Importing a Mercedes Fire Truck - Exempt from Duty if you modify the truck?

Keyne

Adventurer
I have been researching importing a MB Fire Truck and have learned that fire trucks are exempt from the 25% (gasp) import duty (if 25 years or older). I have also read that if you convert it to an expedition camper in Germany the date changes to the current date (e.g. 1985 Fire Truck with a new expo cabin build in 2020 is now a 2020 vehicle).

However, what if you buy the truck and have some modifications to the chassis made (e.g. paint, super singles, remove the firetruck equipment, work on the cab, add a cabin frame, etc.) in Europe, and import that truck without the cabin... does it remain a fire truck for import purposes or does it need to come into the US as an actual fire truck?
 

Joe917

Explorer
In Canada it is 15 years, the USA 25 years. You cannot import a newer truck.
There is 6.1% non NAFTA duty plus provincial/state and federal tax.
$6000 to $10000 shipping plus all expenses related to viewing and inspecting vehicles (if that is even possible at the moment).
 

Joe917

Explorer
Unimog sold for a few years (Freightliner) in the USA it is possible that those years may be importable. Good luck digging up that info!
 

Sitec

Adventurer
I have been researching importing a MB Fire Truck and have learned that fire trucks are exempt from the 25% (gasp) import duty (if 25 years or older)....
Hello. Assuming you are in America, have you seen the post 'Portland 1222AF Adventures'? He's just imported two, and he plans to sell one.... If the truck he has for sale is not of interest, then he might have the info you are after... :)
 

bulya

Member
I have been researching importing a MB Fire Truck and have learned that fire trucks are exempt from the 25% (gasp) import duty (if 25 years or older). I have also read that if you convert it to an expedition camper in Germany the date changes to the current date (e.g. 1985 Fire Truck with a new expo cabin build in 2020 is now a 2020 vehicle).

However, what if you buy the truck and have some modifications to the chassis made (e.g. paint, super singles, remove the firetruck equipment, work on the cab, add a cabin frame, etc.) in Europe, and import that truck without the cabin... does it remain a fire truck for import purposes or does it need to come into the US as an actual fire truck?

Did you end up importing fire truck in US?

As I understand - when you import a Fire truck - it is tax free. Are there any issues with converting it into RV after you registered it in the US?
 

Joe917

Explorer
I have just sold our truck, The Heffalump to a US buyer.
These truck imports are always case by case.
Our truck was a 1993 MB917AF chassis built as a motorhome on a brand new chassis in 1994.
Imported to Canada in 2013.
Imported to the US in 2021. Assessed duty 2.5%
A truck or bare chassis will be 25%, a motorhome is 2.5%
The problem is if you buy a 25 year old truck and have it converted into a motorhome in Europe, is it a 25 year old motorhome?
Once imported there are many builders who have reclassified their trucks as motorhomes.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
This is always a case by case lottery. So many conflicting regulations which can be correctly interpreted many different ways. Same day you can walk into 3 different offices and get 3 different/conflicting interpretations but one thing seems to emerge over the past 10 years. Things like emergency and military vehicles were exempt from the safety and emissions regulations a regular truck has to meet. This is why some states, Texas and Colorado plus others are only allowing parade licensing for military vehicles and some states, Texas are no longer issueing new licenses kit cars like dune buggies, not even the Meyers Manx.

I think this will become a national standard, if it was built exempt from safety or emissions regulations, it will become a crusher or museum or parade candidate.

Things like import tax or duty are the result of the UAW protecting American jobs. Mostly for new vehicle sales but misinterpreted by the customs import tax guy to include anything less than 100 years old. This is why we don't get the fabulous trucks the rest of the world does. The Chicken Tax protecting UAW jobs is the bible for UAW workers.
 
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terra-exp

Supporting Sponsor / Approved Vendor
I have been researching importing a MB Fire Truck and have learned that fire trucks are exempt from the 25% (gasp) import duty (if 25 years or older). I have also read that if you convert it to an expedition camper in Germany the date changes to the current date (e.g. 1985 Fire Truck with a new expo cabin build in 2020 is now a 2020 vehicle).

However, what if you buy the truck and have some modifications to the chassis made (e.g. paint, super singles, remove the firetruck equipment, work on the cab, add a cabin frame, etc.) in Europe, and import that truck without the cabin... does it remain a fire truck for import purposes or does it need to come into the US as an actual fire truck?

Hello,
we have imported several trucks from Germany, in several stages. If you need truck, conversion and help we can offer you our service. Contact me if you have questions.
Thank you.
Martin
 

CFQ-580

New member
Did anyone get any clarification on this? If importing a 25+ year old MB Fire Truck to the USA from Europe is still exempt from duty if it has been modified (or converted to a camper)? TY

 

sprocket3

Adventurer
Did anyone get any clarification on this? If importing a 25+ year old MB Fire Truck to the USA from Europe is still exempt from duty if it has been modified (or converted to a camper)? TY

A fire truck it duty free. A camper or chassis would no longer be a fire truck, so i think you should budget for that. See PDF
 

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At least in 2006, the duty on campers was 2.5%. The duty on my chassis was zero since it had already been legally imported into the US by Freightliner.
It took US Customs in Jacksonville a full 4 business days to pull their heads out of another orifice and figure that out. Which is just one of the many reasons (I’ve had other horrifying experiences) why I recommend us amateur one-off vehicle shippers avoid US ports at all costs and use Halifax instead.
 

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