Getting a 78MPG Diesel into the USA - Fuelly Forums

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Old 02-01-2007, 07:37 AM   #1
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Getting a 78MPG Diesel into the USA

What would it take to get either a 3-cylinder Audi A2 or VW Lupo into this country? Granted, I am aware that newer models have been discontinued, however, if you were to look on EbayUK.com, they are still fairly common to find. Along with that, what sort of obstacles would be faced?

For sometime now, I've been looking at the stats of either vehicle and the curb weight for both cars is around 2100lbs at 78MPG US gallons. That's about the same weight as my 98 Honda Civic CX. The point in mentioning, is that even if I were not able to get either car into the country, then I would be willing to consider buying the engine, transmission, gearbox, ECU, etc. while attempting a transplant into hauled out Honda VX or Crx HF. Just to be clear, the idea of an actual transplant is for now speculatory at best; but can you imagine the added MPG that would be gained if it could push 1700LBS CRX HF?
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Old 02-01-2007, 08:02 AM   #2
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All the Lupos on UK eBay look to be gasoline. It would be incredibly difficult and not worth your time or money to get the car LEGALLY registered for legal driving here in the US.

I don't recommend it, but it COULD be possible to get the car into the country then register it as something else, but this is HIGHLY illegal and you shouldn't do it.

Purchasing a powertrain and setting it up in another vehicle sounds like the best option.

Currently diesel in my area is about 25% more expensive than gasoline (about $1.95 compared to $2.40 per gallon). Taking prices into comparison, you'd spend the same on fuel on a gasoline car that gets about 63 MPG as you would on the 78 MPG diesel.
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Old 02-01-2007, 08:04 AM   #3
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I think that the Lupo isn't rated for US safety standards, so it will be next to impossible to get it into the country.

I would love to see a transplant though, but it would definately be a ton of work. It might be much easier to transplant the lupo powerplant into an old jetta.
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Old 02-01-2007, 08:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaX View Post
All the Lupos on UK eBay look to be gasoline. It would be incredibly difficult and not worth your time or money to get the car LEGALLY registered for legal driving here in the US.

I don't recommend it, but it COULD be possible to get the car into the country then register it as something else, but this is HIGHLY illegal and you shouldn't do it.

Purchasing a powertrain and setting it up in another vehicle sounds like the best option.

Currently diesel in my area is about 25% more expensive than gasoline (about $1.95 compared to $2.40 per gallon). Taking prices into comparison, you'd spend the same on fuel on a gasoline car that gets about 63 MPG as you would on the 78 MPG diesel.
Actually, the Lupos in Europe are both diesel and gasoline, or "petrol" as the British like to call it. Recently, I had found a complete engine for a 1.0 liter 3-cylinder Lupo on EbayUK.com, but as state earlier, I would most likely need the complete drive train, and ECU to achieve the desired fuel ecomomy. Lately, however, I've been having problems trying to find a repair manual for the Lupo and Audi A2. Know where I can get one?
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:55 AM   #5
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I wouldn't want to set up the 1.2L TDI/CVT, but a smaller four cylinder 1.4L TDI/manual transmission/fixins is available for $3500 from importers iirc. That being said, a 1.9L TDI in a Rabbit in good shape should net ~75mpg@50mph, about the same as a lean burn Honda hatch. The difference being in top gear, cruising below 50mph, the diesel whips on the Honda, and in top gear above 50mph, the Honda whips on the diesel. I bet going Basjoos on a Rabbit with a TDI could yield some insane mileage numbers... The manual may not be out for some time, relatively new cars, and low volume.
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:27 PM   #6
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I thought they cant come here cuss of emmisions so that would be the hard part
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:33 PM   #7
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For a swap, emissions are done on a state by state basis, but if you already have a diesel, I doubt they'll care about putting a newer/cleaner one in. In CA, there is no inspection, just pay reg and you're done.
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I think if i could get that type of FE i would have no problem driving a dildo shaped car.
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:25 PM   #8
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For the USA, cars have to be 25 years old to get in. Canada isn't as bad - you can bring in 15 year old cars.
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Old 02-19-2007, 05:01 PM   #9
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"Kit" cars are another way. The major sticking points are the window glass, the brake hoses and the tires. These have to have DOT certification. Importing a shell with no glass, no driveline and no tires or brake hoses, should be much easier than bringing in a complete car. A second shipment of auto parts might just happen to contain glass, driveline and brake hoses to complete a homebuilt kit.
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Old 02-20-2007, 06:10 PM   #10
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It's NOT easy to do. I was looking into importing a Chevrolet Pop Joy from Mexico into the US. After all the research, I determined that there are only three ways I could do it legally.

1) Spend a LOT of money for a customs approved importer to go over the car and add bumper shocks and door beams and an exhaust system with a catalytic converter and air pump and an airbag system from a European Corsa and a bunch of other items to get it up to 1994 US EPA and USDOT standards. The importer estimated $5400 of work on a $2000 car, plus customs duties and other costs, and it would cost me close to $10K to end up with a 12-year old Corsa clone with no AC and a bunch of equipment it shouldn't have to have.

2) Import both a European Corsa and the Mexican Pop Joy and swap all the European parts over to the Mexican model and hope it's good enough for EPA and DOT. Estimated cost of this with the $2000 Mexican car, $2200 in parts, $1200 parts car, $1800 shipping, and customs duties and taxes and I was looking at OVER $10K for this $2000 beater car.

3) Move in Mexico for a few years, get dual citizenship, buy a Pop Joy down there, enjoy it for a year, renew the tags, bring it back to Texas, get it registered with the Mexican national exemption, then renounce my Mexican citizenship and have myself the car. Assuming I could get a job down there, and assuming I hadn't gotten married in May of 2005, this would be the cheapest way to do it. $2000 for the car, $500-$700 in Mexican and Texas title/registration/inspection fees, and $125 for a shop to throw on a universal cat converter.

It's a pain in the rear. Wait a LONG time, then get the car you want when it's 25 years old. *IF* you can find one then. For example, one of the cars I've loved all my life is the 1979-1982 Datsun 210 (known as B310, Sunny, and other names around the world). They made a 2-door sedan delivery version in Australia and the UK, and now that ALL of them are 25 years old, I might get one for myself if I can find one someday. Last one I saw was on the Oz eBay 2 years back and it sold for the equivalent of $1000. Of course it'd cost a mint to ship but I'd most definitely have the ONLY one in the US.
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