Thursday, August 7, 2014

Registration and Title Guidelines for Vehicles Over 25 Years Old

International Vehicle Importers (IVI) will provide all the necessary legal documents needed to title and register your over 25 year old vehicle in most states. We recommend using a DMV service, if available, to help you with the process. Imported vehicles are out of the normal for most clerks, so having a service take the documents for you, helps. AAA, or look up “Registration Service” to see if anything is available locally.   The documents are as follows:

1. Customs Entry Summary (Customs Clearance)
7501 - Entry Summary (can be paperless)
For multiple vehicle entries, the information may be over two pages.
7501 International Vehicle Importers.PNG.jpg

3461 - Entry/Immediate Delivery Document(can be paperless)
For multiple vehicle entries, there may be only a single original of this document.
3461 International Vehicle Importers.PNG.jpg

2. DOT Entry Document- HS7 (this is not a requirement for paperless entry)
The HS7 is the NHTSA entry document for customs. Now days, with paperless entries, you might find that this document is not stamped by US customs.

HS7 International Vehicle Importers.PNG.jpg

3. EPA 3520-1 Entry Document
The 3520-1 is the EPA entry document for customs. Now days, with paperless entries, you might find that this document is not stamped by US customs.

3520-1 International Vehicle Importers.PNG.jpg

4. Export Certificate (also called Deregistration certificate)
Export Certificate International Vehicle Importers.PNG.jpg

The Export Certificate is the Japanese equivalent of a title. It has all of the vehicles pertinent information on it.  In the top middle of the document is the date of first registration. If a date of manufacture can not be determined, then this date can be used to prove the vehicle is over 25 years old, and FMVSS exempt. In this case the date of first registration is given as 6/1989.  The last box at the top has the chassis number. In this case it starts HCR32, showing this vehicle is a Nissan Skyline GTS. Right under there is the engine or RB20.  The owner and user with addresses are listed in the next section.  Under that is the cars dimensions and weight. Under that section are notes. You will often see mileage information here. This is a very important document, please do not lose it.

Translated copy of Export Certificate
Same items as on the Export Certificate, translated into English

5. DMV Document
Bill of Sale - Noting VIN, Purchase Price, Seller, and Buyer

Every state has its own requirements, fees, inspections, and taxes when it comes to titling and registering a vehicle. Prior to purchasing any vehicle, we highly recommend checking with your local authorities to verify the procedure, and documents required.

In most cases, the only documentation needed to transfer registration of the vehicle from us to you is the documentation above. Some states may require a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) verification. A 25 year old Japanese car doesn't have a 17 digit VIN/Chassis number. Vehicles over 25 years old are not required to meet FMVSS standards, so they aren't required to have a 17 digit VIN. Some states may have some specific title requirements, but please read this newsletter from the NHTSA before they "assign" a VIN to your vehicle.

Please make extra copies of the documents we provide for your records. The Japanese Export Certificate/Deregistration is not reproducible. Please do not lose it, there is only one original.

California - California has some specific Direct Import requirements that make it very difficult to register a vehicle. Please see this DMV newsletter.

Hawaii - Hawaii has some specific requirements that make it very difficult to register a vehicle. Please see the following post about Hawaii regulations.

Friday, August 1, 2014

40 Land Rovers Seized in VIN Tampering Investigation

Last year US Customs crushed a Land Rover Defender in a video posted around the web. Now there are reports of up to 40 more Land Rovers being seized by DHS.

According to the National Review, Bill and Jennifer Brinkley had a 1985 Land Rover Defender seized. Even though the owners claimed the vehicle was over 25 years old, DHS says the VIN had been altered on the vehicle.

From another report, Patterson Auto Sales in Wilmington, North Carolina was the common link on these 40 seized vehicles.

Like many of the old importing stories, someone gets away with something, and then they do it over and over. Eventually they get caught.  Once they are caught, it isn't difficult to figure out all the vehicles that this person or business imported. In this case again, the 2nd or 3rd owners are the ones getting screwed. They are the ones losing both their money, and their vehicle. Some people may not have known the vehicles were later model vehicles, many people buying the cars probably did.
Range Rover that was crushed in 2013

