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Guide to importing a UK car to Sweden

New regs since 2009 make it much simpler...

nicklonguk
post 18.Jul.2012, 02:33 PM
Post #1
Location: Västernorrland
Joined: 18.Nov.2010

Hej allihop,

I thought I would share my recent experience in importing a UK RHD car to Sweden, for those who, like me, baulk at paying almost twice the price for the same car you could get back in England, but were unsure of how easy it would be to legally register it here.

Importantly, there have been some recent changes to the Swedish requirements for converting British vehicles for use in Sweden which makes things much simpler / less subjective than it seems to have been in the past. In particular, dual scale mph/kph speedometers are now acceptable, even if mph is the primary scale.

Step 1) Choose a vehicle. I went for something a little impractical given I live in the north of Sweden (a powerful rear wheel drive sportswagon) but the price differential was huge, so there was no way I was going to sell my car and trade down for something much older and less interesting for the same value. Looking back, a 4x4 or something with a bit more ground clearance would have been more useful.

Given you will be probably doing a bit of DIY to your car to prepare it for registreringsbeskitningen, it makes sense to find something with plenty of user support online in other forums - my car has lots of great DIY information available, including how to remove and replace the headlights, saving me a fair bit of money.

Step 2) Getting the car to Sweden. You can drive an EU vehicle in Sweden for 7 days if you are permanently resident, or for up to 12 months if you are a temporary resident. I was here on an expat contract so I kept my car on UK plates (taxed and MOTed) for 12 months whilst I sorted out my employment situation.

You can find evidence of this on the Transportsyrelsen site here:
FAQ concerning vehicles registered abroad

A good UK insurer to use to cover your UK car for unlimited EU use is Stuart Collins - they are expensive but I couldn't find another insurer who would cover me given my circumstances (I used the car for commuting, which is excluded from most other 365-day EU use policies - see eCar).

Step 3) The Swedish registration process

The Transportsyrelsen website is excellent, and has the same information in both Swedish and English. The process essentially follows 3 steps:

i - confirmation that the car is yours, and is not stolen ("verification of origin" / "ursprungskontroll")
ii - Technical inspection and First Registration
iii - Registering for use in traffic


i - So long as you have the correct documentation (logbook / certificate of ownership, i.e. V5 doc, proof of sale), this bit was very straightforward; send in your paperwork (you won't get any of it back, so take copies of them first!), wait 2 days for Transportstyrelsen to send you an invoice (700 kr), and then about one week from then you receive confirmation of the verification of origin and a booking reference number to need to book your registration inspection.

ii - this was the bit which caused me untold sleepless nights, and there is an awful lot of old and conflicting information online about what you need to do / change on your car to make it acceptable in Sweden. In fact, you need to make sure of the following:

a - the headlights have a LHD pattern ( ___/ rather than \___ )
b - the rear foglight is on the right hand side (if your car only has one - no problem if it has 2, like most cars now).
c - the speedometer has KM/H on the scale - it does NOT need to be the only scale or the major scale.

After having quite a few problems finding cheap second hand headlights online (bildelbasen.se was expensive, and searching in English didn't turn much up) I decided to use google translate to search for them on ebay.de - voila! much more choice and better prices. Look for scheinwerfers...

Since April 2009 Sweden has accepted UK cars with dual mph/kmh scales after a number of appeals and new EU legislation. I printed off the technical bulletin that stated this change in their rules as I expected to have to explain this to Bilprovingen, but I had no problems at all there. For reference, here is the information (in Swedish):

Transportstyrelsen TSB for MPH speedos

My local Bilprovningen facilty had a 4 week waiting period, which seems quite typical. Registration cost 1380kr and I also took the annual vehicle check (MOT) for 320 kr, so 1700 in total. It took an hour, and at the end I was presented with my new registration number and MOT certificate (kontrollbesiktning). The tester had no questions, although my headlights were pointing a bit high after fitting them myself! After, your number plates will be sent to your Swedish address (3 to 5 days).

