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Importing a car from the USA: the ultimate guide

Have you always dreamed of buying a 1966 Ford Mustang? The most economical solution is to import from the United States. But beware of scams and hidden fees that add up! To avoid unpleasant surprises, we have put together the ultimate guide to importing a car from the USA.

There are many advantages to importing a car from the USA, starting with an abundant supply and better prices. But this operation can very quickly turn into a nightmare if you are poorly informed, especially since the procedure is often laborious. To avoid incompetent and malicious importers, or exorbitant fees, we advise you to follow our advice.

How to find the American car of your dreams?

The first question you need to ask yourself is where to look to find the American car of your dreams. Between professionals and individuals, there are thousands of more or less reliable sellers on the other side of the Atlantic. To make sure you don’t make a mistake and avoid scams, we have selected five must-see sites for you:

If you want a more detailed list of the best listing sites in the USA, click here.

Once you’ve found the perfect fit on one of these sites, be sure to check the seriousness of the ad. For this, you can take a look at the comments and reviews left about the seller. We also advise you to do a Google search to confirm the authenticity of the address they are using. And above all, do not hesitate to contact him, if possible by phone. At least you’ll have proof that a real person is behind the ad that caught your attention.

To avoid falling into the traps set by scammers of all kinds, we strongly suggest that you call on a company specializing in the import of American vehicles such as EASY IMPORT AUTO. If you have any doubts about the reliability of an offer, or if you have trouble communicating with the seller, do not hesitate to seek the assistance of experts in the field. They will be able to contact the seller directly, verify his identity, the seriousness of his advertisement, and discuss with him the terms of transport of the car.

How to import a car from the USA to France without getting scammed?

Once you’ve found the perfect match, you’ll have to do some checks before pulling out the cheque book. Once again, the assistance of a specialized company such as EASY IMPORT AUTO is strongly recommended so as not to fall into the traps set by unscrupulous dealers. In particular, it will check in detail the identity of the seller and the seriousness of his ad, but not only…

If you choose EASY IMPORT AUTO to support you in your purchase, here are all the services that will be offered to you to avoid unpleasant surprises:

  • Exchanges with the seller in the USA and verification of their identity
  • Check the vehicle’s official documents (in particular the “title”, which more or less corresponds to our registration certificate), its history on Carfax…
  • Initiation of the purchase procedure, with the issuance of the “bill of sale”
  • Communication of the Proforma invoice with the total cost of the car, including logistics
  • Payment by bank transfer of the amount required to complete the transaction
  • Payment from the seller by FedEX mailing (acknowledgment of receipt + signature) of a certified US cashier’s check to the seller
  • Repatriation of the vehicle to the EASY IMPORT AUTO warehouse

Companies that specialize in importing American cars such as EASY IMPORT AUTO also offer a complete inspection of the vehicle before purchase as an option. Regardless of where the vehicle is located in the United States, experts travel to inspect the car in detail. Once this step is completed, the buyer receives dozens of photos and videos of the different parts of the vehicle to ensure that it corresponds to the offer posted online.

For each vehicle, EASY IMPORT AUTO’s experts check:

  • History of damage and accidents
  • The condition of the bodywork and paintwork
  • The presence of scratches, rust or other damage
  • The condition of the underbody
  • The condition of the tires and rims
  • The condition of the windshield and windows
  • The operation of the lights, air conditioning and electrical system
  • The condition of the tapestries, the leathers…
  • The condition of the engine
  • The proper functioning of the steering, suspension, brakes, exhaust system…
  • The presence of leaks
  • Fluid levels

To avoid any unpleasant surprises, they also carry out road driving tests.

How to bring your car back from the USA to France?

Once the vehicle has been inspected, EASY IMPORT AUTO takes care of the repatriation by truck to one of its warehouses, then loading it into a container for sea transport. For the more cautious, it is possible to purchase marine insurance at this stage of the process.

After crossing the Atlantic, EASY IMPORT AUTO receives and makes the vehicle available to the buyer in a secure warehouse in the port of Le Havre (France) or Antwerp (Belgium). It also takes care of the paperwork essential for the customs clearance of the car (customs file, payment of import tax). And for those who prefer to have it delivered to your home, know that it is also possible if you live in France, Belgium, Luxembourg or Switzerland.

In detail, here are the different steps taken on each side of the Atlantic to import a car from the USA (duration of about 30 days in total):

When shipping to the U.S.:

    • Vehicle Inspection, Detailed Photos & Videos
    • Container loading
    • Load Tracking (Marine Insurance Optional)
    • U.S. Customs Record

When receiving in France:

    • Vehicle Inspection, Detailed Photos & Videos
    • Unloading
    • Secure storage
    • Customs clearance


How to homologate in France your car imported from the USA?

American cars are in principle designed according to the standards in force across the Atlantic, which do not necessarily correspond to ours. As a result, to be homologated in France, most vehicles must undergo some modifications in order to comply with local regulations. If you want to do this yourself, you’ll need to find out about the different changes that need to be made. And believe us, you’re going to have to be patient…

If you don’t want to go through the hassle, you should know that EASY IMPORT AUTO offers a complete homologation service. It includes:

  • Modifications of all elements that do not comply with European standards
  • Tests at the UTAC (Technical Union of the Automobile, Motorcycle and Cycle), essential for the approval of non-compliant imported vehicles
  • Technical inspection
  • Inspection by the services of the Regional and Interdepartmental Directorate for the Environment and Energy (DRIEE) or the Regional Directorate for the Environment, Planning and Housing (DREAL)
  • Issuance of Individual Typeapproval (ITR)

But by the way, how much does it all cost?

Let’s take the example of importing a 1966 Ford Mustang into France with EASY IMPORT AUTO.

Purchase price from the US seller: 12,096 euros

    • Exchanges with the seller, purchase and verification: 350 euros
    • Repatriation by truck to the warehouse in Miami: 998 euros
    • Sea transport by container: 1390 euros
    • Insurance (3.02% purchase value): 365 euros
    • On-site technical expertise (optional): €600
    • Availability in the warehouse in Le Havre: 400 euros
    • Customs file: 90 euros
    • Import taxes (5.5%): 665 euros

Total including all import fees and taxes: €16,954

It should be noted that for classic cars, it is necessary to add the costs of the FFVE (French Federation of Vintage Vehicles) file necessary for registration, amounting to 110 euros. And for those who would opt for home delivery, you should know that it is done by quote for a cost of 0.90 cents per kilometer.

If you still have questions about importing an American car, here are the ten most frequently asked questions to EASY IMPORT AUTO.

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