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Thread: Buying a car classed as an import?

  1. #1
    Master
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    Buying a car classed as an import?

    I am looking at buying a car. It is a Mercedes E class and is 2 year old.

    It is classed as an import when you do the HPI but wanted to know if anyone had experience buying imports. Apparently the guy is in the forces and was able to buy it through them when station abroad. It has since been registered in the UK.

    Does this mean I would class as import on insurance? It was bought from a UK dealer and has since been registered in the UK.

    Anyone with experience of this would appreciate your feedback.

    It is keanlg priced.

  2. #2
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    Is it LHD. If it was purchased abroad and then imported by a private individual then you would have to say it was an import
    Last edited by hilly10; 17th April 2019 at 06:57.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by JPCain86 View Post
    I am looking at buying a car. It is a Mercedes E class and is 2 year old.

    It is classed as an import when you do the HPI but wanted to know if anyone had experience buying imports. Apparently the guy is in the forces and was able to buy it through them when station abroad. It has since been registered in the UK.

    Does this mean I would class as import on insurance? It was bought from a UK dealer and has since been registered in the UK.

    Anyone with experience of this would appreciate your feedback.

    It is keanlg priced.
    The one thing you will need absolute proof of is that the original owner has paid the VAT on the car. Otherwise, it will fall to the new owner.

  4. #4
    Craftsman
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    I have done this in the past. Technically it is only an import for duty purposes as was purchased tax free.

    It will be full UK spec, just first registered in the UK sometime after purchase.

    Check the spec on the docs. Shouldn't need to declare anything special. I still own one of mine 27 years later. Never had a problem with insurance and indeed any claims on insurance.

    Sent from my SM-G950F using TZ-UK mobile app

  5. #5
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    No you shouldn't have to declare as an import- Google BFG armed forces car and you'll quite a bit of info, it is just a tax incentive for British soldiers stationed in Germany to buy vehicles tax free. They'll be supplied by U.K. dealers so will be UK spec etc.....

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by JPCain86 View Post
    I am looking at buying a car. It is a Mercedes E class and is 2 year old.

    It is classed as an import when you do the HPI but wanted to know if anyone had experience buying imports. Apparently the guy is in the forces and was able to buy it through them when station abroad. It has since been registered in the UK.

    Does this mean I would class as import on insurance? It was bought from a UK dealer and has since been registered in the UK.

    Anyone with experience of this would appreciate your feedback.

    It is keanlg priced.
    Insurance companies work in a way to try and mitigate their losses, that’s how they make money.

    If you choose not to tell them that the car has been registered overseas and then imported, they may be well within their rights to refuse a payout based on you withholding material fact (of course if they were recouping their loss from a 3rd party they would no doubt overlook this) and ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law, the onus is on you.

    VAT should have been paid on the car when it was registered in the UK.



    There is no doubt this car is considered as an import, if it shows on the HPI. Also, it will be on the registration document (section 3 “important information”) as seen below:-




    When you try to sell you will hit a similar quandary (even if you part exchange at a main dealer you are asked to sign an invoice for your part exchange which details that the car is yours and free from lien, never had a speedo change, used as a taxi cab or registered/used abroad before it was registered in the UK)

    If it’s 20%+ cheaper than a UK car it may be worth it, otherwise I’d walk away personally. Plenty of E class out there.....

    PS over 15 years in the motortrade for me, ironically working for Merc for nearly 3 and a half years, we tend to not accept imports in P/X unless it’s something for stock, EG an AMG product or a G class.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by RJM25R; 17th April 2019 at 08:36.

  7. #7
    Sounds just like a ploy for insurers to unnecessarily charge higher premiums TBH.

    Why is it a ‘material fact’ that a UK spec car was bought abroad?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Sounds just like a ploy for insurers to unnecessarily charge higher premiums TBH.

    Why is it a ‘material fact’ that a UK spec car was bought abroad?
    Because it affects the resale value?

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    Because it affects the resale value?

    R
    Maybe it does, but no reason for it - just the consumer being told that they're worth less (RJM25R's company not buying them etc) so they are. Been similar threads on here about 'foreign' watches.

    Years ago grey imports of RHD cars (from NL etc) were quite common. Was there ever an issue with those?

