Monday, January 07, 2008

The Dream is Over. Mini is not going to make it.

Back in October, when I was hopeful, ignorant and optimistic I blogged about shipping my 2002 Mini Cooper to Europe from the US. I had a shipper lined up I had the paperwork ready to go and I was all set to transfer the funds - when reality set in. Here is the collapse of my dream in order:

1. The shipper doesn't take credit cards, so I had to wire transfer the funds. With a price of $1300 you would think wiring wouldn't be a problem. Well Citibank capped the limit on wire transfers at $500 per day. Which means three transfers, which cost $50 a pop, which bumps my budget up another $150. Not a lot, but the start of what was to come.

2. As you know I live in Brno, Czech Republic, but apparently car theft is quite prevalent here, so my plan was to register the car in Vienna, Austria where I am on the weekends. I met with an insurance company and was given a list of requirements that I would need to get insurance. This list included several documents that included EU certificates that I would need to acquire before the car comes to Austria. But seeing that the car needs to be in Austria to get the certificates posed a bit of a problem. Basically, I had to risk driving the car from Germany to Austria without insurance and without a license plate. Not to mention getting the car tested for the certificates would cost about $300. I could get temp insurance in Germany, but I would need to make an appointment and get all of the certificates for Germany pay the $150, which would then have to be replicated in Austria. The logistics alternative was to put the car on a train, but that would cost $1500.

3. Point three is the kicker. I was always told that taxes would be around $300 at the port. Well after speaking to the port, taxes are actually much higher. The calculation is simple. Basically the tax is 10% of the value of the car when it was new - so roughly $1700. The formula here is silly. I mean if I ship a priceless 1966 Stingray Corvette, which sold for $8000 new 40 years ago, I would only pay $800 for taxes, when the car is worth $150,000? Huh?

So that brings the cost up to about $4000, not to mention all kinds of paperwork hassles. So plan B is to now try and get BMW/Mini in the US to trade in the car and then sell me a new one in Germany, where I can apply the trade in amount. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

In the words of Charlie Brown, "Oh, Good Grief"!


Big S said...

Christopher - Got your blog address from Jim Rice at MIT. I like your layout and style of writing -- very accessible and humorous! I'd love it if you took a look at my blog -- also on supply chains, mostly focused on security risks and resiliency. It's at I welcome your comments, and look forward to seeing more on your blog!

Christopher Sciacca said...

Thanks for your comments. I'll check out your site as well.

Bernhard & Shelley Suppan said...

Great Blog. Your posting saved me some headaches. I am Austrian, and we are planning to move back to Vienna (or possibly to Bratislava with lower cost of living). We were planning to ship our vehicle over, but we might change our mind.

Christopher Sciacca said...

Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog. Glad my grief is paying off. : )