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Old 19.05.2009, 01:32
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Buy new car in US or buy local?

Hello everyone,

I have just joined the site and this is the first of my posts.

I am moving to Switzerland sometime between July and December depending on how selling my home here in the US goes and the start time of my new position in Zurich. This is expected to be a permanent move, I have dual citizenship.

Ultimately I have many questions on what to sell and what to bring.
Most furniture I assume is best sold rather than bring, other than that will bring most household items with (except for TV, DVD player, Stereo, etc.).

My initial and nagging question is regarding cars. We currently have two cars but assume we can get by with one car in Switzerland at least to start as my wife will be staying home.
Now, my cars are 5 and 8 years old so I was looking at purchasing a new car and bringing it along especially after the last time I saw prices in Switzerland for cars.
I have been looking at (all of them AWD) Acura TL (I think it is the Honda Legend there), the Audi A4 or A6, Infinity G37, and the Subaru (if possible, the new 2010 release would be great with the new design otherwise a legacy wagon).

I know gas mileage is a factor in comparing the price per liter of gas here and there, but I also like the idea of AWD since I have been enjoying that in my vehicle for the past years.

So, on to the question, please forgive a newbie the difficulty with posting the comment...
Am I better purchasing the car here, transporting and enjoying the cost savings even though I may lose my warranty? Or am I better paying more and getting local service, warranty, and the possibility of a better gas mileage diesel engine that is unavailable here in the US?

Thanks in advance
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Old 19.05.2009, 05:39
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

Someone who knows better than I will be along shortly. In the meantime, I'll submit that I see two snags:

1. The car must have been purchased six months prior to your arrival in order to avoid paying Swiss VAT (sales tax).

2. You won't be able to export the vehicle from the US if there's an outstanding lien on the title. You'll need to either clear the lien (pay off any loan or buy out any lease) or else find a way to transfer the loan balance to a Swiss lender.

Also, pay very careful attention to the EU lighting requirements. Some US cars seem to be able to meet that standard with a simple bulb change, others would need new front lighting assemblies which could involve a complete EU nose job on the car. Definitive information on this topic is difficult to find.
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Old 19.05.2009, 05:44
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

Here are my questions which were formulated after doing some research. Everything I learned spawned two more questions and now I'm just as confused as ever.

One last thing: Volvo has an expat program that's intended for your precise situation.

Last edited by richardm; 19.05.2009 at 05:58.
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Old 19.05.2009, 06:19
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

Great question! I don't think this has been asked before . Sorry I have no info to provide to you but maybe if you look in the Transportation section of this forum, you might find some related information. There is also a Search button that might help you.

Welcome BTW.
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Old 19.05.2009, 09:29
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

Welcome to the forum, juxtapo I've moved your thread to the Transportation/Driving area.
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Old 19.05.2009, 13:30
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

We transported our Volvo from Canada ( we had owned it for 3-4 years). As it was a ' European' make already we had very little difficulties and costs, passing it through the Swiss regulations.

If you check the internet for the price of new cars in Switzerland, it maybe worth your while transporting a car and paying the tax on it as well.

Cars can be quite expensive here!
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Old 19.05.2009, 19:48
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

I will definitely pay cash for the vehicle.
If I leave before I have owned the vehicle 6 months I may just leave it behind until the 6 months time has passed as it will ship separately from my household items anyway.

Does serviceability become an issue if bringing in a built for USA car?

Is the Audi A6 or A4 built differently for Europe as it is for the US?

What about resale value, any one have ideas on the resale hit I may take if I decide to sell a US model?
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Old 19.05.2009, 20:08
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

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If I leave before I have owned the vehicle 6 months I may just leave it behind until the 6 months time has passed as it will ship separately from my household items anyway.
6 month rule normally applies to the time that you become resident, not when it is imported. When you buy your car, try to get an EC declaration of conformity for the vehicle as it will make it easier to get through the licensing process. Personally, I wouldn't bother with the hassle of it all unless you don't value the time that it is going to take you.

