Deciding whether to ship a car to Germany as part of your relocation or for a temporary stay can be a tough choice to make. You have to consider the entire process as well as the costs.
However, whether you are a member of the military shipping a second vehicle or moving to Germany and bringing your personal automobile, it's generally more cost effective than buying one once you get there.
As an auto shipping specialist, we ship cars to Germany on a regular basis and have been doing so for over three decades. Below is a quick guide of how it is done.
This guide focuses on car shipping to Germany from the USA. To get general information and view common questions about shipping a vehicle, visit our page on transport.
**Our warehouses include Los Angeles, Houston TX, Savannah, Miami and New York.**
The two most used methods to ship a car from the USA to Germany are via container or roll on roll off. Although we offer an air freight services, most individuals elect one of the first two methods.
If you elect a container service, which we suggest, you can either ship your car in a 20ft sole use container, or take advantage of our specialized consolidated container shipping service in which your vehicle will be loaded with others into a 40ft.
With a roll on roll off car shipping service, the autos are driven into the belly of the large vessels where they are braced and secured.
As mentioned, containers are a better method because they offer additional protection from elements being that vehicles are inside a container and have better availability in terms of origin and destination services.
If you are a member of the US military or DOD, visit our page on military personnel for additional information.
Determining how much it will cost to ship a car to Germany depends on multiple factors including: 1) Your vehicle 2) Your location and nearest US departure port 3) Shipping method and the 4) Availability and final destination.
The most secure and cost effective method of shipping a car to Germany is using a shared container service as opposed to booking a single 20ft container. Generally, the difference in price will be hundreds of dollars if not thousands.
Another price to factor into the overall cost is the pickup/delivery rates. Not everyone can deliver their vehicle to one of our 5 US offices themselves.
However, we have our own in-house dispatch department that can orchestrate pickups from anywhere in the country. No matter where the vehicle is located.
Below, we've listed the port information as well as estimated transit times when shipping a car from the USA to Germany.
**These time frames are estimates for a port to port service. They assume all the necessary documents are given to us up front, the vehicle is ready for departure and that we have other vehicles to fill the container.
Some of the other destinations that we offer car shipping services to in Europe have multiple ports. However, in the case of Germany, the main port is Bremerhaven in the north.
Shipping car to Bremerhaven:
Bremerhaven is Germany's primary ocean freight port and our container service sails every other week depending on which US departure port you select.
From Los Angeles, our west coast office, it takes between 4-5 weeks on the water. Please remember this is ocean transit only and does not consider the time it takes to book enough cars for a full container.
We recommend clients leave themselves at least 6-8 weeks for the entire process. However, it can take longer.
Individuals and families moving to Germany from the USA and shipping a car from the east coast will enjoy a shorter transit time of 2-3 weeks on the water port to port.
For those looking for inland transportation to a further city such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich or any other destination, our German partners can assist you.
Since the USA is not a member of the EU, anyone planning to import a vehicle to Germany will be subject to duties as well as the 19.6% value added tax.
There are a few exceptions to this. For those bringing a vehicle on holiday, or traveling through Germany to another final destination, only a deposit is required and after the car leaves Germany or is registered in your respective country, the money is refunded to you. The duration of the stay must not be longer than 12 months if you are staying temporarily.
Citizens needing to ship a car to Germany as part of an overseas move can import the vehicle as part of personal effects as long as it's used and has been owned longer than 6 months.
This is a one time offer. If you meet the above requirements, you will not be liable for the VAT tax or duties.
EU citizens that have lived in the USA for more than a year AND have owned the vehicle longer than 6 months are allowed a one time tax free import.
As a suggestion, we advise all clients to contact the German embassy in addition due to the fact that taxes and duties can change without notice.
Transporting cars to Germany is much more common than moving automobiles back to the US and is more limited in terms of the different services available.
You will also be dealing with different agencies and departments when importing vehicles back to the US from Germany.
However, we do have a team of auto import specialists who are fully capable of assisting you. Use our auto imports page as a resource.
For any additional questions about car shipping to Germany, please call one of our specialists or use our quote form to get a free estimate!
Written by Damien Shields