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Ever since the latest S-Class has come out, I have had a hankering for the new S-Class. But the only problem is that it isn't in my price range. Thus, I considered the option of importing a US spec S-Class from abroad for really cheap. But what I found out that it is IMPOSSIBLE to legally get a US spec car from Europe without the consent/ intervention of MBUSA. <br>
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The S500 could NEVER be priced around $45,000 (advertised on Estate Autohaus) unless it was damaged, stolen, etc. The base price for the S-Class (referring to a standard wheelbase S320) is the equivalent of $45,000. For an S500 lwb, it is around $65,000.<br>
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Just to make sure that US spec cars are not easily available from Europe, I contacted a variety of legitimate auto brokers in Europe. All said that it was impossible to get a US model. I also talked to Mercedes-Benz UK and Mercedes-Benz Germany's Export Manager, who told me same thing. Even Mercedes-Benz UK's export division (www.mercedes-benz.co.uk/export) , which advertises to get any Mercedes-Benz in whichever specifications desired, told me that they could not get me a US spec model.<br>
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The reason why? All US spec cars from Mercedes-Benz have to have the ordering codes 491 and 494, for US spec and California spec requirements. Only dealers that have access to these codes are US Mercedes-Benz retailers and MBUSA. That's it. And, by the way, any car that is returned because the purchaser declined the purchase would go to the dealer in USA, not back to Europe, as the Estate Autohaus claims.<br>
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THE BAD NEWS<br>
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Also,regarding Estate Autohaus in particular, there are many hints about why this is a scam targeted to people wanting Mercedes-Benz and other luxury cars for cheap and are thus gullible:<br>
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1. The social security info and other personal information is not encrypted.<br>
2. Their future website is not even registered.<br>
3. Their e-mail comes from Bankok, Thailand. Never in the website is it mentioned that they have an office in Asia.<br>
4. Their shipping charge must be paid before - a very strange policy.<br>
5. A person who lives close to where the place supposedly is (in London) says that the address and 'Estate Autohaus' does not exist at all. No one in London has heard of 'Estate Autohaus' expect on the Internet.<br>
6. The listing of options is similar to how they do it for German spec cars, and certain colors and models are not available in the US. The TV tuner, for instance, is illegal for safety reasons and is thus not installed on US spec models.<br>
7. Look at their explanation - a 2% markup? That is not possible to run a business that way, especially for the S-Class, which priced at $65,000 below German new sticker price. By the way, UK car prices are more expensive in US. So it would make sense for a UK based organization to only offer UK spec models legitimately. The fact that they do not service UK clients, but are located in London is a very shady fact.<br>
8. After many complaints to the netfirms organization, they are looking into shutting down the site (however it is still up right now)<br>
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I must concede that the scammers at the 'Estate Autohaus' operation are very smart individuals indeed (in Bankok, Thailand). I have a hunch that by the English fluency and American English usage of these people, they are probably American immigrants to Thailand, trying to make crazy money through shipping costs, deposits, credit card information, social security information, and financial information of unwary customers, and then in turn purchase Mercedes-Benz and BMWs of their own. These people know that it is very hard to get US spec cars for cheap outside of the country. (On the other hand, one can easily purchase UK-spec, Australian spec, and Japanese spec, etc. easily in Germany. Its all about protecting MBUSA's profits). So what these scammers have done is to appeal to us by showing us super low prices and then telling us that we do not have to pay for the car until we see it, but we still need to give a deposit and shipping charges beforehand. So, as a result, they get all Americans' money and then give excuses and not give the car. And since they are located in Thailand, there will be hardly any (if any at all) help in getting your car or getting back your money once you commit!<br>
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So, in conclusion regarding the 'Estate Autohaus', it is a HOAX, and a SCAM. It’s quite unfortunate that we can’t get US spec cars from Europe at $20,000 of MSRP. Please just try to ignore the website and any tantalizing e-mails that you may receive from this company. Please feel free to contact the proper authorities if you can. And if you have placed an order with this company, please do anything you can to reverse the order before it is too late!!!!<br>
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THE GOOD NEWS<br>
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With all this craziness with the 'Estate Autohaus' running wild these past few days, many Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts must feel that buying Mercedes-Benz abroad (without MBUSA) is quite dangerous. However, that is not the case if the buyer is aware of the potential dangers and thus deals with the right people. <br>
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It is quite easy to get a new Mercedes-Benz of your choice at German list price (without the 16% VAT tax). The only (read only) catch is that it is not US spec, it is in German spec. Californians, please note that the state of California requires that the car be used (newest being Model Year 2000 at this point in time). The car has to be certified to US standards, which requires approx. $5000 to $8000 for a Model Year 1998 Mercedes-Benz and after to be modified.<br>
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Doing this would be the most beneficial for a E-Class Sedan, E-Class Wagon, S-Class, and SL-Class. And for best price savings, choosing a model with a slightly smaller engine might be a good idea. Just make sure that the engine is offered at least in some Mercedes-Benz model in US. For example, the E240 and S320 Standard and Long wheelbase models are popular exports to the US. Even though these models are not offered by MBUSA, the C-Class uses the same engine as E240, and a variety of other models use the same engine as S320. It is easy to find a low mileage E240 for about $28,000 and a nice, low mileage S320 for about $44,000.<br>
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I have a short list of auto brokers which are legitimate and willing to help.<br>
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IN GERMANY:<br>
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Soder Exports Germany Mercedes-Benz http://www.soder.de <br>
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Car Search Mercedes-Benz Exports (requires dealer password) http://www.carsearch.de<br>
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IN USA:<br>
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The American German Connection Inc. e-mail: [email protected]<br>
http://www.firstworldwide.com/autodeal.htm<br>
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Note: I have talked to the people at this company and it looks very promising for ordering new Mercedes-Benz (German spec) from Germany as well as well maintained used cars from Germany. They will price a car for you on the phone or look through inventories in Germany for you. Since the company is in US (in New Jersey), financing should be an easier prospect. <br>
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REGARDING USED MERCEDES-BENZ FROM GERMANY:<br>
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Used Mercedes-Benz cars from Germany tend to be in very good condition, especially if they are 1 or 2 years old. Known as 'Jahreswagen' many Mercedes-Benz cars are given to employees for low costs and then sold after 1 year or so to the public with good discounts. Something to consider, especially for interested people from California. Also contact the American German Connection Inc. for more info on this.<br>
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Used Mercedes-Benz from reputable Mercedes-Benz retailers in Germany is available from the following sources:<br>
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MERCEDES-BENZ GERMANY http://www.mercedes-benz.com or<br>
http://www.mercedes-benz.de<br>
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Go to used cars and enter in information for search.<br>
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MOBILE.DE http://www.mobile.de<br>
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A good way to search stocks across Germany for Mercedes-Benz. Enter in requirements. The English language option has been moved, but the German words used are not that hard to figure out based on the options given and layout.<br>
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NOTE: FOR US IMPORTATION INFORMATION,<br>
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go to http://www.epa.gov, http://www.dot.gov, for more information.<br>
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Sorry for the long message but hope it helps,<br>
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Jason<br>
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