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Bringing a US car into France


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Does anyone have any advice, contact details, for who I can use for bringing our US registered car into France for use at our house in the south west of the country? I know the car needs to be adapted and conform to French standards but cannot seem to find a company who can do the changes for me, issue a carte grise and so on. Putting my car on a container and shipping it from NYC to Le Havre is the easy bit!
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Getting the car here as you said is the easy bit. Getting it on the road is a long process and an expensive one. Unless you are particularly attached to the car, your life will be much simpler if you buy something over here.

That said, we used  a firm  in Paris,  Parts Plus( http://www.partsplus.fr/) Contact Mr Allanne Tel 01 39 31 13 13.

 It took a long time to get everything done, with much delay and prodding, but we got there in the end with old Fox Mustang .

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You need to obtain expert advice as to whether your particular make of US car can actually be made road legal in France/Europe, as for example it might not meet the tighter EU emission requirements. Other problems can involve changing indicators from red to yellow, as if that make of car is not imported into France the required parts such as new European yellow indicator lights might not exist.

If the model of car is sold into Europe then it should be possible, but the cost is likely to be considerable as will be the non EU source import taxes and 20% TVA (sales tax).

I recall other posters in the past complaining of the French bureaucratic nightmare registering a British car in France, which can take ages, so buying in France might be the better idea. 

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I was thinking about exporting my little Peugeot 206 convertible to the US when I made the move. A car like that over here would be seen as something quite different and neat in comparison to the hairdresser's car it's seen as in Europe.

When I started looking into it, it would have cost me a fortune in the changes needed to make it roadworthy in the US. If the EU is supposedly more strict on emissions, why would my car have needed to be changed?

Would have loved to be driving around here with a car that did 38 mpg in comparison to mine that only does 22 mpg.

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The taxes are a killer - 10% import duty on the value of the (as decided by the french customs) plus the costs of transport,etc. then 19.6% TVA on the total. That's 31.5% on a figure that you don't know in advance.

After that you have to have an individual vehicle acceptance, which would cost around 1000 euros, and has to be done near Paris. Your car would have to be transported there, as you wouldn't legally be able to use it on the road until formalities are completed. PLUS there is the cost of any required modifications,

Professional traders have given up importing through Le Havre and now do it via Holland, and get the car registered there... then import it from Europe, with lesser formalities (like importing a UK registered car).

See http://www.douane.gouv.fr/page.asp?id=30 for more info.

You might get away with some/all of the taxes if you have owned the vehicle personally for more than 6 months/1 year and it is listed with your personal belongings for the customs when you move from USA to live in France.

Unless the car is very special to you, I wouldn't bother !!

Good Luck
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Annieg sounds as though it is the thing to do if you like a challenge. Plus, are EU emission rules tougher than the US, especially California as the export of some European cars to the US were haled due to the cost of compliance.

Perhaps contacting one of the American car clubs in the UK (easier with language) to find the differences between the US and UK market models - and availability of parts such as indicator lenses (probably need to be E marked) etc.

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Not sure how big or how old your can is but unless it is a

real classic I think you are going to spend a large amount of money to end up

with a car which will be hard to sell when the time comes. On the outskirts of

Bordeaux there were three garages importing and selling US cars about 5 years

ago. I believe only one is still in business. Spare parts and servicing for US

cars is are easy in the UK. In France even a Vauxhall (UK GM brand) can be hard

work as the only import Opel (German GM brand) even though they are almost

identical nowadays.

Current French price of fuel is about $ 8.54 a US Gallon

versus say $3.95 in California. Most French people run diesel cars fuel about

15% cheaper mileage per gallon probably 20% more unless car is very modern. There

are two French language magazines about US cars,  ‘Nitro’ and ‘American Muscle Car’ , last time

I looked both had ads offering help with importation and registration.

On the outskirts of Bordeaux there are a couple of garages

importing and selling US cars. Madness-us-cars.com has a list of costs if you

click on ‘Homologation’.  Best of luck –

what is it ? - Also see.





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