Important note - you do not need a Certificate of Conformity for an EU type approved car - your V5 should have a long "e" number (looks something like e*89298*eehm//2002) which is the type approval reference. If you start changing the speedo, then previous members have stated that a CofC is required. Therefore, with the post 2009 TSB it is much easier and cheaper to import UK cars...

iii - registering for traffic use

Basically, this is sorting out insurance and tax, and it can all be done online / over the phone in an hour - but you need your swedish reg. I used a very good broker, Suredo, who speak English and take the hassle out of finding the best deal. I couldn't find any quotes online for a direct imported car, so I needed to call come companies, but the broker came back with the best deal after all (approx 15% higher than if the car was an original Swedish registered vehicle).

Once you order this, the insurance is immediately activated, which means you can go back to the Transportstyrelsen website to order car tax. Again, this is then immediately activated and Transportstyrelsen send you an invoice within the next 3 days to pay. For me, my car was insured and ready for driving as a swedish vehicle (minus the physical plates) within 2 hours of leaving Bilprovningen.

--

Summary of costs

Verification of Origin - 700kr
New LHD headlights (secondhand xenons, adjust depending on car) - 5000 kr
First Registration Inspection & plates - 1380 kr (not bad given new plates are 800 kr anyway)
Annual Inspection - 320 kr

Total = 7400 kr approx

Insurance and tax vary with each car, but the total for me was within 10% of what I would have paid back in the UK and significantly less than the comprehensive EU policy I had the previous year (effectively the insurance savings paid for the new headlights and registration costs).

From start to finish, the process took about 5 weeks - waiting for a free slot at Bilprovningen was the critical path.

So - hope this helps; I spent months browsing in English and Swedish to try to find a definitive guide to importing a UK car, and other people's experiences put me off a little. The end result was much easier than it might have been back in 2008 or earlier given others' experiences on here (no need to change speedo, argue with Bilprovningen, attach bits of black tape over the MPH scale or get CofCs from the manufacturer).

Any questions, feel free to ask. I'd definitely do it again.

Cheers

N
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bobalong
post 18.Jul.2012, 07:57 PM
Post #2
Location: Värmland
Joined: 6.Feb.2010

Good bit of info!! Well done.

I did my motorbike and quad in 2009 and it was 1500sek each for the check, so I was a bit surprised to see that you only paid 700sek for your car.

The other costs.. mot.. number plates etc cost the same as for your car. My bike has mph and kmph with mph being the major but the mot guy never batted an eyelid about that. The quad display is digital and you could choose which to show so I had no probs there either.

I bought a swedish volvo in the end after being told to buy something commom here so I could get spares etc, but to be honest, I have had nothing but trouble with it since the day I got it. It has been a total bag of shite and the worst car I have ever owned, although it was well looked after before I got it and since and looks the part body wise. I prefer to ride around in my old UK transit van which is reliable, a bit battered and rusty but miles better than the car!! I guess the swedes can also make Friday afternoon cars too... ie crap ones. I will never buy another one.

I guess it will be one from the UK next.
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skogsbo
post 19.Jul.2012, 08:13 AM
Post #3
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

Why did you buy a powerful rear wheel drive for northern Sweden. A lower power, narrower tyred front wheel drive is far better in winter. Other than that good effort.

Was it a left hand drive?

If you pay 15% more insurance every year, plus import costs, ferries, fuel is there a break even point where its not worth it?
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Yorkshireman
post 19.Jul.2012, 08:54 AM
Post #4
Joined: 22.Nov.2011

QUOTE (skogsbo @ 19.Jul.2012, 07:13 AM) *
If you pay 15% more insurance every year, plus import costs, ferries, fuel is there a break even point where its not worth it?

And what about factoring in the drop in re-sale value, plus the probable added difficulty of selling a RHD vehical here in Sweden?
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skogsbo
post 19.Jul.2012, 10:05 AM
Post #5
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

I think the trick would be to find what you want in the UK that was originally bought from Europe. Left hand drive and perhaps the owner still has the original lights etc.. ?

