40+ Imported Defenders seized by Homeland Security Today (developing story)

proper4wd

Expedition Leader
I think LRNA's position is that they are fighting the "dilution" of the Defender namesake and marketplace in preparation of launching the "new" Defender here in a few years time.

I know - they are completely different vehicles that in theory serve completely different buyers. But, LRNA did a great job making an icon out of the Defender when they stopped importing them after 3 years. And, with ownership rights of the name "Defender", it serves them to do what they can to protect the aura surrounding their icon on the eve of the launch of a new model with the same name.

I'm not saying that I agree with the above - in an ideal world we would all love car makers like LR to serve their enthusiasts first and their bottom line second. But, it's business.
 

Abu Buckwheat

warrior-scholar-shooter
I think LRNA's position is that they are fighting the "dilution" of the Defender namesake and marketplace in preparation of launching the "new" Defender here in a few years time.
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This theory and the stopping exports of thefts from the UK (which are crazy!) has been my working assumption since last year when the great CBP anti-Defender Jihad started at the same targeted dealership in NC. This spring I used a highly reputable importer and shipped my Defenders over from Dubai myself using completely stock very clearly mid-80s models that I had owned for several years.

The bleeding from the stolen or improperly imported ones that looked like Defender ICONs, BLRs or other tricked out units that were NOT 25 years old had to stop and so began the CBP Jihad. They are making an example of a company that has directly cost 160 owners their cars. I am sure that a couple of other dealers perhaps like the one on the West Coast and one in Florida that always brag about their $100,000 2012 style "Puma" Defenders are on the block next. All of those obviously body swapped vehicles on older frames NEED to be seized to clear the air for legitimate owners of what will become a classic collectors car even after a new Defender is launched.

IMHO the average 25 year old Defender owner has nothing to worry about. Customs is not seizing every one of them, just the ones from that specific dealership/importer. The legit ones might be returned after validation. The real test is if the "New" Defender turns out to be a LR4 or Evoque with a square Defender-ish body that's just too mechanically sophisticated to replace the high demand of the original simple Defender. Perhaps LRNA understood that and pushed for the Jihad?
 

proper4wd

Expedition Leader
Absolutely.

Do you have any idea how much LRNA is going to whore out the original NAS Defender when it's time to launch the new model?

In car business terms, this is essentially imminent. They are posting photos of NAS Defenders on their Facebook and Twitter pages hashtag Heritage! this week.

You add up all of these forces (pressure from UK police... pressure from LRNA... CBP looking to flex their militarized muscle...) and this is what you get.
 

NMC_EXP

Explorer
Don't like the current law? Work to get it changed!

btw, I'm in no way saying that it is a particularly good or useful law in this case - but there is a difference between a bad law and an unconstitutional law.
There is a difference between a law and a regulation.

Laws are created by elected congresscritters (see US Code).

Regulations are created by unelected bureaucrats (see Code of Federal Regulations).

If these cars are being seized because they have the wrong mix of body, engine and frame, I'd bet 10:1 it is a regulation, not a law being used as the excuse.
 

pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
There is a difference between a law and a regulation.

Laws are created by elected congresscritters (see US Code).

Regulations are created by unelected bureaucrats (see Code of Federal Regulations).

If these cars are being seized because they have the wrong mix of body, engine and frame, I'd bet 10:1 it is a regulation, not a law being used as the excuse.
I'm pretty sure that they are using the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act, but I'd be interested to hear why you think differently.
 

Kmrtnsn

Explorer
I'm pretty sure that they are using the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act, but I'd be interested to hear why you think differently.
Go back in this thread and re-read 18USC545.

If a vehicle is ineligible for import because of a regulation, and you sham up the vehicle (false data plates, VIN, incorrect trim, parts, etc) or the import paperwork (lie about what year of manufacture it really is, or the ownership) to evade that regulation then you have violated the law. In this particular case that law is Title 18, United States Code, Section 545. And no, it is not a "new" law. It is actually one of the oldest in the U.S. Code. Anything that is imported contrary to law or regulation is "contraband". Contraband is always contraband. Washing it through several buyers and sellers does not change that. Under 18USC545, all contraband is always subject to seizure.
 
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pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
Go back in this thread and re-read 18USC554.