  10. #10
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    It's been a while since I have dealt with BFG cars but it wouldn't be considered an import- If the car originated from the UK and used under the BFG scheme then it is classed as a UK non import vehicle for insurance purposes- No VAT would be liable if it has been out of the UK for the set BFG period and has been de-registered from the scheme and re-registered, no VAT liable was the incentive/discount offered with this scheme.


    Quote Originally Posted by RJM25R View Post
    Insurance companies work in a way to try and mitigate their losses, that’s how they make money.

    If you choose not to tell them that the car has been registered overseas and then imported, they may be well within their rights to refuse a payout based on you withholding material fact (of course if they were recouping their loss from a 3rd party they would no doubt overlook this) and ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law, the onus is on you.

    VAT should have been paid on the car when it was registered in the UK.

    Not the same as say buying a car from Jersey where the VAT has not been paid and trying to bring it back into the UK.

    There is no doubt this car is considered as an import, if it shows on the HPI. Also, it will be on the registration document (section 3 “important information”) as seen below:-




    When you try to sell you will hit a similar quandary (even if you part exchange at a main dealer you are asked to sign an invoice for your part exchange which details that the car is yours and free from lien, never had a speedo change, used as a taxi cab or registered/used abroad before it was registered in the UK)

    If it’s 20%+ cheaper than a UK car it may be worth it, otherwise I’d walk away personally. Plenty of E class out there.....

    PS over 15 years in the motortrade for me, ironically working for Merc for nearly 3 and a half years, we tend to not accept imports in P/X unless it’s something for stock, EG an AMG product or a G class.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by Rob153; 17th April 2019 at 10:28.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    Because it affects the resale value?

    R
    Spec could be different, safety equipment could be different......


    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Maybe it does, but no reason for it - just the consumer being told that they're worth less (RJM25R's company not buying them etc) so they are. Been similar threads on here about 'foreign' watches.

    Years ago grey imports of RHD cars (from NL etc) were quite common. Was there ever an issue with those?
    It’s all about consumers buying them. They expect them to be cheaper because they possibly won’t have any full history. Also, the car could be damaged/repaired and it won’t show up on any HPI.


    There are lots of unscrupulous garages in the Jap performance world buying damaged/write off cars from Japan and repairing them to sell over here (as an example) and that won’t show up on a HPI.... sometimes with imports the chassis number doesn’t appear on the docs, and cars can be registered in the year they are imported rather than actually first used on the road (lots of 1960’s and 70’s US muscle cars for example)

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob153 View Post
    It's been a while since I have dealt with BFG cars but it wouldn't be considered an import- If the car originated from the UK and used under the BFG scheme then it is classed as a UK non import vehicle for insurance purposes- No VAT would be liable if it has been out of the UK for the set BFG period and has been de-registered from the scheme and re-registered, no VAT liable was the incentive/discount offered with this scheme.
    OP ask to see the reg document.


    See what it says in Section 3.

    See what it says on the HPI.

    If it says “import” do you think that might sway your insurance, or do you think a good defence would be “a guy on a watch forum said.......”

  13. #13
    Administrator swanbourne's Avatar
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    I bought a car tax-free when stationed in Germany and subsequently brought it back to the UK. It was supplied by a UK-based dealer and full UK spec, UK dealers used to come over and park outside the NAAFI to sell to squaddies. The only restrictions were, I had to keep it for one or two years (can't remember which) after import to avoid having to pay import duties.

    In 1970, a BMW 1600 cost £760 tax-free and if you were so inclined, you could have bought a Cessna single engined plane for £1600.

    Eddie
    Whole chunks of my life come under the heading "it seemed like a good idea at the time".

  14. #14
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    I've actually been in the Motor Trade for over 20 Years, I've imported numerous vehicles from all over the world using the Nova scheme- BFG cars are tax free cars offered to the armed forces. If you buy a vehicle from Northern Ireland it'll sometimes come up 'previously used abroad etc...' doesn't mean it's classed as an import. Not the same as a grey import, prime example the bigger trade sale sites used to bring them in from Cyprus and Republic of Ireland so classed as none UK spec imports,missing alarms so forth.

    If you get a insurance advisor that doesn't know about the scheme/process then they might jump to the conclusion that it is a import.

    Quote Originally Posted by RJM25R View Post
    OP ask to see the reg document.


