No announcement yet.

Planning to import and sell Kit Cars (Help needed please)

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Planning to import and sell Kit Cars (Help needed please)

    I am planning to start a Kit Car business in USA. i already got a company here registered to do some Engineering services but I want to start selling Kit cars under my company name.
    I am planning to import kit cars from a different country and sell them here in USA. What licenses and certifications do i need to do import and sell kit cars here in USA.
    I need complete details and help starting this business. Thank you for advance and i am grateful to you

  • #2
    Falcon, This Forum is no place to seek such critical information on such a grand venture. The advice here is going to be worth just exactly what you paid for it when it comes to basing million dollar decisions on it. Depending on what models you intend to import, start with SEMA and the Low Volume Act.


    • #3
      depending on what you are selling ,get a new company name just for the cars,& inc. or llc it in find a import broker ,near a shipping yard and give them a signed form to be your broker agent with power of attorney for all the companies imports coming into the USA ,THIS WAY they will be the contact person for customs after it clear ,then you go pay them and drive directly to the warehouse and pick up the crate/box your self ,this will save a few hundred ,they handle all the paper work and you pay the broker to do so. your existing business need to stay under it,s own umbrella ,get a phone for the car stuff ,what ever you selling.
      Last edited by ITALIANKNIGHTRIDER; 07-10-2019, 10:13 PM.
      In the USA if you pay a company / person to start a plug, then it,s your plug and work ,it is not theirs to sell or trade !!


      • #4
        I echo what Italian KR has said. Iíve had the same experience.

        I would also recommend that the kit NOT be a replica of anything else. Otherwise you stand the risk of having the parts impounded and eventually trashed. A bit like trying to bring in copy handbags or watches from overseas.

        As an individual, you might be willing to take the risk, but as a business with maybe 5 or more kits being shipped per container, you could quickly lose a lot of money and find yourself with a caution (at best) or worse (sharing your soap with someone not of your choosing). Again, if you think of it like someone with fake handbags, as an individual you might have it taken away from you, as a business they are not going to be so lenient. This is currently in the process of being tightened up from an import standpoint.

        You may also want to look into liabilities depending on state. Kits wonít have the required safety testing etc, so you as a supplier (again rather than an individual) you may want to declare that they are for show use only or other weasel words to stop someone claiming from you if they run a pedestrian over and break their legs etc.
        As mentioned before, the SEMA group would be a good place to start researching.

        Also, if you are looking into complete kits, rather than body panel kits, it might be worth finding out what it takes to be able to supply your own vin in your state. This has been a god send to me in the past.

        Iíve imported kits from the UK and currently have a kit that came through China.

        Edit: if you are looking to import completed kits, I donít think that is going to be easy. Even if itís 25yrs old, unless itís registered as a car from that kit manufacturer (and then it may be problematic) I donít think you have much chance.
        Modified 25yr old land rovers are difficult to get in.
        Last edited by MunkyKing; 07-10-2019, 11:00 PM.


        • #5
          You can import as many unassembled kit parts as you like and it doesn’t matter if they are replica looking in apoearance , as there is nothing wrong with importing say 50 Lamborghini replica bumpers for collision repair .

          The problems are Trying to import a car , besides the replica issues there are epa and doT issues , so
          Just don’t ship them as assembled cars. Assembly should take place here in USA


          • #6
            Thank you everyone for your immediate replies. I really appreciate it. I should have been clearer with my question. I will try to be clearer and explain my problem.
            I am a Mechanical Engineer and a car enthusiastic. I worked really hard for last 5 years in designing and engineering my own super car. I can’t wait to share my work pictures with everyone. Once it is done I will share all the pictures and specifications. So I got my own designs which are almost ready for production. My own company and logo. I will be using other car parts with my own designs.
            About Manufacturing:
            I have a small manufacturing unit in a different country so I will be manufacturing the body parts of the car there. I want to ship the Engine and transmission from USA to my home country where my manufacturing plant is located so I can finish the whole car over there and ship it to USA.
            What I need:
            1. I already have US exporting license from my home country which I exported some cars to US for few customers. But I don’t have any knowledge on US importing license, rules and regulations.
            2. As I am buying the engine and transmission and all major mechanical parts from US so my car will be drivable here in US.
            3. I already got a company registered in US but I don’t know what licenses I need to sell these cars. I am planning to sell these cars as turnkey kit cars or sell the Exterior and interior body parts with chassis so people can buy and install their own stuff.