If a vehicle is ineligible for import because of a regulation, and you sham up the vehicle (false data plates, VIN, incorrect trim, parts, etc) or the import paperwork (lie about what year of manufacture it really is, or the ownership) to evade that regulation then you have violated the law. In this particular case that law is Title 18, United States Code, Section 554. And no, it is not a "new" law. It is actually one of the oldest in the U.S. Code. Anything that is imported contrary to law or regulation is "contraband". Contraband is always contraband. Washing it through several buyers and sellers does not change that. Under 15USC554, all contraband is always subject to seizure.
Well yeah. Not sure the point you are trying to make? The assertion was made that the issue was not a matter of law, but instead bureaucrats applying their own interpretations to the law. I was refuting that by citing applicable law. Obviously other laws could also apply, such as the one you cited.

The Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act contains the new laws that were created in response to congressional lobbying by Mercedes and as such I believe to be directly related to the discussion.
 

Kmrtnsn

Explorer
Well yeah. Not sure the point you are trying to make? The assertion was made that the issue was not a matter of law, but instead bureaucrats applying their own interpretations to the law. I was refuting that by citing applicable law. Obviously other laws could also apply, such as the one you cited.

The Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act contains the new laws that were created in response to congressional lobbying by Mercedes and as such I believe to be directly related to the discussion.
Whatever the product, whatever the regulation, if it is being introduced into commerce in the U.S. from foreign, contrary to law or regulation then it is being "smuggled", and 18USC545 applies.
 
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DividingCreek

Explorer
I haven't said anything DHS doesn't already know. Three men at my door with fully functioning ears, I'd presume, and a pad and paper. I highly doubt I'll hear from them again. If they really wanted it, they wouldn't have drove off, four minutes after knocking on my door.
Were you aware that they were already aware the truck wasn't there ? They had be doing surveillance on all the trucks they snagged this week for the past couple of weeks.
 

DividingCreek

Explorer
Everyone one of these seizures was supported by a warrant, signed by a magistrate who found probable cause for the seizure. Each of these warrants has a section, where the facts establishing probable cause for the seizure are spelled out, in plain English. Another section spells out the violation(s) of law, and the legal basis for the seizures, so any Rover owner whining that the Government took their truck and they have no idea why, actually knows exactly why and knew before the truck left the driveway.
Magistrates clerk, warrant is unsealed. Reasons given were based on false data provided by JLRNA . By providing false information to a federal investigator for a warrant that has resulted in all these seizures isn't JLRNA's liability HUGE ?
 

pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
Whatever the product, whatever the regulation, if it is being introduced into commerce in the U.S. from foreign, contrary to law or regulation then it is being "smuggled", and 18USC545 applies.
Well yeah, I get that. Since I'm not disagreeing with you I'm not sure what your goal is here?
 

Mack73

Adventurer
WillH over on defender source (lawyer representing several owners) has dug this up: http://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/23894.ztv.html
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An advisory opinion letter issued by Counsel for the National Highway and Transportation Association.
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"Under a long-standing line of interpretations of this agency, the substitution of a new body on a used chassis alone does not result in the creation of a "new" motor vehicle subject to the FMVSS, assuming that the vehicle continues to be titled and registered with its original model year. Thus, under the scheme you outline, the 1967-75 Land Rover with a different body and unmodified chassis could be imported without the need to conform it to the FMVSS."
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WillH's opinion: "It appears to me that US Customs has been executing inspection of vehicles in a manner that is inconsistent and in opposition to the actual guidelines it is supposed to follow. Under the interpretation above, replacement of non-chassis components should not render a vehicle ineligible for import under the 25-year import rule."
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http://www.defendersource.com/forum/showpost.php?p=547612&postcount=854
 

Mack73

Adventurer
Also if you read between the lines (confirmation won't be till a doc is supplied on Monday) that JLRNA may have supplied incorrect information about the vehicles that was used as evidence to obtain the warrant.
 

DividingCreek

Explorer
Also if you read between the lines (confirmation won't be till a doc is supplied on Monday) that JLRNA may have supplied incorrect information about the vehicles that was used as evidence to obtain the warrant.
Because the warrant is now unsealed the agent/US Atty cannot make changes @ this point.
 
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