United States consumers love their zippy, fuel efficient scooters. For importers, that means both new and vintage scooters are a popular import for the busy upcoming holiday season. Hang on tight while we provide the road map to import scooters efficiently and properly.
How Scooters Rank on the U.S. Import List
Just how popular are scooters? In 2015, consumers in the United States purchased more than 500,000 new scooters and motorcycles, which is a 3.5 percent increase in total sales over the previous year.
Sales of new motorized scooters and motorcycles topped $2.2 billion in 2015, ranking them sixth out of the top 10 U.S. vehicle imports. Here’s the list so you can see how scooters match up on the U.S. import list:
- Cars $169.1 billion
- Auto parts/accessories $66.5 billion
- Trucks $23.5 billion
- Tractors $12.1 billion
- Trailers $3.3 billion
- Motorcycles/scooters $2.2 billion
- Bicycles $1.7 billion
- Motorcycle parts/accessories $1.5 billion
- Automobile bodies $984.4 million
- Public-transport vehicles $859.5 million
What Kind of Import Scooters are Popular?
Here are the top brands that should be on your new scooter import list:
- Honda (Japan)
- Yamaha (Japan)
- Vespa (Italy)
- Kymco (China)
- Roketa (China)
Faster Scooters Require More Paperwork
Motorized bikes or scooters with a seat that can go faster than 20 mph are subject to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. Whether those scooters are being imported for sale or personal use, this HS-7 form must be accompanied with those scooter imports.
Slower Scooters Import Faster
Do your scooter imports achieve a maximum speed of less than 20 mph? Are they meant exclusively for off-road use? Then we have good news for you. These scooter imports are not subject to DOT or EPA regulations.
These specific scooters instead will be inspected solely by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). While these scooters still require an HS-7 form, all you have to do is check Box 8 on the form. See how easy that was? Off-road vehicles must also be accompanied by an EPS 3520-21 form that can be found here.
Importing Vintage Scooters
Are you planning on importing vintage scooters? The vintage scooter market is in high demand too. Remember that most vintage scooters were made years ago and do not conform to today’s U.S. import standards. Vintage scooters must be brought into compliance before the import process begins or they could be exported or destroyed.
The EPA has detailed automotive facts manual for scooters that must meet certain U.S. emission requirements that can be requested by calling the EPA Import Hotline at (734) 214-4100.
Once your vintage scooter is brought into emission compliance, have valid proof of ownership with an original title and a bill of sale prior to filing for import clearance with the CBP. You will also be assessed up to a 2.4% duty, or tax, which is assessed based on the purchase price or blue book value of your used scooter.
For additional reference, utilize the CBP’s publication on Importing a Motor Vehicle.