            Please help me. Thank you in advance.


            • #7
              Falcon, With that business model, you have gone to a lot of trouble in order to cause yourself a lot of trouble. Once you have shipped an engine and drivetrain from the USA to your country and installed it, you have just created the reason it will not be allowed back into the USA. Look at the Superformance business model. They have no problem importing cars without a drivetrain, then an "Assembler", not a "Manufacturer", completes the car. I could be wrong about this second part, again take it for what you paid for it and do not make any substantial decisions based on it, but I think you are still going to need an ISO Certified Manufacturers Licence no matter what country you are in or what country you sell to.


              • #8
                it,s going to be difficult,if your plan is to sell turnkeys, not impossible but difficult ,you need crash test data, american approved glass, lights,rear view mirror, door mirrors, standard jack, seatbelt test ,brake test stopping distance,ETC. ,IT WOULD BE BETTER TO HAVE a junk yard engine & transmission sent oversea,s to mock up with and then do everything to the car except install engine and transmission their, bring it as a kit car roller ,to the USA ,no engine or transmission installed ,then install engine & transmission in the USA, this will be very quick to get into the USA ,mount the engine and transmission,HERE , this way it considered a component car, not a turn key. BIG difference !!

                Last edited by ITALIANKNIGHTRIDER; 07-11-2019, 04:07 PM.
                In the USA if you pay a company / person to start a plug, then it,s your plug and work ,it is not theirs to sell or trade !!


                • #9
                  this is how the Ultima kit car can be shipped all over the world, it,s a component car,the customer install the engine & transmission of choice and register the components in his or her state or location and they are responsible for all these components functioning properly.on a " side note " if something go wrong with this new kit car business ,tied to or under your current existing business ,or you get sued, you lose the current business too.JUST SO YOU UNDERSTAND !! get a kit car company name & paper work.
                  Last edited by ITALIANKNIGHTRIDER; 07-11-2019, 04:19 PM.
                  In the USA if you pay a company / person to start a plug, then it,s your plug and work ,it is not theirs to sell or trade !!


                  • #10
                    i am giving the best information i have with the information you have supplied ,turnkeys have liabilities ,component cars transfer this to the customer and his or her work and or the shop of choice that work for them.
                    In the USA if you pay a company / person to start a plug, then it,s your plug and work ,it is not theirs to sell or trade !!


                    • #11
                      manufacture all the components and assemble them together ,no engine or transmission
                      In the USA if you pay a company / person to start a plug, then it,s your plug and work ,it is not theirs to sell or trade !!


                      • #12
                        after 4 post ,this forum stopped me from posting live or private messages
                        In the USA if you pay a company / person to start a plug, then it,s your plug and work ,it is not theirs to sell or trade !!


                        • #13
                          Listen to what everyone is telling you , do not install the drivetrain overseas . You can keep one drivetrain in the foreign country to make sure the car works properly , but then remove it and import the kit. The final installation of the drivetrain must occur in USA


                          • #14
                            Thank you everyone for you valuable inputs and information.


                            • #15
                              Again Italian KR is correct. The best way is no engine or trans in the car to ship it over.
                              Also true about liabilities.

                              Mk1 Lotus exiges may or may not, have been brought into the US by this very method... with engines by different shipment and then the engine from car A, put into car B, the engines having receipts from a different person who sold the chassis. Cough, cough.

                              In your case, if the frame is not related to any donor (scratch built) you could have it all built and assembled, engine and trans pulled, shipped to the US in separate cases (preferred but not essential) with invoices and receipts from different entities.

                              Supply such to customer for easy assembly or find a third party willing to assemble.

                              Otherwise the testing that is required for even a low volume car will make your head spin. Door lock testing for theft anyone? Not to mention big cost tests like crash testing etc as IKR mentioned.

                              Registration of such cars can get interesting.
                              One instance took me 9 months of to and fro with the department of public safety. Itís good to understand the rules for the first state that will give you the new vin.
                              I was told multiple times that in this case, the car was a race car and not suitable for road.

                              Luckily there is no definition for race car in either the insurance database or in our local statutes. I built the car according to the local statutes and therefore, they eventually gave in.
                              Last edited by MunkyKing; 07-13-2019, 11:15 AM.


                              Unconfigured Ad Widget