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Old 13.11.2009, 17:47
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Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

I am wondering if anyone has recently imported their car from US to Switzerland. I have a car that isn't sold in Switzerland and our moving company is telling us that it is next to impossible to do homologization for it (the car in question is Honda Pilot, 2009 model). WHich is clearly contradicting some people's experiences.
I am very keen on trying to make this work so I won't give up so easily - the cost of buying a car of similar quality in Switzerland is much higher and I am willing to take the risk of paying for all repairs myself (given the car won't be covered under US warranty). Also the amount we need to pay to ship it is small compared to the value of the car.
Does anyone have any advice (including who can i reach out to in Basel about this)? I am already in contact with the local honda dealership but they aren't very helpful.

Thanks so much!
Marina
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Old 14.11.2009, 02:22
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

I'm going through the same thing with a different US-specific Honda model. So far, nobody's told me that getting it plated here will be impossible so I'm pressing forward regardless. I'll keep everyone posted.
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Old 14.11.2009, 10:11
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

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I'm going through the same thing with a different US-specific Honda model. So far, nobody's told me that getting it plated here will be impossible so I'm pressing forward regardless. I'll keep everyone posted.

It's not impossible, but it can be very expensive, time consuming and extremely difficult to sell on at a later date, unless it's a 1950's gull wing Merc, bog standard cars just don't cut the mustard !

Take the loss, smile and think of your large Swiss salary....
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Old 14.11.2009, 16:22
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

More importantly, you DON'T want a car that makes 17mpg [1] in Europe. Seriously.
There's plenty of alternatives to choose from, and if you don't want to spend too much buying a used car is not a shame (or so I've been told).

[1] Accordingo to: http://automobiles.honda.com/pilot/
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Old 14.11.2009, 17:10
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

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Does anyone have any advice (including who can i reach out to in Basel about this)? I am already in contact with the local honda dealership but they aren't very helpful.

Thanks so much!
Marina
No but if you mention you want to buy one of their cars then I bet you they would be.

Looks like you have a nice car, good luck with the importing.
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Old 14.11.2009, 17:22
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

if the model has been imported before, you might be lucky. Otherwise, you'll likely end up paying the Wikipedia reference-linkHomologation fees that the first importer would - so like a Ford Focus being paid by Ford to be homologated, you'll be possibly the one paying for this Honda to become accepted in Switzerland.

If you're rich and have money to burn, go ahead.

Oh - and there is no guarantee of success as you will maybe not get EU type-approved parts and so-on - but there are Dodge RAMs around and they likely have a similar issue (but importing one of those would be cheaper because someone else has paid the big bucks).
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Old 14.11.2009, 20:36
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

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More importantly, you DON'T want a car that makes 17mpg [1] in Europe. Seriously.
I wouldn't be too worried about fuel consumption, unless you really drive a lot. BTW 17mpg is the city rating. Highway is 23, so on average it's probably more like 20mpg which equals to about 12L/100km.

Of course, I have no idea about marincica's driving habits, but let's assume that she will drive 15'000km annually, which is about 10-20% more than the average Swiss driver.

Now let's further assume that marincica would buy a smaller family car in Switzerland such as the VW Touran with the 1.4L TSI engine. VW claims that the average consumption is 6.9L, which I'll round to 7.

So let's do the math: The annual fuel cost for the Pilot at current prices of about CHF 1.60 per liter would be CHF 2880. The fuel cost for the Touran would be CHF 1680/year, so you'll save about CHF 1200 per year. This isn't exactly a lot if you compare it to the huge price differences for cars in the US and in Switzerland.

The one thing I would be more worried about is the size of the car. The Pilot is almost 2 meters wide which can be quite annoying if you have to navigate and find a suitable space in claustrophobic Swiss parking lots.