    See what it says in Section 3.

    See what it says on the HPI.

    If it says “import” do you think that might sway your insurance, or do you think a good defence would be “a guy on a watch forum said.......”
    Last edited by Rob153; 17th April 2019 at 11:24.

  15. #15
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    It's been a very good scheme over the years and provides a good benefit for the armed forces- Quite a few countries offer it, couple of friends work in Kuwait offering a similar tax saving to the US forces stationed there.

    Quote Originally Posted by swanbourne View Post
    I bought a car tax-free when stationed in Germany and subsequently brought it back to the UK. It was supplied by a UK-based dealer and full UK spec, UK dealers used to come over and park outside the NAAFI to sell to squaddies. The only restrictions were, I had to keep it for one or two years (can't remember which) after import to avoid having to pay import duties.

    In 1970, a BMW 1600 cost £760 tax-free and if you were so inclined, you could have bought a Cessna single engined plane for £1600.

    Eddie

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob153 View Post
    I've actually been in the Motor Trade for over 20 Years, I've imported numerous vehicles from all over the world using the Nova scheme- BFG cars are tax free cars offered to the armed forces. If you buy a vehicle from Northern Ireland it'll sometimes come up 'previously used abroad etc...' doesn't mean it's classed as an import.
    If it’s on the HPI register as “import” and it’s on the V5c as “import” then to anyone buying, selling or insuring it, it’s an import.



    We can argue technicalities and intricacies about until we are blue in the face, but the car will still be classed as an import.

    I have a regular Cypriot client based in the UK who buys cars from me and ships them (RHD of course) to use as taxi’s. We don’t take the cars he brings back to the UK as p/x’s (that he exported 3-5 years ago) because they say “import” on the V5c and on HPI. I actually sold him one of the cars myself 3 and a bit years ago.....

  17. #17
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    Buying a car classed as an import?

    Quote Originally Posted by RJM25R View Post
    If it’s on the HPI register as “import” and it’s on the V5c as “import” then to anyone buying, selling or insuring it, it’s an import.



    We can argue technicalities and intricacies about until we are blue in the face, but the car will still be classed as an import.

    I have a regular Cypriot client based in the UK who buys cars from me and ships them (RHD of course) to use as taxi’s. We don’t take the cars he brings back to the UK as p/x’s (that he exported 3-5 years ago) because they say “import” on the V5c and on HPI. I actually sold him one of the cars myself 3 and a bit years ago.....
    We’ll have to agree to disagree-

    BFG cars are different to you selling to a third party a car abroad, they are sold to be used by members of the armed forces and brought back to the UK after a period of time if they so wish (tax free)

    Of course Grey imports a completely different kettle of fish.

    Rules may of changed but I have dealt in hundreds of prestige BFG cars and they were never classed as imports by Insurance companies.

    The whole point of the scheme is to be a benefit to the armed forces, if they were penalized when coming back to the UK, classed as an import, higher premiums etc.... wouldn't really be on would it?

    **Edit I've just spoken to a contact I have in one of the major brokers, they wouldn't add anything cost wise to the premium, it would just be noted that it was an ex BFG vehicle.


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    Last edited by Rob153; 17th April 2019 at 13:19.

  18. #18
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    Never had an issue, that's how I bought my Mitsubishi Galant V6.

    It was a 18 month old forces car (based in Germany) UK spec, shipped back to the UK, sold through the dealership as used approved registered in the UK.

    The advantage was the car became a year "younger" I got a 6,000 mile run-in fast saloon for half price. With full service plan, warranty, insurance wasn't an issue either.

    Great car in its day.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob153 View Post
    It's been a while since I have dealt with BFG cars but it wouldn't be considered an import- If the car originated from the UK and used under the BFG scheme then it is classed as a UK non import vehicle for insurance purposes- No VAT would be liable if it has been out of the UK for the set BFG period and has been de-registered from the scheme and re-registered, no VAT liable was the incentive/discount offered with this scheme.




    Quote Originally Posted by Rob153 View Post
    We’ll have to agree to disagree-

    BFG cars are different to you selling to a third party a car abroad, they are sold to be used by members of the armed forces and brought back to the UK after a period of time if they so wish (tax free)

    Of course Grey imports a completely different kettle of fish.

