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      10-17-2008, 07:19 AM   #1
Atny286
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Question US Specs Car regstered in Germany?

I will move to Holland in March 2009 and want to bring my M as well.
Now the Dutch BMW Dealership tells me that registering an US Specs car in Holland is not possible without significant adjustments to the car. Also Servicing is not possible due to US software...

As EU law is equal in German and Holland, I am wondering if any US Specs cars are Registered in Germany without significant adjustments.

Also, please inform me on servicing. I don't mind driving the Autobahn to have my car serviced in Germany. Ideally anywhere within 300km of PLZ 47533. Best if you can share your German dealer contact...

Thanks a Lot!!
A.
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      10-17-2008, 08:36 AM   #2
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You'll find some info on there for moving to Netherlands.

http://www.expatax.nl/Customexpatax.htm
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      10-17-2008, 08:49 AM   #3
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I'm not sure if this would apply to you. I'm stationed in Germany and I brought my vehicle over. Military is however covered by SOFA agreement. That means that we don't have to make any modifications to be within their regulations. If vehicle is 2006 or older than you just need safety inspection to register the vehicle, and get regular German plates, but you have 2008 so should be fine (in Germany at least). We also have civilians working for us and they don't have to do any modifications to their cars. They also register vehicles here. I would think if you're moving because of your job, then you shouldn't do anything to the car.
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      10-17-2008, 08:52 AM   #4
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E92's in Germany that are supose to be shipped to the U.S are designed to some certain U.S spacifications. I order for that U.S made car to go back it might need adjusting some thing or it may not. BMW.de would know best if you shoot them off an e-mail. I know if you want to import a car from the U.S into Canada. You must change the day time saving lights to be on at all times and the dash to read Km/h rather then mph...
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      10-17-2008, 08:53 AM   #5
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As for servicing your vehicle, there are tons of Military Sales dealers that service US spec'd cars. Here are some links. Look up their contact info, they will direct you where to service your car.

http://www.pentagoncarsales.com/bmw/

http://www.bavarianmotorcars.de/cars/bmw/home_bmw.html
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      10-17-2008, 09:12 AM   #6
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This is wierd. I would talk to another Holland dealer or find a BMW representative.

I went through BMW military sales and took Euro delivery of my US spec e36 M3. No changes had to be made before shipping to the US so driving a US car in Germany/Europe made no difference. I don't remember the dealer I took delivery from but I can get that info when I get home from the office. I do remember doing the break-in service at Buchner AG BMW.

If it turns out you can't ship the car over, for some strange reason, I'd sell the current car. Buy a new car while you're in Europe through military sales and you'll probably end up on with extra money. This way you can spec out your car exactly how you want it and even have the military ship over a beater while you wait for the new car to be delivered. Trust me, there's nothing like Euro delivery. Zero miles on the odometer, baby!!


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      10-17-2008, 12:03 PM   #7
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For most EU countries, you usually (but I'm sure there are exceptions) need to be able to fall under some exception as to vehicle license/registration for a permanent registration of the car (it could be military, through a SOFA as mentioned, or diplomatic status, or through an international organization, through a HQS agreement).

If you don't have that, you will need (usually) to comply with that country's vehicle safety specifications for permanent registration (for a temporary use, I think you can get away with a US-spec car for about a year in some EU countries, like Germany, but you will have to take back out before then).

To permantly register the car, you may have to make minor modifications, that may however be quite costly for a new car. I know in some countries I've been posted to, to register a US car you outside of status you may have to replace things like the glass (!) in the windshield and windows (long time ago)--this sometimes became a problem if you wanted to sell the car to a national of that country, but sometimes people were willing to do that to buy a Corvette for example. U.S.-spec lights used to be a problem in some places as well. So much of what BMW makes today is worldwide compatible, BUT, that may not mean much when you go to register if the VIN does not come up as a European specification vehicle. Just hope Dutch bureacracy is more flexible than others and are able to deal with that.

