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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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Old 08-12-2004, 02:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I am going to live in Europe (France) for the next year. While there I want to consider buying a 1999-2001 540i 6-spd car. If I find a Euro-spec model, what will bringing it back to the States entail? Can I buy parts and do it myself? If not, who converts these cars? What DOT regs apply, etc... I am sure that some of you have done this. Any help for me? Thanks!

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Looking for a used 540i spd (or even an M5...?) 1999-2001. Prefer Orient Blue.
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Old 08-14-2004, 12:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Any thoughts out there...?
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Looking for a used 540i spd (or even an M5...?) 1999-2001. Prefer Orient Blue.
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Old 08-15-2004, 06:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Why France???? Come to Sunny England instead.

I don't know what the import duties are like in the US (high I think at present) but the export duties from Europe are likely to be high.

Everything in America is half the price of everything in euroland anyway - buy one when you get home in the states for a fraction of the price.
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Old 08-15-2004, 09:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, you will be dealing with several issues here:
1. Must meet DOT standards i.e. KM to Miles speedometer, side markers, chasis serial number location. In Europe under the hood tag while in the US must see numbers through windshield.
2. Must meet EPA standards i.e Leaded gas Vs. unleaded must have catalyst converter however if the car is older than 5 years it will be waived.
3. Must pay US customs on vehicle. this is not to be confused with your state taxes at the motor vehicle in your home state. Custom Duties are paid to Washington D.C (federal customs) that is to say: certain percentage based on how much you paid for the car. your receipt will be the prove or your bill of laden issued by the shipping company.
4. Of course shipping from Europe can range from $1500-$2500 depending on the method of shipping. i.e. on top of the deck of the ship (salt, dirt grease, dents etc)or inside a container which better, cleaner and of course more expensive.
5. you will have to hire a shipping/customs broker at the port when the car arrives at the US port. This broker will post a bond on your behalf to make sure the car will be converted to US standards.
5. You cannot obtain a title for this car unless it is modified and the title will not be issued from those local MV agancies in your state. the first title will be issued at the main offices in the capital of your state, subsequest renewals will be normal.

6. All in all you talking $2000-$3000 for DOT modifications only, $3000-$5500 for Both DOT and EPA. remember you don't have to do EPA on cars older than 5 years.

7. They may or may notl impose a rule where you cannot sell the car for the first 2 years. New Jersey likes to do just that. Even if you sell the car the transaction will be rejected by DMV's computers for the first 2 years.

But this is what I would do since you going to be in France: jump on the train (are you in for an exciting ride? Ok then and make sure to ride the train called ICE. It does non stop trips to Germany at a speed of 300KM+ per hour; in fact it is white in color and hence ICE check it out on the internet!)

Assuming you do the trip to Germany when buying a BMW ask the sellers/dealers etc for a european car modified to the US specs in Germany, it will be ready and guaranteed in the US. have in mind that European BMW/Mercedes have different serial numbers than US cars ; this will elliminate parts problems at the dealers here, otherwise for older cars you will be forced to buy what they call gray market parts.

Of course you must double check the above info. with the appropriate agencies in your state. I went through the above procedures when I imported a car from Germany but rules and regulations are constantly changing so someone can get your money while protecting North American BMW. Good luck and let me know how you do. Have a safe trip.
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