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1er 5-door spotted!

Discussion in 'E81/E82/E87/E88 (2004-present)' started by az3579, Sep 26, 2008.

    • Member

    bcweir

    Post Count: 1,264
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    Actually, gray market imports still occur, and non-emissions cars CAN be certified

    To that I would ask, then what the heck is a MINI?

    Grey market importation has been going on for decades, and it's a long and expensive process. Generally speaking, it works like this:

    1) Car owner buys the car through a grey market importer. Sometimes the car owner buys the car directly then transfers it to the importer, but more often than not, the importer acts as a broker to purchase the car on the owner's behalf.

    2) At this point, the importer usually does a preliminary first-phase conversion, depending on whether they carry US-spec parts in the country of origin, or if it gets shipped to a conversion facility in the US. If the former, the preliminary conversion is done there and sent to the US for the major remainder of the work to be done.. If the latter, the car is shipped to the US with paperwork stating that this vehicle is a grey market vehicle to be converted to US spec. US ICE will usually do a temporary, conditional exemption and allow the car entry, providing the car is not operated on US highways until conversion is complete, except under supervised testing.

    3) Importer then finishes the conversion in the US. US spec lights, bumpers are installed. Instrumentation is likely converted to US instead of metric. A US spec dash is installed, and left hand steering installed. A US spec exhaust system is fitted if the engine is already certified for US sale - if not, a US spec engine is fitted along with US style pollution controls. This entire process takes months, and can cost anywhere from $20,000 to over $100,000.

    4) After testing to ensure that the car meets US safety, lighting, and emissions standards, the vehicle receives EPA and Customs approval and can be legally operated in the USA.

    5) Owner takes custody of the vehicle.

    As you can probably imagine, this whole process is way too expensive and time consuming for the typical US buyer. Grey market importation can easily double the purchase price of the vehicle, and there have been some extreme cases in which it took as long as two years for the converted vehicle to reach the buyer. 99 percent of US buyers for European makes just simply take delivery of dealer stock or order it through the dealer's regular channels.

    Most people that do take advantage of the grey market are either collectors of certain rare vehicles that the maker never certified for US (a few well known examples would be the 2002 turbo, the E21 320i/6 and 323i, the E30 "touring" wagon, and the 302hp early Euro-spec E36 M3 [US flavors of the E36 M3 got the 240 hp version], and my personal favorite - the SHORT wheelbase E32 750i !), or certain well-heeled buyers that are insistent on having a certain model and have the funds and patience to make it happen.

    Of course, this doesn't apply to the few clever souls who are able to take advantage of inattentive border guards and customs officials and simply drive their vehicles into the US from Canada or Mexico.
    • Member

    lcjhnsn

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    I saw several while I was in Australia back in September. But here, not so much.

    hmmm, I would have guessed NJ plates from NA headquarters.

    I wonder how they got a non-USA import certified to wear CT plates?? Was it a Dealer or Salvage Plate?

    klk guest

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    This explains at least one of the E87 5 doors spotted in the US: http://bmwclub.org.mx/media/p/1519.aspx

    That was in the Silver State Classic Challenge in 2006

    If all goes as planned, my 130i and me will travel to Road America for the Oktoberfest...
    • Member

    bcweir

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    Auto manufacturers can assign test cars with "manufacturer" plates

    Usually this is done with pre-production models undergoing climate and durability testing.

    These prototypes are legally not for sale and will likely be disassembled and analyzed by the manufacturers engineers. It's a fairly common practice in the industry.

    Perhaps BMW is at least testing the feasibility of adding a 5-door to the 1-series lineup. Highly unlikely this late in the current 1's production cycle, but perhaps for the second generation 1-series due in a few years.

    Then again, look at how late the Z3 and Z4 based coupes came to the market.

    Who knows?

    Google translation of the caption underneath it says:

    The car is waiting to start in the race Silver State Classic Challenge September 2006 which runs from Ely to Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States.. Next there is a Corvette and a Shelby Mustang GTH, sadly the speed limit for the category was 110 mph and that to go faster you need to install 5-point harnesses and a roll cage. The top speed record in the race is 213 mph (average speed!).
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    Apex000

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    Awesome! It would be nice if the 5 door did come to the US. I personally , love the styling .
    • Member

    bcweir

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    I don't think its emissions keeping the 1-series hatch out of the US

    All body styles use exactly the same engine bay, and except for possibly the roof and door panels, the rest of the car should be the same.

    My "guess" is that BMW won't import 1-series hatchbacks due to pricing concerns (i.e. could cannibalize MINI sales, particularly those of the new Clubman four-door-hatchback, as well as the new MINI crossover. There's not a whole lot of pricing room between a high-end MINI convertible and a low end 1-series here in the USA, then you start entering 3-series territory a little higher than that.

    The N54-six is already certified for the 1-series in the USA. It shouldn't be an issue emissions-wise to offer it for different bodystyles of the same car since the engine bay and most of the bodyshell is the same.

    Lastly, the current 1-series is already near the end of its life cycle. We wouldn't be able to enjoy a 1-series hatch very long before it was time for a 2nd gen 1-series.

    klk guest

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    I could have translated that for you...

    in Mexico we can buy 120i and 130i 5 and 3 doors. Very few 130's are sold each year since most customers buy either a 120i hatch or a 125i/135i coupé (same coupé body you get in the US but the 125i has the N52B25OL engine which you had in the US with the E90 325)

    I believe that the 1 series hatchback might become viable in the US with the soon to be launched next generation one series (F20) which will have turbo and direct injection 3 and 4 cilinder engines. CAFE rules will make that car more interesting.

    I hope that the 130 survives somehow. My car is sweet and can almost keep up with E46 M3's in track days at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico city.

    Tahoe guest

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    Now a 135i 5 door would be REALLY enticing. Make it an Xi and it could be unresistable.
    • Member

    az3579

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    No.


    More weight = bad.

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