    Rules may of changed but I have dealt in hundreds of prestige BFG cars and they were never classed as imports by Insurance companies.

    The whole point of the scheme is to be a benefit to the armed forces, if they were penalized when coming back to the UK, classed as an import, higher premiums etc.... wouldn't really be on would it?

    **Edit I've just spoken to a contact I have in one of the major brokers, they wouldn't add anything cost wise to the premium, it would just be noted that it was an ex BFG vehicle.


    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

    You say in the first quote that it would not be classed as an import.

    I say it is classed as an import, as evidenced on the HPI and the V5c.

  20. #20
    Craftsman
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    Like i said we both have our opinions on this, both have been in the motor trade for a number of years,

    I can only go on experience with dealing with BFG cars in my career -They are classed as UK non import vehicles for insurance purposes as I stated. As we know Insurance companies will differentiate depending on where it was imported from, Japanese, Cyprus, USA, full UK spec etc..... Majority of Dealer groups will buy BFG cars but will not buy Grey imports so nothing wrong with UK spec supplied cars.

    HPI, V5 may show the car as an Import buy in the eyes of the insurance companies they are not.



    Quote Originally Posted by RJM25R View Post
    You say in the first quote that it would not be classed as an import.

    I say it is classed as an import, as evidenced on the HPI and the V5c.

  21. #21
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    Some really good information here but not really any clearer.

    The guy has been quite helpful who I have been dealing with and quite honest that he has struggled to sell the car because of the fact it flags as an import on the HPI check. The re sale doesnt bother me too much. I will have the car for a long time and rather have the saving upfront.

    I am happy with the price and the spec is no different to the UK and is RHD, it was delivered by a UK and dealer and had its first service in the UK.

    The main issue is if I fill in the details for insurance and tick the import box the price pa goes up £250. Seems ridiculous for what is a car delivered by a UK dealer and then registered abroad for someone in the forces.

    Equally, I wouldnt want to not note this when doing the insurances if it is a loop hole they could use to get out of paying it.

    Apparently the V5 doesnt show import but as mentioned it flags on HPI check.

  22. #22
    Craftsman
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    BFG cars should not show up as imports.

    That DVLA docs record a different manufacturing year to registration in the UK year. Insurers ask for the year of manufacture in my experience.

    My cars were all exported from the UK for delivery in Germany and subsequently imported. Never any issues insuring or selling/ trading in in the UK.

    Nest way for the op to be sure is to get an insurance quote, clearly stating all the details. I'd be surprised if there was any difficult or any loading of the policy.

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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Integrale View Post
    BFG cars should not show up as imports.

    That DVLA docs record a different manufacturing year to registration in the UK year. Insurers ask for the year of manufacture in my experience.

    My cars were all exported from the UK for delivery in Germany and subsequently imported. Never any issues insuring or selling/ trading in in the UK.

    Nest way for the op to be sure is to get an insurance quote, clearly stating all the details. I'd be surprised if there was any difficult or any loading of the policy.

    Sent from my SM-G950F using TZ-UK mobile app



    I never mentioned loading because every broker and insurance company is different and has their own idea about risk, or there wouldn’t be such a span between quotes.

    My points were about non-disclosure if material facts, which an insurance company could use to mitigate or invalidate a claim.

    Anybody who thinks insurers won’t use any tools at their disposal to reduce the payout value of any claim of their liability (import or otherwise) is IMHO being extremely naive.

    Insurers know (as finance companies do) that an import value is lower, otherwise there’d be a black market in people buying these cars, insuring them, writing them off and making false claims on them for an easy profit and/or money laundering opportunities.....

    Eg buy an import for £20k, insure it as a UK car with a value of £24k, write it off and insurer pays you out say £21-22k and you’ve profited and possibly cleaned your illicit cash....




    Btw The OP said his insurance WAS loaded by £250....
    Last edited by RJM25R; 18th April 2019 at 08:32.

  24. #24
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    I bought a Mercedes E320 cdi Avantgard Estate in 2000 from the MB main dealer in Sheffield so it’s a while ago,saved about £8K off List Price as it was about 6 months old and re-imported ,it was classed as an import,the insurance wasn’t a problem but when I came to trade it in 5 years later most dealers wouldn’t touch it,ended up selling it for about £5K.
    Wouldn’t do it again.

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