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How to register a new car bought out-of-state in CA?

4633 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  jlvink
Hello All,

Thanks a ton for the information about ship schedule. I would appreciate some information regarding my specific situation in purchasing a new (never-before-titled) vehicle from Virginia (where I don't have any residence address) and get it freighted to California (where I live):

1. The dealer charges me my California county's sales tax (8.25%), and not Virginia sales tax (5% maybe?). From talking to the CA's DMV, when I register the car, I pay the difference in sales taxes. Would the sales tax "difference" in this case be 0 since I already paid 8.25% sales tax? (Yes, I do know about the 2% annual registration fee) The dealer said they charge 8.25% sales tax to have no problem with the state of California from their point of view. I will request the bill of sale which shows the amount they have charged when I take delivery of the car.

2. My friend just bought an MB from Michigan and he was kind of going through the same process. He said he had to get a temporary title in Michigan and now he holds a temporary registration in California. He's got some relative living in Michigan, but I don't have a relative living in another state. Is this "double-titling" always the case? Can the first titling of the car be done in California?

3. Any recommendations for covered freight shipment? So far I have talked to the Horseless Carriage, and was connected to a fairly pushy salesman. They do offer door-to-door service, though, although I can do door-to-center delivery, since their hub is only 30 miles away from where I live.

Again, all advice will be greatly appreciated. This will be my first Bimmer, although my dad has one.

Happy Motoring,
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I am doing the same routine as you only to Southern California. Go join AAA and they will take care of all of the registration problems for you. As far a shipping, I am using Passport Transport (800-325-4267) ask for Robert or Mike. The cost will be $1785 coast to coast in an enclosed truck. They insure the car (up to 100k)at replacement value and the shipping time is 7 to 10 days. They have been very reasonable and they ship door to door.

Hope this helps,


I bought a M5 from Missouri about 4 weeks ago. I did not pay any kind of state sales tax in Missouri and had it shipped to Calif.. Then you have to pay the state sales tax for your county(7.25%+). You have to have the car inspected by the DMV and have it smogged(believe it or not), so you can't do it at AAA. I used Transport Masters(561)988-1588 and was very pleased with the care and delivery of the car.

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