Unless you want something very specific and do alot of research into the long term cost, then I can't see buying a standard RHD car in the UK, then exporting actually paying off. Plus, you are driving on a bad seating position the whole time you are here. You can argue the re-sell cost if you keep the car forever, but then you are going to pay 15% extra insurance every year?
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Bender B Rodriquez
post 19.Jul.2012, 10:29 AM
Post #6
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

QUOTE (skogsbo @ 19.Jul.2012, 09:13 AM) *
Why did you buy a powerful rear wheel drive for northern Sweden. A lower power, narrower tyred front wheel drive is far better in winter. Other than that good effort.Was it a ... (show full quote)

Unless he lives in the middle of nowhere with unplowed roads it does not really matter the least. You get along as fine with a Fiat Punto or a BMW as with a Volvo XC60 or a Landrover.
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skogsbo
post 19.Jul.2012, 11:19 AM
Post #7
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

I would suggest not, but each individuals experience of driving is different. For me, a small width, front wheel drive car will far out do any fancy wide wheeled, rear wheel drive, car. It will out pace a fancy 4wd if the driver isn't up to scratch too, I used to take our little 206 up to weardale ski club (600m asl), just on winter tyres, whilst many others were making a meal out of it in 4wds and stopping to put chains on the front etc.

But, yes the road surface does matter and most roads will be perfectly passable, but the back end is still more likely to step out, if you get a little excited. My point was more that he cited the rear wheel drive as a deliberate buy for that region.
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sometimesinsweden
post 19.Jul.2012, 12:00 PM
Post #8
Joined: 15.Jun.2012

Ha, I've seen little Citreon 2CVs getting over heavily-snowed passes in the Alps where Porsche Cayennes and the Volvos would have no chance because of their fat tyres and over power.
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nicklonguk
post 20.Jul.2012, 09:48 PM
Post #9
Location: Västernorrland
Joined: 18.Nov.2010

QUOTE (Bender B Rodriquez @ 19.Jul.2012, 10:29 AM) *
Unless he lives in the middle of nowhere with unplowed roads it does not really matter the least. You get along as fine with a Fiat Punto or a BMW as with a Volvo XC60 or a Landrover.

There isn't really enough traffic to worry about being on the "wrong" side of the road, the roads are empty enough that I don't mind waiting a minute more for a safe overtaking spot. If I was living in Paris or Rome, then that would be different. Yes, the car is a bit lively in the winter but that is part of the fun... I don't intend on selling it for years so resale value isn't really an issue.

To give you an idea of the price differential, I bought a car for £15000 that like for like (except for RHD/LHD) were selling for 280 000 SEK. Given the exchange rate at the time was 10,5 £/SEK it would be 50 years before the added insurance costs would be mean the Swedish-sold version would break even.

Petrol-engined cars depreciate massively in the UK at the moment - if you're willing to put up with a bit of hassle re: steering on the right hand side, then there are some massive savings to be made.
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Bender B Rodriquez
post 21.Jul.2012, 03:36 AM
Post #10
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

QUOTE (nicklonguk @ 20.Jul.2012, 10:48 PM) *
To give you an idea of the price differential, I bought a car for £15000 that like for like (except for RHD/LHD) were selling for 280 000 SEK. Given the exchange rate at the ... (show full quote)

Must have been an unusual car with huge markup. On popular models the price difference is not big at all, especially after you subtract the standard 25% from haggling at the dealership.
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Great Scott
post 21.Jul.2012, 08:37 AM
Post #11
Joined: 22.Sep.2008

