Buying a 2nd Hand Car in France


#second hand cars
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Buying a 2nd Hand Car in France

Buying a 2nd Hand Car in France

There’s no doubt that most UK expats moving to France tend to keep their Right Hand Drive (RHD) cars to begin with.

Many keep them on UK plates for some years, though technically illegal, whilst others re-register them onto French plates within the required period.

Sooner or later though, usually after one or two near misses when overtaking, many expats start to question the wisdom of continuing to drive a RHD on continental roads. Their thoughts turn to buying a Left Hand Drive (LHD) vehicle and they start to shop around.

If they’re wealthy enough they may look at new vehicles, but we’ll discuss here the rather more common expat experience of searching for a second hand car.

This is one of those things that shocks new expats in France, because in general they encounter three things when they start to look around:

1. Second hand cars in France are for the most part HUGELY more expensive than the same thing in the UK.

2. They usually have much higher mileage (kilometrage) than an identical vehicle of the same age in the UK.

3. Quite often they have signs of having been rather more ‘lived in’ in terms of dings, dents and scratches.

The reasons for this remain the subject of much heated expat debate and speculation but the upshot is that nobody really knows!

Prices are influenced by the fact that the huge corporate market for new cars does not exist in France to the same extent as it does in the UK. Good second hand vehicles are not quite so available as there are not thousands of firms ‘dumping’ 2-year-old ex-company cars onto the market. Add to this the fact that the costs of employing staff are much higher for a dealer in France and you probably have a good explanation for the price difference.

The mileage differences are perhaps explained by the fact that France is a BIG country of vast distances with a superb and usually jam-free motorway network. French people use their cars over longer distances partly because they need to, and partly because the excellent roads mean they can.

The third factor of dings and dents is very probably attributable to different attitudes to driving between the UK and France. Some people have said a minor dent in the UK is a badge of shame whereas in France it is a badge of honour. Perhaps the less said here the better!

The reality though is that the expat looking to replace their vehicle with a second hand vehicle in France is likely to find that the deals available offer very poor value when compared to the normal UK situation.

So is all lost? Is this a case of continuing to drive an unsuitable RHD UK origin vehicle or finding a huge amount of cash to buy a slightly tatty 3-year-old vehicle with 150,000 kilometres on the clock?

No. Fortunately for those expats with one eye on their budget there are two really viable options:

– Buy in Belgium

– Buy a LHD model in the UK

At first glance this may look horrifically complicated, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is easy!

On the Internet now you can see vast numbers of vehicles being offered for sale from reputable dealers in Belgium. Their services often include delivery to your door and their prices are usually much better than you’ll achieve in France.

The same is true in the UK and you may be very surprised how many UK car dealers actually have extensive stocks of LHD vehicles available. Some are of course very up-market models with huge price tags, but many are humble family cars at prices that French dealers struggle to even come close to. Once again delivery to the door can often be arranged and not only will you save very significant amounts of money but you may find it easier dealing with people who are speaking your language.

Whether you buy from Belgium or the UK, the chances are upon arrival it will have Belgian or UK plates – although even here many dealers as part of their deal will re-plate the vehicle for you onto French plates.

So let’s assume it has arrived with non-French plates and you need to re-register. Is this a problem?

The answer is generally ‘no’. Registration (immatriculation in French) is very simple and you’ll only need the purchase invoice, the vehicle’s registration document, and the certificate of conformity.

There are just two things to keep in mind.

Firstly, if you’re purchasing a LHD vehicle for re-registration in France you should try to buy a French or European one. That’s because it will be a model the French registration authorities will be familiar with and the certificate of conformity should come with the vehicle. If you purchase an American, Japanese or other vehicle, then all will be well if it has a certificate of conformity but make sure to get one BEFORE you buy as getting one afterwards can be tricky.

