<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Grand Total:
I can understand why you (and your wife) want to take your Odyssey with you, I would too, but I wouldn't do it. Main problems as I see it are:
1. Shipping costs and possible damage both ways.
2. Insurance costs will be very high for a vehicle of this size and power with very high parts costs. Having a steering wheel on the wrong side will likely double your premium which will be astronomical anyway unless you can find an insurer willing to credit you for your US driving experience.
3. Parts availability may or may not be a problem, other Honda models share the same parts but anything specifically Odyssey will be a problem. Are you prepared to have the van unavailable while you have parts expensively and or slowly freighted to you.
4. You say there are other Odysseys advertised in the area you are going to, did you stop and ask yourself why they are for sale? My guess is that their owners are fed up with the high cost of even simple maintenance, insurance etc., not to mention the cost of shipping it back to the US. Don't forget that you will have a very limited pool of potential buyers i.e. only families returning to the US, nobody local will be interested in it.
I wish you the best of luck if you do decide to take it, just keep your fingers crossed.
[This message has been edited by Grand Total (edited 03-08-2002).]</font>
Very good points, but as a member of the armed forces, we have a couple of advantages.
1. Shipping costs (and all moving costs) are paid for by Uncle Sam. It would be the same if your company decided to relocate you to Europe (or back). You would expect them to foot the bill wouldn't you? The Air Force will pay for us to ship one car there and one car back. As for damage en route, I'm afraid that's a risk we take and that's what insurance is for.
2. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES). This organization, independent of the military, runs our on-base "department store" (the Base Exchange or BX), as well as the base gas station, service station, barber shop, dry cleaners, Burger King, auto parts store, and others. They also have a car sales program. In addition, there are several car dealerships in the local area who cater to the American military. If worse came to worst, I'd still be able to trade it in.
3. As far as parts, AAFES can get us parts (although it might be slow). I was told the best solution is to have a reliable family member be prepared to buy and ship parts. I have two such people I can rely on. We do plan to buy a second (UK specification) car, so if the Ody goes out we won't be completely helpless.
4. Our sponsor in England (the person helping us coordinate our move), said to bring the van. People (US military folks) drive all sorts of vehicles over there and apparently handle all these issues.
5. This is a Honda after all. We buy Hondas for their reliability (certainly not for their car salesmanship). Sure something might go wrong and I will certainly need parts (even for oil changes), but I think with the military support we get, it's manageable.
There are some things you bring up that I can't argue about right now:
1. Insurance costs. I've been meaning to talk to my insurance company (which does provide coverage over there and which even has an office on base) about the increased costs, but I just haven't gotten around to it. I guess if many other people do it, it can't be that exorbitant.
2. Left-hand drive. I am nervous about hugging the curb when I drive and not having the normal visibility when I go to pass someone on a narrow two-lane road, but I'll just increase my patience level and not pass as much as I would here. I've driven in England before (if only for a week), and I was able to handle the roundabouts and the left-hand stick shift without any problems. Although I'd rather not be in the situation I'm in, I think I have sufficient driving skill to handle it. I'll just have to remember I'm a foreigner in a foreign land driving a very foreign car and to drive very defensively.
To be honest, in my heart I'd rather sell this car, get some fun UK spec car to drive for three years, then come back and get a brand new Ody. But it's just not very practical to do that when I have a great, reliable car right now. We love our Ody and plan to continue loving it for years to come.