Okay, so a while back you arrived in Schweinfurt. Maybe you bought a beater for a few thousand bucks. Or maybe you took advantage of the overseas price incentives and purchased something new at a local dealership. Of course, you may have had ole Betsy shipped here. Regardless, you got your set of wheels and were off exploring Europe.
Now, fast forward to the present. The garrison is closing. Brigades are casing and you have to PCS in a few months. You have a privately owned vehicle (POV) on your hands. Question: What do you do with the vehicle you purchased or had shipped here?
Hey, my name is Capt. Sarah Smith and I’m the Provost Marshall at USAG Schweinfurt. I’m in charge of the Military Police in Schweinfurt. But I also deal with abandoned cars. In the past this has been one of the biggest headaches for U.S. bases closing in Europe.
You might be thinking this: “Who cares? I won’t find anyone to buy my car. I definitely don’t want to ship it to the States, and I don’t want to pay a disposal fee. I’ll just leave it behind and no one will know any better.”
Whoa! Definitely the wrong answer. Abandoned vehicles, both off- and on-post, are monitored by the German Polizei and our Military Police. In addition, tenant units are not allowed to clear a Soldier if the he or she has a registered vehicle that has NOT been shipped, scrapped or sold.
Abandoning a POV violates German law and USAREUR Regulations 190-1 and 600-1. It is punishable under the UCMJ and may serve as the basis for adverse administrative action. In short: don’t abandon your car. The ghost of your abandoned vehicle will haunt you. You’ll face charges, whether monetarily or legally. But don’t worry. Here in Schweinfurt we have options for you. We’re going to help but we need your help too.
You can donate your car to the MWR strip lot and Auto Skill Center. This lot provides much-needed parts to those using the center. What isn’t used is scrapped, but not before the vehicle’s hazardous fluids are disposed of properly as per German law. That disposal costs money. Therefore, there is a $60 disposal fee for donating your car to the strip lot.
If your car is non-operational or in need of towing, the MWR Towing Service will tow within the Schweinfurt area for a $40 fee. Simply call DSN 353-8224, CIV 09721-96-8224 to set up a date and time.
After donating your car, make sure you have filled out AE Form 190-1Z-R, which is your proof of vehicle donation to MWR and is necessary when out processing. AE Form 190-1Z-R is available at the MWR Strip Lot.
Another option is to sell your car. There are two routes with this option: selling to an U.S. DOD ID holder or a non-ID holder.
To sell to another ID holder, you can post your vehicle for sale on a number of sources. The first place to post can be various pages on Facebook. There’s the Schweinfurt Car Lot Facebook page, for example, if you’d like to sell to someone in the Schweinfurt community. Just remember one thing. It’s going to be more difficult to sell to ID cardholders in Schweinfurt since, due to closure, more people will be leaving than arriving. So don’t forget to look to other nearby enduring garrisons for a possible ID-holding buyer. Both Bookoo.com and the Stripes.com classifieds are great resources to list your car, allowing you to connect to other garrisons in and around Bavaria that may have a number of incoming soldiers and families looking for cars.
Once you find a buyer, the process is as simple as getting your vehicle inspected, changing the registration, and transferring the title. For more detailed information, visit the Vehicle Registration webpage.
There will also be a Community Used Car & Flea Market Sale held on Aug. 24 at Lee Street on Askren Manor. Vehicle Registration will be open during this event so participants can finalize and transfer ownership immediately. People wishing to sell their car must ensure they have completed a vehicle inspection prior to the event. Please contact FMWR for more information by calling 354-6762, DSN 09721-96-6762, CIV.
If you are selling to a non-ID holder, such as a dealer on the economy, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, US spec cars cannot be sold to a non-ID holder. Another very important piece of the process is visiting the Military customs office, where you will obtain a “Permit to Transfer” form known as the AE Form 550-175B. Next step is to visit Schweinfurt’s German customs Office (Zollamt), located at Londonstraße 24, 97424 Schweinfurt, Tel: 09721-949060. After doing that, stop by the Vehicle Registration office on Conn to de-register your car and then you can complete your sale. Specific step by step information can be found within this handy brochure.
You can also ship your vehicles to the States. If you bought your car from a dealer in Europe—such as Volvo, BMW, Audi or Volkswagen—most of these companies have their own independent shipping programs valid for up to five years after the vehicle’s purchase. Be sure to call your respective dealership as soon as you receive your orders to set up a shipping plan.
If you bought your vehicle from the Exchange New Car Sales, had it shipped from the States or bought it from another ID holder, contact the POV shipping office, also known as TRANS CAR. The Army will pick up the fee of having one of your vehicles shipped. Find more information about shipping your POV back to the States here.
There are a number of regulations about prepping your car for international shipping. So be sure to check with your service provider about these in order to ensure that the strict guidelines have been followed. Keep all important documents before, during and after the out-processing period. Important documents include the bill of sale, lien information and vehicle registration. Do not pack these in your household goods!
No matter which option you choose, if there is a lein or a lease on your car, a written release from the lien holder authorizing the shipping, selling or scrapping of your vehicle is required. Detailed information on all of the above options can be found here.
Remember: If you abandon your vehicle it just becomes somebody else’s problem. And most likely the charges or UCMJ will find you. But by planning now, being proactive and keeping a tab on your vehicle records, you can take care of the community, yourself and your vehicle prior to your PCS.