Monday, October 01, 2007

The Logistics of Shipping My Car to Europe

Last week I was in New York and in this post I had hoped to enthusiastically share my experience of shipping my 2002 Mini Cooper from New Jersey to Germany. Why ship, instead of sell? Good question. Well I was one of the first 1000 owners of a Mini in the US, so I have a certain bond to my Mini. Also, I lived in New York City, so it only has about 30,000 miles on it, which is really low considering it's 7 years old. Lastly, I installed this really great audio system with iPod connections just before I left. So those are my reasons.

I am working with the folks at Planes Incorporated and according to them it should take about 30 days to go from New Jersey to the port of Bremerhaven in Germany, about 40 minutes from Hamburg. UPDATE: I've been asked to add a few more details, so here goes. The car will be shipped in its own fright container via the ocean. As for preparing the car, the fuel needs to be below 1/4 tank mark. No other prep is required. As for once I arrive in Europe, I have 30 days to have it registered, which I have chosen to do in Vienna, Austria. Since the car is made in Germany and sold on the European market, I don't expect any issues. Once I get to the next step, I will add more lessons learned.

The problem lies with the title of the car. According to the NY State DMV a lien is on the car, when it fact its been paid off for quite some time. I spoke with the folks at Mini Financing and they confirmed, but alas an audio confirmation doesn't work in the world of logistics. So I had to wait for a notarized letter to arrive with the confirmation, which didn't arrive in time - once again foiled by poor logistics planning. Now my Mini is in Queens, NY and I am currently lining up to have a 3rd party take it to NJ. After it arrives in Germany I'll be flying in and driving it back to Vienna - about 900 miles. Stay tuned.

15 comments:

Eric said...

Interesting article. I wonder if you could expound upon what you had to do to prepare the vehicle for shipment in terms of removal of fluids like fuel and oil, disconnection of battery, etc.? Also what mode are you sending the car? Sounds like ocean. Are you having it containerized or put on a Ro/Ro ship like ACL?

What European regulations will you need to follow or paperwork to secure once you are in Europe? 7 years old is old for a car in Europe. What inspections are required?

This post could be very educational with a few more details!

Eric

Christopher Sciacca said...

Thanks Eric. Good points. I just added a few more tips and I'll add more as I learn them.

MAJORmalfunktion said...

Good post. If/when you encounter the inspection on your Mini concerning the regulations and requirements for specific automobile safety and required equipment for the Europe or country (presumably Austria, for you), please let your readers know how that works.
Do you make the equipment modifications in the US, or wait until your Mini arrives in Europe?
What are the required mods (lights, etc)and are the requirements county or all europe specific?

Christopher Sciacca said...

Thanks Major. I'll be making the modifications at a Mini dealership in Brno, Czech Republic, since it will have a more favorable exchange rate. As far as I know, I just need to get different headlights, but I'll know more when I take the car in and I will certainly report on it. I hope to have to car picked up this week. Stay tuned.

Chad said...

How did this turn out for you? My family and I are moving to the Brno area soon and I have a similar delima.

Christopher Sciacca said...

Well, its a big pain in the ass. If you call the Mini dealership in Brno, they can put you in touch with a guy that will take care of everything for you for about $1000. That would be the way to go. If your car is old and American, you may not want to even bother.

Eviotis said...

Hello Christopher, My family spends about 3 mo. in CZ, and a car is a must. We wanted to bring a 2-3 year old Dodge minivan but we were told of "certain changes" needed. It was not explained fully what exactly is required to make the vehicle CZ road worthy. I am very apprehensive of the mechanics, as the price tends to change with the customer. I thought also just leaving it as a tourists car (we also travel to Greece). Are you aware of the gov. agency that can give me info to these questions? ny other suggestions?
Good luck with your car
Eviotis

Christopher Sciacca said...

Eviotis: It will need to comply with EU regulations, which can include changing the headlights and getting filters for emissions. You'll also need to get is tested after for emissions. There is a guy that is a contractor at the BMW/Mini dealership in Brno, CZ that offers a service to ship your car and to prep it. It's about $2000 and you'll need to speak Czech. I gave up and recently sold me car in the US. I'll use the money to buy a new car here.

drin said...

hi Christopher and all the others, this is a very interesting article, and i want to do the same thing but can you tell me which company made the transportation of the Mini can you give me a web page or something?

Christopher Sciacca said...

Well, I never had the car shipped. It become too much of a headache with all of the paperwork. The company that was going to handle it was Mayflower. They are a pretty big logistics provider.

Signora P said...

We live part of the year in Tuscany in the Alpe Apuane. I would like to ship my 2001 Subaru Forester from the US to some port in Europe--Livorno would be closest. Previously have rented a car or done the buy -back program with Peugeot which, by the way, is great--but I would like to have a car I can leave there. Is it worth it? Does anyone have a similar experience? Am I better off finding a used car in Italy?
Thanks--Signora P

Christopher Sciacca said...

I'd say buy something local. Unless if you speak Italian you should be fine. It's not difficult to import your car into the EU, it just requires a lot of time and patience and local know how.

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michael said...

I brought an rv winnebago from fl to ireland where i live, dont waste your money changing lights etc only difference is the serial numbers to identify replacement parts. The lights will not be an issiu. In ireland ther is plenty of us vehicles and as long as they have deflectors stickers on the head lights it is not a problem, deflector stickers are only needed in ireland and uk as we drive on the wrong side of the road, or left side of road,

michael said...

I brought an rv winnebago from fl to ireland where i live, dont waste your money changing lights etc only difference is the serial numbers to identify replacement parts. The lights will not be an issiu. In ireland ther is plenty of us vehicles and as long as they have deflectors stickers on the head lights it is not a problem, deflector stickers are only needed in ireland and uk as we drive on the wrong side of the road, or left side of road,