Join Date: Nov 2014
My Motorhome: 2014 Ducato - Carado T334
Thanked 50 Times in 45 Posts
Importing new from Belgium
I've just taken delivery so perhaps now's the time to share some information while it’s fresh in my mind; for background I'm a motor racer and used an ex-ParcelForce Iveco van for 10 years; the previous owners had it converted to a double-bed-over-garage arrangement, and it served us well, towing the race car all over Europe, so we had a very good idea of what layout we wanted.
Off we went to the NEC in the autumn, armed with a spec divided into must-haves and nice-to-haves, to see what was on offer. We were beginning to wonder if our ideal existed until we hit the Hymer stand late in the afternoon and discovered Carado, who we hadn’t heard of before; the T334 seemed to fit the bill perfectly so we picked up a dealer list, brochure and spec sheet. Back at home I explored the Hymer German website and learned all about the options list and Euro (non-UK) prices.
A week or so later we called in at one of the four UK dealers where we were told:
- standard UK spec incorporates a lot of factory options whether you want them or not
- the lead time on an order was around 7 to 8 months
- there’s an ‘On The Road’ charge of £2000 which couldn’t be explained / justified
- with a few vital extras (towbar, awning, bike rack, tracker) the price was a shade under £50k.
Given that the Europe basic list price is only £32k it seemed that this was another case of ‘rip-off Britain’ so I spent a quiet evening researching all I could find on the ‘net about private importing. It didn’t sound complicated so my next port of call was the dealer list on the Hymer website; I searched within 150 km of Calais and then checked out the dealers’ own websites; liked the look and sound of Campirama in Kortrijk, just across the Belgian border from Lille. So one Sunday evening I emailed a request for a quote – by 10.30 on the Monday morning I had a fully detailed price quotation – which included an unrequested 12% discount.
Further emails and a phone call established that they spoke excellent English (along with French, Dutch and German), had sold to the UK a number of times and were familiar with the process. A trip was booked and we spent a very useful day over there just before Christmas. It transpired they had a T334 to our basic layout in stock; it had the double bed over garage layout, which apparently is not what the continentals want right now and was proving hard to shift, hence they were keen to cut a deal. It had all the options we needed except an oven and a towbar, both of which they would fit – and the price offered was €40k ex-VAT, a complete bargain! I’d read that buying from Germany you have to pay their VAT, then UK VAT on import, then claim the German VAT back. Not so in Belgium, they sell ex-VAT and we just pay UK VAT once we have it here.
A collection date was agreed in early February and that gave me plenty of time to arrange insurance on the VIN number through Suregard, book a one-way ferry, order an Import Pack from DVLA, make contact with the local Fiat MH dealer, read up on VCA, and lastly order a speedo dial from Lockwoods. Collection itself was straightforward; Eurostar to Lille, a hotel near the station, and the dealer picked us up the following morning. A thorough handover of the van itself, final paperwork handed over (receipt, European Conformance certificate and Certificate of Newness are the vital ones), Belgian trade plates fitted, we were introduced to our driver and off we all went to Calais.
Once home I logged onto HMRC, loaded the vehicle details into the NOVA system, waited a couple of days for the Assessment to come through and paid the VAT by debit card. NOVA uses the same HMRC entry point as doing your Income Tax return so couldn’t be more straightforward really.
The following day I had a Tracker fitted, and the same guy also fitted the replacement dual-units speedo dial as he had the dash out at the time. Next up it was dropped off at the Fiat dealer for the UK-spec headlights to be fitted and the rear foglight to be swapped to the offside. The dealer produced a statement of work done, exactly per the VCA Guidance notes. I sent the paperwork off to VCA on a Monday and received the IVA certificate on Thursday of the same week.
Now we are ready for UK registration; again all the right forms have been completed and various copies sent off to DVLA; once the V5 comes we’ll be good to go. I've ended up saving more than £10k by the way.
Last edited by mgdavid; 04-03-2015 at 20:42.