A European BMW dealer should be able to service the car without a problem for the most part (they may have issues with telematics and the like), but since you won't have the maintenance package there (BMW in Europe won't most likely honor the BMW USA plan), you may well be better off going to a good independent shop for a lot of work. I'd highly recommend sending maintenance items in whatever household shipment you have (esp if duty-free), as parts/oil etc are much more expensive here (but if you have duty-free mailing privileges, less of a problem), not to mention of course, gasoline!. Also keep in mind that you also will likely not have a BMW warranty for Europe, as I don't think the BMW USA/NA warranty will apply in Europe (in any case the warranty here is two years/unlimited miles, so it may almost be a moot point).

Hope this helps; you might also want to call the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington; there may be someone there who may have better answers specific to the Netherlands. On the bright side, Zandvoort is a great place to track the car.
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      10-17-2008, 12:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MVEED3 View Post
This is wierd. I would talk to another Holland dealer or find a BMW representative.

I went through BMW military sales and took Euro delivery of my US spec e36 M3. No changes had to be made before shipping to the US so driving a US car in Germany/Europe made no difference. I don't remember the dealer I took delivery from but I can get that info when I get home from the office. I do remember doing the break-in service at Buchner AG BMW.

If it turns out you can't ship the car over, for some strange reason, I'd sell the current car. Buy a new car while you're in Europe through military sales and you'll probably end up on with extra money. This way you can spec out your car exactly how you want it and even have the military ship over a beater while you wait for the new car to be delivered. Trust me, there's nothing like Euro delivery. Zero miles on the odometer, baby!!


Allen

Since your car was a US spec model it makes sense that no changes were made before shipping it back to the states. If you're in the military a US spec car can be driven in Europe without modifications but if you're not, you might have to make some changes to meet the European standards.
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      10-17-2008, 01:50 PM   #9
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Ok....I call bshit.....I imported a US Spec M3 to Estonia (EU). The car meets all European regulations. The only thing you have to do is add euro light switch to enable rear fog light. For smog and noise test you have to get a certificate from BMW and that is usually done by companies that import cars.

Your dealer must be jealous or something. There is absolutely no reason why a US Spec M3 cant be imported, used or serviced in Europe. If you have any questions shoot me an email fred@kaasik.ee
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      10-17-2008, 05:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DamirM3 View Post
You'll find some info on there for moving to Netherlands.

http://www.expatax.nl/Customexpatax.htm
Thanks great website!
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      10-17-2008, 06:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E90M3CDFR View Post
For most EU countries, you usually (but I'm sure there are exceptions) need to be able to fall under some exception as to vehicle license/registration for a permanent registration of the car (it could be military, through a SOFA as mentioned, or diplomatic status, or through an international organization, through a HQS agreement).

If you don't have that, you will need (usually) to comply with that country's vehicle safety specifications for permanent registration (for a temporary use, I think you can get away with a US-spec car for about a year in some EU countries, like Germany, but you will have to take back out before then).

To permantly register the car, you may have to make minor modifications, that may however be quite costly for a new car. I know in some countries I've been posted to, to register a US car you outside of status you may have to replace things like the glass (!) in the windshield and windows (long time ago)--this sometimes became a problem if you wanted to sell the car to a national of that country, but sometimes people were willing to do that to buy a Corvette for example. U.S.-spec lights used to be a problem in some places as well. So much of what BMW makes today is worldwide compatible, BUT, that may not mean much when you go to register if the VIN does not come up as a European specification vehicle. Just hope Dutch bureacracy is more flexible than others and are able to deal with that.

A European BMW dealer should be able to service the car without a problem for the most part (they may have issues with telematics and the like), but since you won't have the maintenance package there (BMW in Europe won't most likely honor the BMW USA plan), you may well be better off going to a good independent shop for a lot of work. I'd highly recommend sending maintenance items in whatever household shipment you have (esp if duty-free), as parts/oil etc are much more expensive here (but if you have duty-free mailing privileges, less of a problem), not to mention of course, gasoline!. Also keep in mind that you also will likely not have a BMW warranty for Europe, as I don't think the BMW USA/NA warranty will apply in Europe (in any case the warranty here is two years/unlimited miles, so it may almost be a moot point).

