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Old 01-24-2017, 06:34 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 1
2016 Gray Market Mercedes in CA, Help!!!!

Hi All,
I hope someone can help me and I hope I'm posting this in the correct area. I just moved to CA after working for a Military base in Germany under the SOFA agreement. Bought a 2016 and had it "modified" to meet US safety standards, ie. bumpers, mirrors, etc. Was told that was all needed since German cars should meet CA EPA standards, but this was NOT given to me in writing. Nor was any type of sticker put under my car hood.
Now I'm unable to get a Smog check because VIN is not in US system. Referee says I have to own car for 2 years before it can be modified by some "lab" in Santa Ana. I was also told that German Mercedes never converted car's software to English, thus he can't check system and try to run smog. Mercedes dealer here initially told me they could install software and do a certificate showing it meets EPA standard. Unfortunately they need a list of what to check for and they are not allowed to make any changes until car is 2 years old.
Does anyone have any experience with this? I really can't afford a new car or even a used one at this time.
Thank you.

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Old 01-24-2017, 10:38 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 20,800
It might be easier to register it in a more lenient state (Utah?) then bring it with you when you "move" to California.

83 300SD
98 E320 wagon
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:03 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Carson City, NV
Posts: 3,790
The two year rule is a California thing. You can't register a car newer than two years in California unless it meets California emissions. I suspect the vehicle in question actually does meet California emission standards, but the OP needs a way to prove it.

Either that or register it in some more lenient state. This can be difficult to do legally, but if the OP is in the military or has a military spouse, it is probably possible to register the vehicle in the service member's home of record state.

Whoever said there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes never had a cheap Jaguar.

83 300D Turbo with manual conversion, early W126 vented front rotors and H4 headlights 367,xxx miles
08 Triumph Street Triple 30,xxx miles, lowered 10mm in front, Pirelli Angel GT tires, EBC HH brake pads, otherwise stock.
88 Jaguar XJS V12 93,xxx miles. I should be in the garage now.
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