There is nothing quite like zipping around the Autobahn in Germany in a Porsche. Ever since my husband and I met and realized our shared affinity for cars, especially a certain German manufacturer, driving on the Autobahn had been a dream of ours. Fast forward to surprise military orders sending us to Germany (read about THAT adventure here) and we not only had our opportunity, we also happened to already owned a Porsche 911. The challenge we faced was connecting the dots between an American car and its European roots. If that sounds complicated, it kind of was but this post will tell you what we learned about shipping a car from the United States to Germany.
How Do You Even Begin?
The most basic requirement for international shipping of a vehicle is that you own it out right. This makes logical sense because it technically isn’t completely your property until your car loan is completely paid off. So if you want to ship your car overseas and you have a car loan, I have bad news for you UNLESS you are in the military. That’s the bucket we fell into. If you are on military orders you can ship your car IF your bank allows it. For us that meant notarized letters from the bank certifying we could move the car overseas. That took several months of back and forth, explaining what we needed and waiting for snail mail, handwritten documents. Again, if you own your car outright, you can skip that headache and move on to the actual shipping.
How to Actually Ship the Car
Did I mention that shipping a car internationally wasn’t that easy? When it comes to shipping goods you can do it one of two ways: Hire a company that does EVERYTHING for you (literally everything, we did this for our house and I will talk about that later) or you pay much less and ship directly, yourself. We opted for the latter because at the time we were unsure if we even were going to be shipping our household goods. Instead of a container for the car we opted for a roll on, roll off, so literally just the car was being shipped. This meant we had to complete all the customs paperwork, bring the car to the ship and bring the paperwork to customs, all by ourselves. The cost savings were pretty huge, a roll on and off is about $1.5k versus a container starts around double that so if you are willing to deal with the headache and the paperwork it’s an economical route to take.
Is that it?
Regardless of your shipping methodology, once the car was loaded from the west coast of the United States it took a little over a month to reach northern Germany. Since we ‘DIY’d the shipping process this meant that we also had to pick up the car ourselves, 6 hours north of our home. But if you are like my husband and think a sexy date is a long drive down the highway, it was smooth sailing after that.
All in all, shipping our Porsche 911 993 C4S Wide Body to Germany was a great decision. Once it was licensed and inspected (something very different than in the US BUT it is what allows you to drive so freely on the Autobahn) there was nothing quite like it. Germany is the Porsche mecca of the world and being able to travel in our beloved vehicle in its native homeland is something special. It also gives us a fun way to connect to other local Porsche enthusiasts which are plentiful in our home town of Stuttgart.
Moving internationally is never easy so I hope I gave you a feel for what it’s like to ship a car internationally. If you have further questions feel free to DM me @RebeccaInEurope. Thanks for reading! Danke Schoen!