Seriously, read the other threads on this topic.
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Old 19.05.2009, 20:23
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

Just as a side note (as a very satisfied TL owner myself), the Acura TL is not the Honda Legend. The Acura RL is the European Honda Legend.
The Acura TL is built in Ohio for the north American market and is not exported to Europe. You would not find parts for it.
Same for the US Honda Accord. It is NA only. The Acura TSX is the European Accord.
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Old 19.05.2009, 21:01
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

You would definitely want to ask your car dealer in the US if the car was made in Europe as our Volvo was. If it is made in the US I think it may not be worth importing the car. Check before you leave as they should know this.
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Old 19.05.2009, 22:29
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

I agree.
I don't want to sound pedantic but beware of the Subarus also. For the US market they are produced in Lafayette, Indiana and while they look pretty much the same as the ones you see in Europe, they use many US sourced components that are unique.
It would probably be much safer to buy a European car in the US.
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Old 19.05.2009, 23:12
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

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6 month rule normally applies to the time that you become resident, not when it is imported.
As a Swiss Citizen and an American Citizen I wont be changing status when I get there, does this change anything in this regard?
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Old 19.05.2009, 23:15
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

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I agree.
I don't want to sound pedantic but beware of the Subarus also. For the US market they are produced in Lafayette, Indiana and while they look pretty much the same as the ones you see in Europe, they use many US sourced components that are unique.
It would probably be much safer to buy a European car in the US.
I appears like buying an Audi or Volvo here in the US is even cheaper than purchasing it over there. Are there differences on the European cars that are exported and sold in the US that make them less desirable than the "European version"?
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Old 19.05.2009, 23:18
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

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Just as a side note (as a very satisfied TL owner myself), the Acura TL is not the Honda Legend. The Acura RL is the European Honda Legend.
The Acura TL is built in Ohio for the north American market and is not exported to Europe. You would not find parts for it.
Same for the US Honda Accord. It is NA only. The Acura TSX is the European Accord.

Are the TSX and the RL virtually the same as the Accord and Legend? AS far as parts, engines, specs, etc?
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Old 19.05.2009, 23:31
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

Audis, Mercs, and BMWs are safe. The headlights may be different and obviously the speedometer. Infinitis may also be okay but the AWD is not sold (I think) in Switzerland.
I would also buy in the US. you can get great deals now.
I remember a place in Geneva that was converting those speedometers getting plenty of business from UN and CERN people.
I am also a dual citizen and I looked into shipping a Mustang back to Switzerland a while ago. But then I got married and stayed...
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Old 19.05.2009, 23:39
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

Yes they are. The Acura TSX/RL/Euro Accord/Legend are produced in Japan.
I quickly checked the price difference between a Swiss Legend and a US RL and it is astonishing.
CHF 75K versus $ 40K (street price, not MSRP, from Edmunds) !

Last edited by ch-expat; 20.05.2009 at 00:02.
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Old 20.05.2009, 00:38
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

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Yes they are. The Acura TSX/RL/Euro Accord/Legend are produced in Japan.
I quickly checked the price difference between a Swiss Legend and a US RL and it is astonishing.
CHF 75K versus $ 40K (street price, not MSRP, from Edmunds) !

What websites do find good for Swiss pricing?
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Old 20.05.2009, 00:49
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

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What websites do find good for Swiss pricing?
I just looked at the www.honda.ch site. I don't know what the market price is in Switzerland for that type of car.
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Old 20.05.2009, 06:46
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

Quote:
Are there differences on the European cars that are exported and sold in the US that make them less desirable than the "European version"?
Yes... Different engine choices. US-spec engines are generally larger and thirstier.
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Old 20.05.2009, 22:24
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Re: Buy new car in US or buy local?

In the case of Honda and many others, they offer only the most powerful engine for a given model in the US while in Europe they offer a wide range of engines.
It is probably going to change with Obama's proposed new CAFE standard.
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