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Import BMW 316 from Europe?


I am considering bringing over my 2000 BMW 316 with a 1.9 lit gasoline engine from Europe. It was sold in Germany and it has about 100,000 miles on it. My concern is parts availability since this model isn’t sold in the US. Does anyone have any experience as to how easy it will be to maintain this car in California?


start at this link with general info. Parts availablility may be a minor problem, compared to importing a non-US spec car into the US. It may not be desirable or economical to import a non-US spec car into the US.

I imported several BMWs and Porsches from Germany to the US back in the 1980’s. It was relatively easy and affordable back then. There were a number of companies based in Texas that specialized in DOT and EPA compliance conversion. As far as I know, that industry has dried up and the cost and effort of conversion is not worth the trouble, especially for a car with little collectible value. Find a BMW 507 and it could be a different story, but not for a 316.

Take the money you will spend buying the car, transporting it and complying it and buy a nice M3 when you get to the US.



When you consider the cost of modifying the car to meet US emissions, lighting, and bumper standards this is not a worthwhile venture. And, when you factor in parts availability problems, I see this as a project doomed to failure on the basis of cost as well as convenience.

I don’t think you can legally import this car. At least not for road use.

Check with US Customs.

The goal of every agency you will have too have contact with in this endeavour is to discourage you from doing this.

I looked at doing this when it was much easier (1986) and decided against it.

Thanks to all for the comments. I found a company in California who can take care of the compliance to US standards for about $7500. Plus another couple of thousands for transport and the total cost should be around $10k. It’s not too high for a car that’s in good shape. But parts availability for a model that doesn’t sell in the US may be the bigger problem.

Importing a Euro spec BMW into California will likely be an expensive headache for you. Agree with others; I would sell it and save the hassle, then buy a US spec car here when you are back.

That car is worth–at most–about $8k, and you are considering spending ~$10k to bring it to the US and make it fully US compliant?

This is not a classic car, and is merely a 10 year old used car–even if it is a BMW!
I’m sure glad that you are spending your money and not mine.

thank you all for the feedback.

If you sell it for $3000 (about 2000 GB pounds), you would have $13,000 to buy another car when you get here. You could get a similar 2005 3-series here for that.