Choosing a Vehicle to take from Alaska to Finland...

How to? Read other's experiences. Find useful advice on shipping, immigration, residence permits, visas and more.
Geri Bush
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Location: Klaukkala

More things to think about.

Post by Geri Bush » Wed Oct 15, 2003 12:37 pm

-If you are not here on tourist status you will HAVE TO purchase Finnish libility insurance.

-I shipped a Jeep here and was not allowed to ship any possesion in the vehicle. Double check on that. They even suggested I take the plate off so they won't get stolen. I know people who have lost plates in shipping. I was allowed to drive with my US plates for 90 days, if I remember correctly. Then it had to pass a tough inspection and emmission before receiving Finnish plates.

-Gas is expensive here. It was cheaper for me to take the bus than drive.

-4x4 wasn't so fun here. The roads are plowed clean before there is any snow to play in. Boring!!! But that's how everyone can drive the little VW.

-Big truck means fewer parking places. (Except in the winter, when you can park on the snow pile. :D )

-Toyota Hiace and VW vans are easy to find here. Works great to throw a mattress in the back. And a Webasto.

-If you ship, it over and stay here for less than 3 years you will have to pay Finnish tax to sell it or ship it home.



More things to think about.

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dusty_bin
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Post by dusty_bin » Wed Oct 15, 2003 5:28 pm

Geri, good point about the shipping of the vehicle. When I came from the UK, I just used the normal roll on roll off ferry. From the states the situation is different. I bought the car over specifically to carrythe stuff I would need for the year. The fact that it lasted longer than one winter was a bonus. In the case of those from the US this option does not exist. It perhaps makes more sense to bring the stuff by air (not as excess baggage though) and leva te car behind. I thought all cars had a whole year here before needing to be properly imported. I am not surprised at the need for the Finnish indemnity insurance, it makes sense, at least everyone knows that the coverage really exists and will be paid against claims.


Caroline
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Post by Caroline » Sat Oct 18, 2003 4:18 am

I think I'll jump in on this CarTalk opportunity to seek advice myself. Vehicle importation seems to be the only topic of life in Finland that confuses me regardless of how much advice I read on it. I figure that since I've just established a new business in Finland, going through a bereavement period, and apart from my DH again for a short while, I've earned the right to ask a silly question :mrgreen:


My DH and I are in the market for another used car, and we had always considered the possibility of buying an American one whose value would be higher when imported to Finland. My younger brother is a Chevy enthusiast who trades used cars as a part-time occupation, so we have easy access to advice and networking. We currently have a sputtering, wheezy, German-made Ford Escort which no longer suits our needs. We've done some car shopping in Oulu as well.


At the moment I'm in Massachusetts, and have the chance to get a 1989 Chevy Caprice sedan with about 140,000 miles on it, excellent condition with no serious rust, for an asking price of 2,157 euros (some bargaining is expected). The owner is a former teacher of mine, whose husband takes meticulous care of the many Chevys that he owns, so this particular car has been treated like a precious heirloom. I saw it for the first time today, but have not taken it for a test drive yet.


There are a number of people in Oulu and around Finland who drive such cars on a daily basis (even the station wagons), so if it's true that the cost and hassle of importing one outweighs the risk factor and cost of owning one in Finland, then I wonder why they are so popular......especially since I know for a fact that at least a few Finnish owners have not even been to the States, so they were not able to prove ownership of the car outside of Finland for the 6-month period.

Basically, I keep hearing a lot of conflicting advice about importing such cars....does this sound like a golden opportunity or a big box of troubles? Or does it depend on how we choose to view the situation?
Former expat in Finland, now living in New Hampshire USA.

Remembah whea ya pahked ya cah!


Tom and Jerry

Post by Tom and Jerry » Sat Oct 18, 2003 10:46 am

Caroline wrote: At the moment I'm in Massachusetts, and have the chance to get a 1989 Chevy Caprice sedan with about 140,000 miles on it, excellent condition with no serious rust, for an asking price of 2,157 euros (some bargaining is expected). The owner is a former teacher of mine, whose husband takes meticulous care of the many Chevys that he owns, so this particular car has been treated like a precious heirloom. I saw it for the first time today, but have not taken it for a test drive yet.
But it!
Caroline wrote:

Basically, I keep hearing a lot of conflicting advice about importing such cars....does this sound like a golden opportunity or a big box of troubles? Or does it depend on how we choose to view the situation?
You make one error. I have never met anyone arguing in a logical way after they bought such a car. Those guys with the CV vans, or whatever, are just crazy! 8)

If you think about it logically, you have to go to Russia, buy a Lada there and then import it to Finland! That saves money! :twisted: [/quote]


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Hank W.
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Post by Hank W. » Sat Oct 18, 2003 11:14 am

Caroline wrote:There are a number of people in Oulu and around Finland who drive such cars on a daily basis (even the station wagons),
Yes, because in the "good old days" a station wagon with a 'solid' back seat was a 'pick-up' and 'pick-ups' were tax-free. Ever seen one of those Camaros with a truckbed and a 80km tag? No such loopholes any more. And who says the people have been to the USA to buy their cars? You can get gasguzzlers for peanuts in Germany - and they are already EU-specification so no need to take it to the garage and reinstall half the equipment.

