“For a long time, the United States has positioned itself in the top 5 countries for exporting used cars to France,” explains Sophia Tuber, specializing in transatlantic transport in the port of Le Havre.
“The United States has a hell of a lot of quirky and engaging cars, but be careful, importing a car comes at a cost. You have to calculate your operation ”explains Mickaël of Maui Automobiles, importer of American cars. But why does everyone want to buy a car there?
The largest stock of legendary cars in the world
Each year, 17 million cars are sold on American soil. The best-selling models, like the Clio or the 208 here, are the Ford F150.
Huge pickups which are in great demand with us. It will therefore be very easy to find them on site, just like the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang or quite simply the Volkswagen Beetle, Combi or Karmann, which abound in California. Finding a Porsche in good condition is often easier in California than in Germany.
Pick-up or Hummer, anything is possible
If the vehicle is over thirty years old, you can register just about anything and everything, as confirmed by the manager of American Top Car, a Frenchman who went to live in Arizona, who specialized in importing. from Humvee, the military version of the famous Hummer.
Other brands, such as 2L2D, have specialized in American pick-ups. A way to ride offbeat in a Hollywood setting.
Classic cars … without rust
Los Angeles is subjected to the ocean currents of the west, which softens the winter, and warms the city in the summer. All of California, and the states around it, are affected by the heatwave. This semi-arid or desert climate results in years of less than 20 days of rain per year.
An essential characteristic for the conservation of vehicles. Without rain, with dry air, cars do not rust. A major asset when choosing a vehicle. This also explains the number of importers located in California.
Affordable prices, but beware
A 1990 Cadillac convertible Allante at $ 9,000, a Mustang at $ 8,000, a multitude of old pickups around $ 15,000, the classifieds across the Atlantic are the stuff of dreams. The immense choice, the competition of sellers, and the lower new price in the United States, are reflected in the second-hand market.
A very common vehicle, even banal in the United States, will take on the status of an ultra rare collector car once in France. Lastly, the exchange rate is favorable for the European buyer that we are. But be careful, do not underestimate the cost of importation and certification.
How much does it really cost to import a car from the United States?
“Certainly the prices posted in the USA can be attractive. But before you can drive in France, the costs will be numerous. Many customers wonder why there is such a price difference between a car sold in the United States and the same model when imported into France. Concretely, when I buy a vehicle in Canada for example, I have to multiply the price by 1.8 to cover the costs. An American 4X4 sold for the equivalent of € 30,000 in Montreal will be offered at € 54,000 once delivered in France and approved ”specifies Mickaël of Maui Automobiles, importer specializing in American cars.
Why have prices increased with us?
For Mike Strahan, specialist in US vehicles, we must first put things into perspective: “When you see a big American 4X4 at € 70,000 with us, you have to compare with a top of the range German or Japanese. Vehicles from the American market are often very powerful and very well equipped. ”
For Michael of Maui Automobiles, the explanation is simple: “A container, from Canada to Le Havre, in which I can put two vehicles is invoiced at a minimum of 5,200 €. The price has increased by 2000 € in 2021. It is necessary to count the hours of our specialist on site, the transport in heavy goods to the place of embarkation, the handling costs at the port. Once in Le Havre we start again, we must send a heavy truck carrier on site, pay the customs fees, bring the vehicle back, the round trips to the place of approval, the cost of this, the guarantees , etc ”.