Hope this helps; you might also want to call the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington; there may be someone there who may have better answers specific to the Netherlands. On the bright side, Zandvoort is a great place to track the car.
This is why I say, Safety Rules are BS!
The same car will not be accepted for some people and will be accepted for others... Thanks for the Info!
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      10-17-2008, 06:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MVEED3 View Post
This is wierd. I would talk to another Holland dealer or find a BMW representative.
I spoke with the AfterSales Manager of BMW Holland, so that's quite high up in the organization... Could be Dutch? Car is built in Germany, so must be serviced in Germany, right?
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      10-17-2008, 06:09 PM   #13
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Thank you all for the replies!

I will send the servicing request to BMW KundenBetreuung in Germany and see what they come up with.

A.
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      10-18-2008, 10:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atny286 View Post
I spoke with the AfterSales Manager of BMW Holland, so that's quite high up in the organization... Could be Dutch? Car is built in Germany, so must be serviced in Germany, right?
This just doesn't add up. BMW programs all of the ECUs with the same format. I think you should find a BMWNA rep that can go through the proper channels for the information. Maybe Holland needs to hear officially that they are responsible for US designated cars. Let us know what you find out and good luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny@JleviSW
Since your car was a US spec model it makes sense that no changes were made before shipping it back to the states. If you're in the military a US spec car can be driven in Europe without modifications but if you're not, you might have to make some changes to meet the European standards.
My point exactly. OK, I see what you're saying but why would European standards be different from one person to the next when it comes to safety? Military personnel and their POVs aren't exempt from European law.

All changes that I remembered were reverse. US DOT required the special glass, different bumpers, safety bars within the doors, and our dreaded emmisions equipment. That's why I never brought back the Dinan 5er. Man, do I have loads of memories in that car.


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      10-19-2008, 01:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atny286 View Post
I will move to Holland in March 2009 and want to bring my M as well.
Now the Dutch BMW Dealership tells me that registering an US Specs car in Holland is not possible without significant adjustments to the car. Also Servicing is not possible due to US software...

As EU law is equal in German and Holland, I am wondering if any US Specs cars are Registered in Germany without significant adjustments.

Also, please inform me on servicing. I don't mind driving the Autobahn to have my car serviced in Germany. Ideally anywhere within 300km of PLZ 47533. Best if you can share your German dealer contact...

Thanks a Lot!!
A.
I agree with some of the other threads. I'm retired military living in Germany but still with US plates. However I looked into if I have to register with the Germans and it was only a few things that would have to be modified on my M3 and my 328. And all of those have to do with the lights. Like the other threads mentioned, if you are working for the US Gov with ID Card etc... or military going into Holland you do not have to meet the local country regulations for registering. Yes safety and all of that kind of stuff you have to meet, but that is managed by the US Forces Europe (USAREUR). So if you are moving as a government employee or as a military service member dont worry. I would not worry if you are coming as a civilian either. Just to be able to drive your M3 the way it was built to be driven is worth what ever the cost is to convert the lights etc... smile.
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      10-19-2008, 04:01 PM   #16
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This is what I got in the email the other day:

Mr A.

An US Specs car driven and serviced in Europe will cause a lot of problems.
Technically, it is NOT possible to meet European Standards with an US Specs car. Also, your car does not meet the European Certification Regulations and therefore cannot be registered by the DMV ("RDW") in Holland.

As the US Software is completely different from European software, BMW Netherlands will not be able to service the car.

Unfortunately, BMW Netherlands cannot be part of any service related to your US Specs car.

I am really sorry.

BMW Holland.

PS: No response from BMW Germany yet.
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      10-20-2008, 10:57 PM   #17
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A.,

This indeed one strange response you have received from BMW Netherlands! I mean, a colleague of mine who was an expat' here for several years went back to live in Switzerland and he took his A6 Allroad back with him and had no problems have it registered there. Same token with another colleague who went to Europe for an expat' assignment of 3 years and he took his 328i with him... and the only change he had to implement was to get rid of the amber running lights... and that was it. I suspect that may be a lot of people are able to bring their cars back these days so may be the European dealers (or even BMW) are getting protective of their local markets.

Keep us posted on the response from BMW Deutschland though!
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      10-21-2008, 05:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTROIS View Post
A.,
...I suspect that may be a lot of people are able to bring their cars back these days so may be the European dealers (or even BMW) are getting protective of their local markets.

