are fine by C?H stanards). Front Xeon lights had to be "re-coded"via VAG to EU norms - and that was it
That makes sense for a low-volume vehicle like the Q7, which is made in only one plant in the world, in Bratislava.

On the other hand, most VW models are made in different versions around the world, and positioned differently. In the case of the Passat that I mentioned, the North American vehicle is made in Chattanooga, and is down-marketed by VW's standards. (In fact, the North American Passat only recently forked from the Chinese version.) The European models were made in Emden, Germany, and now at Skoda's plant in Kvasiny, Czechia. They have better trims and engines, relatively speaking.


For the Passat, as for most VW models, the European model is better reviewed. E.g.: https://carbuzz.com/news/europe-s-vo...e-american-one


Then again rumor has it that the Passat sedan could be discontinued in Europe from 2023 (but not the wagon) to make room for Skoda. The North American model is a slow seller and may not last long either.

Last edited by XDr; 12.05.2021 at 23:25. Reason: Update
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