http://www.mobile.de

Chevrolet Caprice Kategorie: Limousine

EUR 2.100

Daten:
140.000 km, 116 kW (158 PS), EZ: 03/83, grau, 4/5 Türen, Benzin,

Besonderheiten:
Klimaanlage, Automatik, Zentralverriegelung, Lederausstattung, Leichtmetallfelgen, Anhängerkupplung, el. Fensterheber
Beschreibung:
Chevy Caprice, mattgrau gerollt, Leichtmetallfelgen, HIGH-Jacker Sportlenkrad Auspuff seitlich vor dem Hinterrad 07er Kennzeichen möglich




You can import a car, but it'll cost you.

- Regardless of what the car costs in the USA the price of the car is assessed what a similar Caprice costs in Finland. Well, they don't have too many of them, so they'll find a "most equivalent". Posh imports like Chevrolet say Volvo, BMW or Mercedes-Benz. I'd say stetson method 3000 - 3500 euros. Tax is about 1500 -1900 then incl VAT.

car in USA, 2200 + freight 1500 + tax 1500 + passing Finnish specifications 500 (depending on the garage).

So I'd budget car in USAx4 and be thankful for anything less. In Finland we have this thing called "veroparatiisi" you pay, pay and pay! :twisted:

As a sidenote - Its a diesel I hope - you know how much a liter is vs. a gallon and what the consumption is? Insurance for that size engine? You know the local levels of envy - because I bet the neighbours will rat you to the tax office the minute you drive that behemoth into your yard. :mrgreen: A station wagon you might explain as a "delivery" and write it off for buisness though.
Last edited by Hank W. on Sat Oct 18, 2003 2:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Cheers, Hank W.
sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.


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Hank W.
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Post by Hank W. » Sat Oct 18, 2003 1:36 pm

Tom and Jerry wrote:You make one error. I have never met anyone arguing in a logical way after they bought such a car. Those guys with the CV vans, or whatever, are just crazy!
Wasn't there a GM van sought after one of these fur-farm raids? Driving around an oversize whale-size car like that they then get all of a sudden eco-friendly, recycling, vegetarian, animal-protectionist without paying attention their oil consumption kills half the whales they wish to shave. Ecofreaks should be mandated to drive bicycles year around.
:twisted:

On the other hand, my reason of not having a big american car is simple, so damn poor can't afford one.... yet :twisted: or rather a Bentley or a Jag...
Cheers, Hank W.
sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.


Geri Bush
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Post by Geri Bush » Mon Oct 20, 2003 12:09 pm

Hello,

I wouldn't say its a bad, crazy thing to import a car from the US (or anywhere.) I made a small fortune on mine. And nowadays people have made importing used autos from other EU countries a successful business.

Just make sure you understand the process and the costs. Think about your reason for the import, weigh the costs, and pick a smart import. And remember, you must have owned the vehicle for 6 month before importing it as household goods, tax-free. And once in Finland NO ONE else can drive the vehicle. Also check on the required conversions. I think most newer car can get by with the $500 conversion, but I know of one couple you had to have their exhaust system modified because the pipe came on the wrong side of the vehicle.

My thought was to inport something that would sale for a big price tag in Finland 3 years later. I sold my Jeep, 3 years later, for considerably more than I paid for it. Problem: The Jeep took time to sale. Not a large market for used Jeeps. Most people, who have the money to operate a Jeep in Finland, also have the money to buy a new one.

Now, we have a VW Passat TDI stationwagen which will have its 3 year tax-free vehicle birthday in February. Looks like this car will sell much faster with a simular profit.

It's a gamble. And you never know what the EU will decide next. What will Finnish car tax be in 3 years when you are looking to sell.

Just more thoughts. Live and learn!


kultary
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Re: More things to think about.

Post by kultary » Mon Oct 20, 2003 2:00 pm

[quote="Geri Bush"]

-I shipped a Jeep here and was not allowed to ship any possesion in the vehicle. Double check on that. They even suggested I take the plate off so they won't get stolen. I know people who have lost plates in shipping. I was allowed to drive with my US plates for 90 days, if I remember correctly. Then it had to pass a tough inspection and emmission before receiving Finnish plates.

[/quote]

We shipped a Plymouth Grand Voyager when we moved back in 2000. Like Geri, we were not allowed to have anything inside the car, even though the car was inside a shipping container along with all the rest of our stuff. We actually had an argument over the wheel rims that I had thrown in the back (we were moving from Dallas to Tampere in January & I knew my first purchase was going to be winter tires). They finally relented, but only because they were for use on that particular car.

I was also able to drive for 90 days with my US plates, but they may have changed that law with all of these cars that people are bringing in from Germany (they now have 90 day temporary tags).

The thing that really got under my skin was that we had to meet the customs agent at a warehouse here in Tampere. We rolled the car out of the container, through the warehouse & out the other side. We were charged FIM 600 for that service.

- Ryan


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