You may have a point there. We are getting our US spec 2009 E93 via military sales for about $68K (US). There is a new European spec'ed 2008 E90, with what looks to be a little less equipment, at the local German BMW dealer for about $68K (Euro).

So for a "cheaper model" with less equipment and the prior MY, the cost is significantly more, both in terms or base price and the exchange rate. Granted, you have to be a US DOD ID card holder to purchase via military sales and it will come in US spec form only, but the cost difference is there to make it advantageous for the manufacturer to draw a difference (artificial or not) between the two models, based on intended markets.

In regards to service, I have not heard of any horror stories in getting adequate service for US spec'ed cars via the German BMW dealership network. Heck we had warranty work done on our Toyota over here and they don't even sell the model outside of North America! We had to wait for parts to be shipped in, but it was a noj-issue for warranty or worked performed. My soon to be winter only Honda CRV has been serviced by the German Honda dealer, despite is being US spec as well. So something does not seem to fully add up.
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      10-21-2008, 07:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTROIS View Post
A.,

This indeed one strange response you have received from BMW Netherlands! I mean, a colleague of mine who was an expat' here for several years went back to live in Switzerland and he took his A6 Allroad back with him and had no problems have it registered there. Same token with another colleague who went to Europe for an expat' assignment of 3 years and he took his 328i with him... and the only change he had to implement was to get rid of the amber running lights... and that was it. I suspect that may be a lot of people are able to bring their cars back these days so may be the European dealers (or even BMW) are getting protective of their local markets.

Keep us posted on the response from BMW Deutschland though!
Most independent dealers I asked in Holland, said BMW Netherlands BS'ing me...
First of all, US Specs are sold in Holland to US Citizens in Holland, those cars must be serviced under the BMWNA warranty in Holland (only valid for US Citizens: WTF???!)
Then, registering the car only needs fog lights (rear), turn off the amber front lights, that's it. Officially a couple more things, because "E" instead of DOT compliance, but DMV in Holland does accept DOT compliance as well.

However, servicing could be more expensive as US software is sometimes need for reading the key: changing oil, brakes, tires, should not be a problem, but removing speed limiter, adding PDC and have an EU IDrive is a problem.

So, importing and registering is no problem, some difficult maintaince could be getting you back to Regensburg, or the Military BMW Service in Germany...

Thanks

PS: I heard that 30% of the 'expensive' cars in Holland are imported from either Germany or the USA: long live the Luxury Tax @ 43% (next to the 19% Sales Tax)
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      10-22-2008, 09:41 AM   #20
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Now I got an official letter from BMW AG in Munich:

All BMW dealers in Europe have been advised not to service US Specs car, as the electronic systems and software of the US Specs car are very different.
Alteration of any component will not be supported by BMW.
...
If you do want to take the car with you, please contact the Dutch DMV.
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      10-22-2008, 03:23 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atny286 View Post
Now I got an official letter from BMW AG in Munich:

All BMW dealers in Europe have been advised not to service US Specs car, as the electronic systems and software of the US Specs car are very different.
Alteration of any component will not be supported by BMW.
...
If you do want to take the car with you, please contact the Dutch DMV.
What kind of letter did you receive from BMW Munich???? Dude, some one is blowing smoke at you. BMW has Military Car Sales through out Europe. There are hundreds of military folks and GS civilians that have purchase BMW's through BMW Military Sales. I can't speak for everyone else, but I get my car serviced at a German dealership with no problems.

Last edited by rcornelius; 10-24-2008 at 06:32 AM.
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      07-21-2009, 07:50 AM   #22
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I drive a 2008 335xi in the netherlands. i made two changes before bringing the car to europe: changed the light switch in the dashboard to european switch so rear fog lights work, and expanded the security package so the car would meet Dutch insurance standards (SCM certificate).

the BMW dealers will service the car just fine, but they do not want to touch any of the electronics or software.

I'm currently looking to see if there are any dealers in Germany who can simply replace hardware and software so the car becomes euro-spec from the ground up.

Any ideas anyone?
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