Last edited by Mark75; 14.11.2009 at 20:58.
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Old 14.11.2009, 20:49
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

we just tried figuring out how to bring my husbands motorcycle to switzerland from the US and everyone we called told us different things. goodluck! i'll be interested to hear how it goes
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Old 14.11.2009, 21:26
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

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I am wondering if anyone has recently imported their car from US to Switzerland. I have a car that isn't sold in Switzerland and our moving company is telling us that it is next to impossible to do homologization for it (the car in question is Honda Pilot, 2009 model). WHich is clearly contradicting some people's experiences.
I am very keen on trying to make this work so I won't give up so easily - the cost of buying a car of similar quality in Switzerland is much higher and I am willing to take the risk of paying for all repairs myself (given the car won't be covered under US warranty). Also the amount we need to pay to ship it is small compared to the value of the car.
Does anyone have any advice (including who can i reach out to in Basel about this)? I am already in contact with the local honda dealership but they aren't very helpful.

Thanks so much!
Marina
I have to agree with most of the others.

Fuel in this country is at least twice the cost of fuel in the USA. Licensing your car in this country is based on curb weight and horsepower. The fees are amazing compared to the cost to do the same in the USA.

In the USA I drive a BMW 540i and my wife drove a 530xiT. We really like these models but here it is different. We went with a BMW still but as already mentioned here the size of parking spaces in Switzerland are very small. Consistently so. So we went with a 330xiT as it is a smaller car than the 5 series. There is a reason that so many people here drive station wagons. The combination of practicality and smaller size is hard to say no to. I know as the T in this country means Touring, aka Station Wagon.

As for fuel economy 17mpg isn't that good. I get about 10L/100km which is the same as 23.5mpg. This is my all around mileage. If I am cruising at the 120 km/h or almost 75mph then I get about 8L/100km or about 29.4mpg. Alternatively, on the Autobahn at speeds over 125mph I still get 11L/100km or 21mpg.
My Car holds 60 liters of gasoline and it costs more than 100 francs to fill it all the way up. So for 16 gallons US you will be paying about about 100 US dollars.

Those who say that you should buy something over here are correct unless you intend to buy exactly what you have there. Also consider that in Switzerland it is almost impossible to drive in any direction for more than a kilometer or around a half of a mile. The difference takes some time to absorb as in the USA, depending on where you live, you can literally drive for miles in a straight line with almost no steering correction. There is a reason why American cars are different than European cars or Japanese cars. I would seriously consider checking out the lay of the land here before you decide to bring you car over, if you can.

One final consideration is that the warrantee you have on your current car if any will most likely not be valid. For example my wife's 530 Wagon was still under warrantee in the USA. I called and checked and after a lot of shuffling between different departments I was informed that after the first year the warrantee was provided by the national group. I.E. the BMWNA warrantee would not transfer to Europe.

If you are still so attached to your car that all of this doesn't dissuade you then good luck. Cars are very expensive in Switzerland and if you can bring it here with little fuss then you will save money.

One other point to consider...
Isn't it possible to bring a car into Switzerland without having to pay import duties if you state that you will be removing it within 12 months? I know that if you have owned it for more than 1 year before bringing it into Switzerland you don't have to pay the import duties. There are just some minor fees and paper work as long as you don't sell it within the year you bring it in to the country. I am relating this all off the top of my head so if I have miss represented anything or made any errors please someone correct them.

BTW, we ended up selling our 530 instead of bringing an expensive to maintain non warranted vehicle into Switzerland. We lost 8000 dollars but didn't have to pay the rest of the auto loan, as well as not having to pay the transportation costs and various fees and other costs of inspections, etc. and have ended up more than even.

Thanks and good luck,
Brian
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Old 14.11.2009, 21:42
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

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I am wondering if anyone has recently imported their car from US to Switzerland. I have a car that isn't sold in Switzerland and our moving company is telling us that it is next to impossible to do homologization for it (the car in question is Honda Pilot, 2009 model).
You'll have to go through the entire homologation procedure

And for such a bland middle of the road nothing special car like a Honda Pilot, you'd be seriously questioning whether it would be worth the expense.

My recommendation: Sell your US designed car made for the US market, and buy a Euro designed car for the Euro market.

No hassle, better car for Europe. and easy to drive /insure /maintain / repair.
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Old 16.11.2009, 12:25
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

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Sell your US designed car made for the US market, and buy a Euro designed car for the Euro market.

No hassle, better car for Europe. and easy to drive /insure /maintain / repair.
Yep, what he says. Absolutely NOT WORTH all the hassle.