Forty Land Rover SUVs have been taken away from owners around the country by armed federal agents descending on private property with overwhelming force. Agents for Homeland Security Investigations last month wrapped up the seizure of forty vehicles pursuant to a sealed warrant issued in May. The agency insists that there were discrepancies with the VIN numbers for cars imported by Aaron Richardet at Patterson Auto Sales in Wilmington, North Carolina, and that the Land Rovers violated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. 
These regulations do not apply to cars that are at least 25 years old, but owners of the grabbed vehicles had no chance to present a defense before their SUVs were taken. The owners were only given until June 23 to file a formal contest to the seizures, which they could not have done because the court did not unseal the case until July 16. US District Judge James C. Fox denied a request to give owners more time to contest the seizure of their property.
Chris J. Benway paid $11,000 and invested another $23,607 in upgrading and servicing his blue 1984 Land Rover, which agents grabbed from his property on July 15.
"We cooperated fully with the forfeiture and will continue to cooperate," Benway told the court. "However, I do not believe this vehicle was imported illegally due to its being 25 years old at the time of purchase, and we have not seen any evidence of VIN tampering on the vehicle."
The government argued that the imported cars were actually 2000 model year and newer, and therefore subject to the EPA and DOT regulations. Daniel M. Harrington, an owner who wants his 1983 Land Rover Defender back says the government claim is nonsense.
"A basic visual inspection of the vehicle reveals that the same was manufactured far earlier than 2000," Harrington told the court. "I was advised that the Land Rover Defender YIN: [...] was manufactured in 1983 at the time I purchased it. My visual inspection of the vehicle reinforced this information as the vehicle exhibited correlative signs of aging and the vehicle's features were consistent with the features of Land Rover Defenders manufactured in 1983. Additionally, I had the vehicle examined by an expert in the field, who confirmed that the Land Rover Defender VIN [...] was manufactured in 1983."
Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Christopher M. Feldman said that he inspected the "non compliant" vehicles and found discrepancies in the Land Rovers imported by Patterson Auto Sales. He presented his findings to the court.
"The chassis was galvanized and Land Rover has not manufactured Defender vehicles with a galvanized chassis," Feldman claimed. "The engine was a 2.5 TDi 5 cylinder (Storm) engine, manufactured from 1997 to 2007, which cannot be retrofitted into a 1986 Defender Station wagon chassis; the vehicle color does not match the original Venetian red; a number of interior and exterior features were not introduced into production until significantly later model years."
Richardet, the importer, had explained the discrepancies to the Customs and Border Patrol agency in an email two years ago.
"The truck was taken down to the frame," Richardet wrote. "It was sand blasted then galvanized to prevent rust. The doors are prone to rust are scrapped and swapped out for newer ones. The old dashes have been out of production since 2004 so the newer dash is used if the old one is bad. The restoration shops try to make modifications and upgrades to the trucks to make them safer and more user friendly. Just like restoring an old Camaro old parts get junked and newer go one. I hope he will see that. All those parts are available from Land Rover and the truck has changed so little you can bolt them right on."

Monday, June 30, 2014

California Vehicle Industry News 2014-14

California has just issued a new vehicle industry news - June 19,2014 to address direct import vehicle registration. I was alerted to it by someone having some issues registering a vehicle older than 1975 in California.

States do handle title and registration.California never makes anything very easy. Here is the California DMV notice.

Read more!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ferrari Stopped by Customs At Port : Sent Back to Germany

File this under the - people will tell you anything to sell you a car. According to this article in The Local, and on Jalopnik, a retired US Army officer, ran afoul of US Customs, when he tried to import a Ferrari F430 recently.

"The Local copies of emails from the dealership’s sales manager which stated the Ferrari was“perfekt” for Joe and was originally built for the US market."
People will tell you anything to sell you a car. When people are looking to buy a car, many do not do enough investigation prior to purchase. They get the red mist, and fail to see the things they need to see.

On the list of non-conforming vehicles, eligible for importation by a Registered Importer, there is a 2005-2006 Ferrari F430(manufactured prior to 9/1/06). Under VSP-479

..believes are substantially similar are 2005 and 2006 Ferrari F430 passenger cars manufactured before September 1, 2006 that were manufactured for importation into, and sale in, the United States and certified by their manufacturer as conforming to all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards.

The petitioner claims that it carefully compared non-U.S. certified 
2005 and 2006 Ferrari F430 passenger cars manufactured before September1, 2006 to their U.S.-certified counterparts, and found the vehicles to
be substantially similar with respect to compliance with most Federal 
motor vehicle safety standards.

Neither article states the year of the vehicle, however The Local said they have seen copies of emails, from the seller, saying the car was a US market car. To me, it would be very odd, for someone to be offering me a US Spec car in Germany, although it is possible.  Due to exchange rates and availability, high end cars can move all around the world.

“I immediately contacted the dealership to ask for help, their answer to me was, ‘we have 100 percent of your euro, you are now in America, the car is in America, there is an unfortunate typo on your title paperwork, too bad’.
The Ferrari, which cost €88,000, was Latin America rather than US specification and can only be converted to US specification at the Ferrari factory in Italy. It was originally built for and sold to an owner in Brazil by the dealership Joe used.
It was "American" spec, but that is Latin America. Not US spec. Even though the 2005-2006 cars have been found to be substantially similar, the owner probably doesn't want to go down the path of RI/ICI or possibly petitioning his car to make it legal for the US. In the case of some Ferraris  the modifications can be more than $50,000.

The former soldier has spent €3,000 on flights back to Germany to try to sort out the problem, paid €2,400 for transportation of the Ferrari to and from the US and has been fined €1,000 by US Customs for illegally importing a non-American specification vehicle into the US.
Never heard of anyone being "fined" for illegally importing a non-American spec car. Maybe there is more to this story or they are talking about demurage fees.

This is why it is very important to do your due diligence when importing cars. For every one guy that "slips" by, or thinks he found a "loophole" for importing, there are many stories like this one. People get caught, lose their cars, or spend thousands of dollars trying to fix the issues. If you need professional help in importing cars over 25 years old- check out International Vehicle Importers.

This vehicle conforms to all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety....
Know before you buy. If you have questions, ask. Get proof. Get pictures. In this case, he needed to see the door jam sticker that says " Meets US FMVSS", and the underhood label that says "Meets EPA requirements". Without those labels, this car is no good for the US market(not easily).

This vehicle conforms to U.S. EPA....
He also could have taken the VIN number, called Ferrari and asked them if it met US standards. He could have run a vehicle history report on the car to see if it had ever been registered in the US.

Hindsight is 20/20 so have the foresight to not make mistakes on importing.

Source: The Local via Jalopnik

Importing vehicles over 25 years old. 

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