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Purchasing parts in Germany - ?

Discussion in 'DIY (Do-It-Yourself)' started by alotawatts, Jan 24, 2011.

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    When someone is fortunate enough to visit Munich is there any money to be saved compared to US prices by buying parts there...and having them shipped back here ? I know only of one large dealership -Schorsch Meier.
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    This is just a guess, so I may stand corrected by anyone who's actually _done_ it, but -

    I'm gonna guess for anything normally available _here_, probably not. If you buy it there, you'll have to pay the 19% VAT tax for the local purchase. If you're carrying it with you, then you wouldn't count on a shipping charge, otherwise, figure in some money for shipping (maybe a lot, if it's big &/or heavy). Plus, you might have to pay import tax, which is gonna vary depending on what it is, but if it's above a certain amount, if you are carrying it in with you, then you'd have to declare it and perhaps pay a tax on whatever amount is above, I think, a certain limit. If a customs broker in some fashion has to be involved, that could be another expense.

    So for any savings by a purchase in Germany, your German price would have to be about 20% less (at a minimum) than the U.S. price.

    Things that are to be exported I think are not subject to the VAT, but I think they would have to be sent directly from the retailer; i.e., you couldn't buy it there, walk out the door with it, and say you don't have to pay VAT because you _claim_ it's going to be exported just 'cause you say so. :p And I don't know if purchasing within Germany to be shipped overseas by the retailer could be VAT exempt or not - you'd have to ask the seller(s).

    M3Driver guest

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    Not to mention any time that it may be tired up on Customs as well if it's a time-sensitive project you're working on.
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    I doubt it. Usually if a US dealer can get a part and it is in Germany the shipping is free. I recently bought a new seat heater for my 325ix and it had to come from Germany. Two weeks and no shipping cost added. :D

    Now if you are looking for used rare Euro parts, that is a completely different story. Used is the key word here. Still shipping is very expensive right now. My friends sister is currently in Germany and is getting him parts off www.ebay.de. The shipping is getting a little out of hand! :D
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    I have purchased 3.0CS parts that I could not find in the US and brought them home in checked bagage. I didn't try to get the VAT back and was happy to have the parts.

    Some parts, like the 3 &1 series headlight switch that converts the active brake lights into rear fog lights, are no longer available in the US. You could easily bring the switch back in your baggage.

    callmasterIV guest

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    I quiet frequently buy parts , through our most beloved and hated x-bay.

    Not going too much into the auctioning, we are mostly familar with it.

    Recent buys were
    another Mtech II steeing wheel, took 6 weeks. (customs and leather)
    remote door / key combo with key blanks - 1 week
    spring- set (however from belgium), 2 weeks
    blaupunkt velocities (2 component), are in transit and will be there on monday
    2 yrds of alcantara arrived within a week.

    If someone calls a part "uber-rare"description, i look up immediately in GER and usually get them half price (subject to availability), leaving room for shipping and saving good 20-40%.

    I dont see the point in shipping bigger things, make it Koni's or so, as shipping and tax equals all savings, likely costs you extra.(so, tranny/block/intake/axles/ and so on...)

    If i remember right , up to 13lbs shipping is 50$ . (1lbs-13lbs)

    Delivery times vary, but actually very regular i get overseas items faster then parts i buy in our sunny southern neighbour state CA, if i buy +-1 day.

    Worth mentioning is, that even it appears no english is spoken the quiet opposite is the case.
    If you find something by partnumber or picture, its always worth writing a message, maybe phrase it for a 10 yr old (no offense), but some response usually follows. And some then do consider shipping abroad.
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    parts from Deutschland?

    Hello interested parties,

    I was in the airlines for a while, came to the USA to live and work in 2000, now permanently since 2003. But ze family still live just outside the city of Muenchen so there is reason to visit every couple of months.

    Of course I would drive, currently drive and always have driven the only brand - BMW. One of those die-hard fans who have successfully converted about half their family to the only marque. In fact, in the nineties, I had a taxicab business in Germany - with BMW 5's, finally the Ultimate 5 - the Touring (wagon) - with a more (or less) reliable Turbodiesel.

    Have I bought parts for my US cars with me - you betcha. Not the obvious ones, though - you can get plugs, distributor caps, air and oil filters, brake rotors here much cheaper, in severe situations those boxed in the BMW cartons at up to 25% discount - or OEM from competent parts suppliers all over the USA.

    But, say you need a specialized part - a heat blower resistor, an electronic component, a rubber door seal? - Availability is better (sooner) - typically 2 days when ordering from a German BMW dealer; competitive pricewise, occasionally cheaper but not always, unfortunately the current rate of exchange at 1.4 USD to the Euro, doesn't help.

    What's more important, the numbers of parts moved in Germany are on a different scale of magnitude than BMW parts here in the USA. So the small stuff that is sold for Euro-cents there (door trim clips!), typically sell for low dollar amounts here. Screws, head gasket screws! Exhaust fitting sets!
    I would also obtain metric tools in Germany or Japan, simply because they're standardized there, meet quality requirements and published metric BMW specs that may not be given for US models.
    Ditto for accessories - leather and wooden shift knobs, BMW-related childrens' toys (variety!), enthusiasts' model cars, the list goes on...

    On the other hand, BMWs break in some different components here than they do in Germany, and you can use that to your advantage - when shopping for used parts - L-Jetronic airflow meters, ECUs, I brought a used central locking actuator module with me in January (cost me EUR 15!), HVAC flapper valves at EUR 10 a piece... Road conditions throughout Germany are quite pristine compared to some areas here, so some 300.000+ kilometer animals are still on their original wheel bearings when junked.

    Remember, the new car stuff out of warranty - be careful when buying used, some electronic components need to be registered to their cars' computers, even German salvage users have had to write off that great deal on a "black box" and buy a second, new, unregistered part, you need to know what to look (out) for.

    So, as with all business nowadays, networking is the key. You can pay for competent correspondence (the different well known parts' suppliers), or you can make friends, most young Germans speak English beyond "school English". Germans have picked up on 'American football", American sports bars, hell, even Sam Adams! (He buys his hops in the Hallertau too, 30 minutes north of Munich...)

    Hope I was able to set off some creativity, besides the wallet!

    Happy motoring - Gute Fahrt, as we say!

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    ...and malt from Hopfner in Karlsruhe.
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