Even if you did manage to get it registered in Switzerland (for a lot of money in admin fees, import duty and new parts etc.) you'd have more than a little trouble selling it when you want to replace it.

This subject has been done to death on this forum- simple answer is, unless you have something particularly special, it really isn't worth trying to import it if you want to keep your sanity.
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Old 16.11.2009, 12:35
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

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Of course, I have no idea about marincica's driving habits, but let's assume that she will drive 15'000km annually, which is about 10-20% more than the average Swiss driver.

no she won't. with "87.0 cu ft of Cargo Space", she will only need to go grocery shopping once every 6 weeks or so
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Old 16.11.2009, 12:38
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

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no she won't. with "87.0 cu ft of Cargo Space", she will only need to go grocery shopping once every 6 weeks or so
I have yet to meet a woman who would only do the grocary shopping at that interval, let alone the window shopping, clothes shopping etc.

I garee with the previous poster, unless the car is special then it is going to be one major headache
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Old 16.11.2009, 12:41
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?


Don't be fooled by the smiley face, the lights and many other things will need modifications, I'm sure.

If you do it, do feel free to blog your progress. It would be interesting.
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Old 16.11.2009, 12:51
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

We imported our uk car into switzerland, our particular model wasn't available here, but other version of it where, and it was still a complete (and expensive) nightmare, unless you *REALLY* love your car I wouldn't bother, sell it and lease somthing here, leasing is really quite cheap here.

this is the only honda pilot worth importing

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Old 16.11.2009, 13:07
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

I imported a Lotus Excel which I bought from Lotus in 1989 (was chief engineer's car). I had the car in France and brought it here when I moved in 1991. I had no problem getting it licenced after an inspection at the Strassenverkersamt in Zurich. They checked it out against the specification and told me to get the speedometer changed to kilometres. The inspection was not expensive and I drove the car on Wechselnummer plates that I shared with my wife's car. Insurance was also reasonable.

I also brought a BMW motorcycle that I purchased in the US. I rode it a couple of times here and then sold it for more than I paid because it was a 1000cc model that was not sold in Switzerland. The Swiss back then restricted motor size for the model to 800cc.

Things may have changed in the interim, but my experience was painless.
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Old 09.05.2012, 20:50
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

Epilogue:
For all its impossibility, it turned that marincica successfully imported the Pilot into Switzerland.
For all of you who are wondering how to do this, once the car is in Swiss vicinity, the easiest is to give the vehicle to a local Honda dealer.
The dealer worked flawlessly through the homologation/approval process (flawlessly from the second attempt, but no time nor additional expense to her). Total post-dock/pre-insurance expense was ~$1800. The bill includes fees+registration which was also done by the dealer and came via mail.

The only additional thing was insurance for which AXA Winterthur provided at a decent rate (comprehensive coverage is similar to Northeast US).
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Old 09.05.2012, 20:59
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

If anyone needs help with vehicle import from the US or any other country, feel free to send me a note. I fairly well understand the details of what is permitted and what is not beyond the usual guesswork.
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Old 09.05.2012, 22:22
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

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If anyone needs help with vehicle import from the US or any other country, feel free to send me a note. I fairly well understand the details of what is permitted and what is not beyond the usual guesswork.
I posted back in 2009 about my Honda Fit (Jazz). It passed with $4 in equipment changes. This was an 18.44 (household effects) import, however. I suspect that bringing the car in as a straight-up importation would've been a lot more involved as the rules seem to be a bit different.

Instead of having a Honda garage replace all the stuff they felt would need replacing, I found a freewheeling group of Brazilian cowboys who were willing to submit the car to testing to see what happens. It passed -- done.
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Old 01.07.2012, 17:31
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Re: Importing car from US to Switzerland - anyone has Honda Pilot?

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If anyone needs help with vehicle import from the US or any other country, feel free to send me a note. I fairly well understand the details of what is permitted and what is not beyond the usual guesswork.
Hello,

I am using a 2005 Touareg V8 in Nigeria which I imported from the US. Nearly never used it because of none-existing maintenance there. Now thinking of importing it in Switzerland (Valais) to use it during holidays.
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