Buying a second-hand car in Germany

Various info and advice about the whole process

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cg808
Hi,

I'm currently contemplating a move from the UK to Germany. The job I have there is based in the Odenwald, and as I'm only 22 I'd prefer to live in somewhere a little livelier (say Wuerzburg) and commute to work. Therefore, I need to buy a car. As I'm only 22, I don't have much finance behind me - although my company is paying relocation costs.

The thought of a new car on a finance deal came to mind, but I don't know if I'd be eligible for this as I don't think I have credit history in Germany (although I did do an internship in Germany during Summer 2005 and had a bank account).

So I think it has to be second hand. The thought of buying a second hand car in the UK is daunting enough, never mind in a foreign country. I need to consider purchase cost, tax, MOT equivalent, insurance and servicing costs. Am I right in thinking that diesel cars are more expensive to insure and tax than their petrol equivalents? Also, is there a system -like the Insurance Group rating in the UK - which determines the insurance cost of a particular car? If so, where can I find this? What is the MOT equivalent? Bearing in mind that I am only 22 (but have 5 years driving experience and a clean licence), is car insurance likely to be expensive/a problem?

Any help, advice or comment on this would be much appreciated!

Thanks,
C
Keydeck
Am I right in thinking that diesel cars are more expensive to insure and tax than their petrol equivalents?
No.

Also, is there a system -like the Insurance Group rating in the UK - which determines the insurance cost of a particular car?
Yes. Not sure where you'll find the relevant info, but the ADAC (equivalent to AA) website is a good start point. If you have a particular car in mind, there are various online sites which help to calculate road tax & insurance costs. Links can be found by using the Search function and looking for car insurance.

What is the MOT equivalent?
TÜV

Bearing in mind that I am only 22 (but have 5 years driving experience and a clean licence), is car insurance likely to be expensive/a problem?
Depends on your concept of expensive and no, it won't be a problem.
Guy
Am I right in thinking that diesel cars are more expensive to insure and tax than their petrol equivalents?
Tax, yes. Diesel is €15.44 per 100cm3, petrol is €6.75 per 100cm3, both for Euro4 engines. Engines that only meet earlier emissions standards may vary.
HEM
TÜV
The TÜV would like you to believe that you HAVE to go to them but this is not true.

Cars are "Hauptuntersuchungspflichtig" and you can but do not HAVE to go to TÜV for this. DEKRA can also do this.

(Its like the Vacuum clearner = Hoover thing)
HEM
Bearing in mind that I am only 22 (but have 5 years driving experience and a clean licence), is car insurance likely to be expensive/a problem?
The no-claims "bonus" schemes are different between UK & Germany.
If you have been having car insurance with a UK company get a letter from them stating that you have so many YEARS insurance with them without a claim.
Getting German insurance companies to accept "no claims" from Uk is not always as straight-forward as you might hope. Come prepared with documentation.
Allershausen
No.
Road Tax on Diesel cars is more expensive than petrol I think, offset by the fact that diesel fuel is a fair bit cheaper than petrol, unlike the uk. I'm pretty certain that insurance is more as well, due to them being stolen and shipped to the former east block countries where they can be run on tractor fuel. I'm more than willing to be proved wrong though, as I think my next car will be a diesel.

As for insurance no-claims, HEM is absolutely right, bring as much proof as you can muster, it's years they're interested in, not percentages.
dannyboy
I'm looking to buy a used car in Germany. I've only been in the country for two weeks and I'm not too familiar with the language or the customs.

I drove around with a friend of mine who knows quite a bit about cars, as a helping hand, and we went to see a few A-class mercedeses.

One dealer had a car advertised at a significantly lower price than was displayed at the garage when we arrived. When I queried this he explained this was export or handler price only, and the price displayed was with guarantee. Since he realised we were foreigners he offered to sell us the car at the export price without guarantee if we fill in the foreign address in the contract. I asked him if this was legal and if I can register a car that I buy that way in Germany since I'm living here now, and he says it's not a problem.

