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Old 11-27-2014, 04:38 PM   #1
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Sprinter avoid chicken tax

In case you didn't know:

Sprinters are built in Dusseldorf, Germany completely assembled and tested. They are then disassembled with workers stripping out drivetrains and fuel systems. Vehicle bodies are shipped on one ship, the other parts are shipped on a second ship. Once they arrive in Charleston they are trucked to Ladson, S.C. where they are reassembled with the drivetrains and fuel systems installed in the van they were originally taken from. Bolts and other hardware that should only be torqued once are replaced with new German parts. Each van is fully tested before being sent to a dealer or up fitter (such as Airstream). Total time to reassemble the van is about three to four hours.

Why? To avoid a 25 percent chicken tax.
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Old 11-27-2014, 05:11 PM   #2
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Interesting info - but what does "Chicken" tax mean?

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Old 11-27-2014, 05:25 PM   #3
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The "chicken tax" is basically the import tariff that would be imposed if the unit came fully assembled to the US. The reassembly in the US guarantees a percentage of"US" fabrication. Frankly, I view this as pure BS......but it's the way the law works.
One source indicated that not all Sprinters are disassembled...it depends upon the percentage of US work (cost) in the final product...apparently (or so the source said) the Airstream up-fitting cost is sufficient to allow the Sprinter to be shipped directly to Airstream without disassembly.....but this sounds like even more BS.....I guess I am getting more cynical as I get older......
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Old 11-27-2014, 05:51 PM   #4
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Before almost all Japanese vehicles were built in North America Japanese manufactures used to do this primarily with their pick up trucks to avoid high import duties.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:30 PM   #5
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Just another example of too much gov't.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toskeysam View Post
The "chicken tax" is basically the import tariff that would be imposed if the unit came fully assembled to the US. The reassembly in the US guarantees a percentage of"US" fabrication. Frankly, I view this as pure BS......but it's the way the law works.
One source indicated that not all Sprinters are disassembled...it depends upon the percentage of US work (cost) in the final product...apparently (or so the source said) the Airstream up-fitting cost is sufficient to allow the Sprinter to be shipped directly to Airstream without disassembly.....but this sounds like even more BS.....I guess I am getting more cynical as I get older......
Actually the only u.s. supplied component in the sprinter van is the battery (batteries). As for shipping in cab and chassis vehicles for conversion into motor homes, not sure. But, the imputed value for a sprinter is about $35000 so a 25 percent tax would add more than 8 grand to the total.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:46 PM   #7
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The dis-assembly and reassembly adds cost. If the tax was more reasonable, then the Sprinter would cost less and the gov't would get some dough out of the deal. The cost to the consumer could be the same as that's who pays all taxes anyway.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:57 PM   #8
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Yup. For years Toyota pickup trucks were shipped without the bed and tailgate. Those parts were made in the USA and assembled in Fremont, CA. The color of those parts was not quite identical to the rest of the truck.

Now most Toyotas are actually assembled from parts in the US. My Camry was fully built in Tennessee.


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Old 11-27-2014, 08:10 PM   #9
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The rest of the story:
The reason it is called "chicken tax" is that it was passed in retaliation for a tax that the Germans imposed in the early '60s on the import of American chickens, as a result of alleged dumping.
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:18 PM   #10
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Yup. For years Toyota pickup trucks were shipped without the bed and tailgate. Those parts were made in the USA and assembled in Fremont, CA. The color of those parts was not quite identical to the rest of the truck.


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Old 11-27-2014, 10:08 PM   #11
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Just another example of too much gov't.
Or perhaps not enough of the right kind, looking out for the right people.
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Old 11-27-2014, 10:40 PM   #12
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Sprinter avoid chicken tax

Airstream's Sprinters are not disassembled. They come in complete through Baltimore. Same for the Sprinter vans converted by Winnebago into ERAs. I got this info from a Mercedes executive at a Sprinter test event last year. I also understand Roadtrek also gets complete vans, but then they are in Canada. All three of these major B-van converters get vans with window cutouts, but no glass installed on the sides. They are shipped from Germany with a white shrink wrap material covering the side window openings.
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Old 11-28-2014, 12:02 PM   #13
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or perhaps not enough of the right kind, looking out for the right people.
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Old 11-28-2014, 12:10 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
Airstream's Sprinters are not disassembled. They come in complete through Baltimore. Same for the Sprinter vans converted by Winnebago into ERAs. I got this info from a Mercedes executive at a Sprinter test event last year. I also understand Roadtrek also gets complete vans, but then they are in Canada. All three of these major B-van converters get vans with window cutouts, but no glass installed on the sides. They are shipped from Germany with a white shrink wrap material covering the side window openings.
Thanks for the additional info. RU on the auto beat? FYI, I've spent decades as an auto writer, mag editor and analyst so you comment about the Mercedes exec got my attention.
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