@nicklonguk
Great job. I was talking to a dealer in the UK 2 weeks ago, and he said that people from Sweden are coming over in their droves to buy a car. He said that he had just sold a Mazda RX8 2004 for £2300, the buyer said the same spec would have cost £9000 in Sweden.
I did a little research myself on what would be a Mr Jones car in Sweden. It’s a no brainer.
Saab 9-5 2.0 TID VECTOR SE 4DR AUTO
UK £12,989
http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/adv...story?logcode=p
Sweden £21,600
http://www.blocket.se/lund/Saab_9_5_TiD_Ve...m?ca=16&w=3
It’s the same with most cars, except for the old and budget price market, and who wants them.
And if you can’t drive a RHD car on the right and vice versa, you shouldn’t be driving at all.
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sumodaz
post 9.Jan.2013, 12:46 PM
Post #12
Joined: 7.Nov.2012

Nicklonguk I have to thank you for this excellent guide your post helped me get my car registered smoothly, with no problems. One thing to add, I only had to wait one day for my inspection. Maybe I got lucky. Was it worth importing my car rather than buying one in Sweden (bearing in mind hassle and cost)? absolutely, as long as you prepare everything beforehand its really not much hassle at all. Once again, thanks Nick.
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Hisingen
post 9.Jan.2013, 04:46 PM
Post #13
Joined: 5.Jul.2012

It was very interesting reading of the latest methods of importing a car from the UK. All the subsequent niggling about RHD or LHD, front or rear drive aside.
When I came over with my Austin A40 Futura !! in 1960, I had only owned for about six months prior to moving. I had to leave a deposit (returnable) with customs of the equivalent of some £900 as a guarantee that I would not sell it for the next 12 months. Since it was classified as something akin to transfer of personal property there was no import duty to pay, only that deposit. Of course back then Sweden still drove on the left, so a UK car was fine. What was odd, though, was that virtually all the vehicles had LHD - even for left hand traffic. It was, however, a feature that made the 1967 changeover much less expensive. But when I had the car inspected and registered, at that time mudflaps were essential, and since the speedo was a dual scale one, fitting those flaps was all that was necessary. (No longer required today). I do believe that my costs - other than the deposit - were far, far lower than quoted by the OP. But back then Bilprovning did not exist as such, and my vehicle inspection for approval cost Kr35:- That was the cost later for Bilprovning's annual inspection when it was introduced in 1965. Whilst all the paperwork was being sorted out, I drove around on my UK plates and green card insurance. Once I was given the green light to get Swedish registration, the transition went very smoothly and quickly. My Reg. No. was for Bohuslän O855995 - the old county designation, as we once had back home, too.
Customs promptly returned my deposit at the completion of the 12 month period without my having to do anything about it.
I later changed that car for an MG 1300 - in the UK - in 1964, whilst we still drove on the left, but knowing that the change was planned, I had headlight units wherein the bulb could be turned to accommodate right hand traffic, and again the dual speedo markings was all that was required. But that car went back to the UK just prior to the right hand changeover, as I went in for a LHD car since it was by far the most convenient, especially when overtaking.
Quite clearly a vast amount has changed over 60 years. Some for the good, some not so good. Another thing I remember - just for the fun of it. A complete set of winter wheels - including spare - bought in the UK for the MG - set me back all of £27 10s 0d.
Those were the days - - -
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Pursuivant
post 9.Jan.2013, 05:06 PM
Post #14
Joined: 12.Aug.2008

QUOTE
For me, a small width, front wheel drive car will far out do any fancy wide wheeled, rear wheel drive, car

.

The only thing better is a rear-push car. wink.gif
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umVNbTeV6hA
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Hisingen
post 9.Jan.2013, 06:52 PM
Post #15
Joined: 5.Jul.2012

Hyvä on. But despite a comment saying 'hyvä laulu' I couldn't comment on the song.
Back in '70 they clearly had need for something extra, other than horsepower. Thank goodness we haven't seen that much snow here this year. In fact here on the west coast we have had less than in the UK, and less rain also.
I wonder which model car available in the UK would truly be suitable for just those roads - today. Bearing in mind that UK winter tyres are often nothing less than normal summer variety.
How do you find snippets like these??
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