I have a feeling nothing is a problem to this guy once I sign the contract and hand over the money, so I thought I'd ask here. Is this normal practice in Germany?
If it's a decent car I wouldn't mind giving up the warranty to get the car 20% cheaper and taking the risk, but I'm afraid that when I go and register the car they'll give me export plates and wish me a safe journey home

Any help or advice is much appreciated!

Topics merged by admin
Jimbo
Used to be quite common I think, but I believe the tax man has stamped down on it (that's your 20% saving right - the tax?). Certainly a lot of the boys working for NATO and such were doing it, but I believe that a few (Italian) guys were buying like 4 or 5 beemers at a time and the taxman got wise.
garlof
Sounds OK - they (the dealer) are just trying to get around the 1 year "gewahrleistung" (form of guarantee) you don't need the contract when you register the car so that isn't an issue either (as long as you have the papers)
mo3
We're Munich based and looking to buy a used car from a dealer in Landau at the end of this week. The plan is to take the train up to Landau, testdrive the car in the morning and, provided it is not a lemon, we would buy it then and there and drive it back to Munich that afternoon.

As we are new to Germany - and have had experience with car-dealers who would sell their own mother if they could - we wondered if some more experienced TTers might be able to judge whether or not the details regarding the purchase process he has given us sound reasonable:

1. Payment for the car, if we want to collect it on the same day, has to either be in cash or what seems like the equivalent of a bank guaranteed cheque. He said the cheque should include words to the effect "Diese Betrag ist unwiederruflich eingeloest" (Excuse my poor German). Not quite sure what this means though ... any suggestions?

2. The dealer told us that we can get something called Ueberfoeringskennzeichen which would enable us to drive the car back to Munich and use it for 4-5 days before we would have to register it in Munich. He also said that we could buy insurance together with this Ueberfoeringskennzeichen which would cover us for the same period - all for about 100 Euros. Not quite sure what this insurance is - is it standard 3rd party or fully comprehensive?

3. To transfer the car into our name, all we would need to produce (other than the money!) would be our passport, proof of residency and driver's licence.

All sounds pretty okay to us - just wanted to check to sure that we aren't missing any vital piece of information or documentation that would mean we have to hitchhike back to Munich or run into problems down the track if some steps have been skipped over!

Thanks in advance.

Topics merged by admin
DanHessen
In my experience you have to get an insurance card from your insurer.. This is usually good for a few days. Then you get the red license plates from the dealer which you can also drive for a few days. Long enough anyway to register the car. I would be wary of really small used car lots which can disappear overnight. New car dealers who sell used cars have more of a reputation to protect.
globalgirl
I found it incredibly hard to actually get someone to sell me a car last month. They really aren't the pushy salesmen they have back in Canada or England. I had to hunt down the salesman and beg for any information. Their smooth talking went to the extent of saying "yeah, yeah. it's all good."

The car dealer I ended up buying my car from was eastern european and he says he gets people telling him all the time how unbelievably helpful he is, just because he bothers to talk to the customers. He took great care with the appearance of his lot and his cars (at most other small dealers the cars were litterly covered in crap, dirt, dust... ) So since he was still a small dealer, you could make a decent guess that he wasn't going to disappear the next day.

The only thing with him being a small dealership, he didn't have red plates I could use to take the car away with and go to the registry. I had to go with all the papers and once I had proper plates, go and pick the car up.
Kevstar
Kevstar here-Aussie with Irish passport
fell in love with german girl - been here 10 days - am financial to not work as such (am attempting to write a novel) but am likely to remain here for a year at least
keen to buy car for maybe between 1000 and 2000 euro
dont mind what make or model as long as it goes for a year or so and is preferably black-my ute back home is black!!!
should i look online or physically visit dealers
what are registration/insurance costs
any assistance would be appreciated greatly
danke - kevstar

Topics merged by admin
eurovol
A novel of SMS speak. How excruciating would that be to read?

Go visit a dealer of used cars.
Keydeck
Dunno about in NRW, but here in Munich if that was my budget and intention I'd just take a wander round a few car yards and see what they have there. If you wanna have a look online www.mobile.de and www.autoscout24.de will give you an idea of what's available. Most of the car yards also put their stock on these sites.
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