Auto Enthusiasts Start Petition To Change Federal Grey Market Exemption Period

By Carl Malek

A small group of dedicated automotive enthusiasts have begun a “We The People” petition to try and urge the federal government to change the way it enforces “Grey Market” vehicles entering U.S shores. For folks that are unfamiliar with the term, these are vehicles that are legally imported from other countries through various third party channels other than those of the official manufacturer in question.

Current grey vehicle policy dictates that any vehicle that is imported to the U.S must be able to comply with federal safety and emissions standards unless the vehicle is 25 years or older. While this does serve to exempt older vehicles, the petition creators state that this same policy makes the importation of newer more desirable vehicles (such as recent Nissan Skyline models and other non U.S spec vehicles) virtually impossible.

The creators of the petition also state that the 25 year or older rule was originally developed at the request of automakers such as Mercedes Benz which had an issue with grey market models during the 1980’s. During that time period, the company chose to only bring the then new 380SEL sedan to American shores and saved the more desirable 500SEL variant for the rest of the world’s markets. As a result of this decision, a strong grey market demand emerged for the more powerful model, with an estimated 22,000 vehicles arriving in the United States in a single year through various outside channels. This ultimately caused the company to encourage lawmakers to close the door on grey vehicle imports.

For its part, The White House has agreed to respond to any “We The People” petition effort that manages to gather at least 25,000 signatures in a month. As of this writing, this particular petition movement has managed to only gather just under 7,400 signatures – well short of the 25,000 signatures needed for the White House to respond. Perhaps one day the laws regarding newer grey market vehicles will indeed change. Until then, enthusiasts interested in bringing there dream cars to these shores will be in for a long wait.

If you’d like to view the actual petition – or put your virtual signature on it – click here.

Author: Carl Malek

Carl Malek is Autosavant’s resident German car fanatic and follower of all things General Motors. Carl first entered the world of automotive journalism as a freelance photographer during his freshman year of college before making the switch to automotive writing several years later. Carl developed an interest in cars at an early age, which helped him overcome the challenges of a learning disability in mathematics. In addition to writing for Autosavant community, Carl also contributes to many car forums and enjoys attending automotive events in the Metro Detroit area with his family. Carl’s message for others with learning disorders is to believe in yourself, be persistent, and face all challenges head on.

Share This Post On


  1. Shouldn’t it be “petiton to change”?

  2. D’oh! Editorial blunder. Thanks for catching it.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.