Secondly, remember that British LHD cars sometimes have headlights that are deflected to the left for UK driving conditions. On French roads they must of course deflect to the right to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic. If they are adjustable this will not be a problem – in fact it is not a mandatory consideration for re-registration but it could cause you some issues with the police if stopped. Best checked before you buy and ask your UK dealer to adjust if necessary.

Apart from those two minor points it is usually easy and cheap. By shopping around and buying your second hand car outside of France you can save yourself literally thousands!

Expat Health Insurance Partners


Buy or sell a vehicle (transfer ownership)


#bill of sale car
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Buy or sell a vehicle (transfer ownership)

What must the seller and buyer do to transer vehicle ownership?

The seller  must either

  • complete and sign the transfer ownership section of the title certificate, and
  • sign a bill of sale
  • provide other acceptable proofs  of ownership and transfer of ownership

The buyer  must

The proofs of ownership needed to register and title a vehicle in New York are different for different types of vehicles (for example, cars, trailers, boats, snowmobiles, manufactured homes).  Find the acceptable proofs ownership for your vehicle, or learn what to do if proof of ownership is not available .

Before you buy a vehicle, make sure it is not flood damaged.

You can check the National Insurance Crime Bureau database to see if a vehicle is flood damaged. You will need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

No. You cannot change the name on the vehicle registration or the title certificate to the name of another person. You must transfer the ownership of the vehicle.


Buy a Used Car-Buy Used Cars Online


#buy cars online
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Buying Used Car

Not everyone can afford a new car. At times getting a used car can be much smarter. A new car may have higher taxes and as soon as one buys a new car its price is depreciated simply because it automatically becomes used . This is the reason some people prefer to buy used cars at a more reasonable price. It helps save money obviously and it can also save money on insurance.

To buy a used car the most important part is to get as much information as possible to ensure one gets the money s worth. It is an important transaction and must not be handled without proper knowledge or you may end up wasting money.

The foremost factor influencing the choice of car is the budget that a person has. It limits the choices available to a buyer. The next step is to explore and select the car that is within the budget and best suits the motor vehicle needs that the individual has. The potential cost of the car can be estimated by searching thoroughly online and comparing prices of cars of the same model.

The information is easily available online. There are many car shopping sites that help both the buyers and the sellers and make the whole process much simpler. The many advantages that come when you buy used cars online have made this a popular way of purchasing cars. At car shopping site an individual can check the inside and outside of the car from the photographs, find out the features of the car and compare the costs as well. All the information equips the buyer with useful knowledge about the car so when the actual car deal is made one is more prepared to handle the purchase.

Given below are some tips for buying a used car that can guide a buyer:

  • Search for information on make and model
  • Check consumer reports and go through comparison guides
  • Check insurance rates. The insurance rates depend on the model of the car, body style and the year of the model.
  • Ask seller for Vehicle Registration Number (VRN). Each car is issued its unique VRN number. With this number a person can verify the vehicle history report. There are people who charge a small amount to search for such records, but with it the buyer can reduce the risks.
  • Check for used car fees and taxes. These taxes vary from state to state.
  • Check frequency of car repairs
  • Check gas mileage
  • Have car inspection done by experts. The car can be taken to a repair shop or the car inspectors can be brought to the location to check it. The standard fee can be roughly around $100 or more, but this can save a lot of hassle and make the buying process a lot safer.
  • Take a test drive. It is important to get behind the wheel and check if the car is easy to start and the gears shift smoothly. Check the brakes and the turn signals. Some sellers might be reluctant to allow test drive. Dealers or private seller can ask for a driver s license or information on insurance provider before they allow the car to be taken for a test drive. Therefore, it is best to have them at hand when a test drive has to be taken.
  • If there is any sign that the car purchased has some problems or manufacturer defects there is Lemon Law claim that can be made. It such a case, the state checks the complaint against the automaker and can have the vehicle repaired or returned or can also get the money compensation. The Lemon Law can vary in different states.
  • Buying car from a dealer or private party both options have its own pros and cons. Dealers provide warrantees and offer certified cars while with private parties they might not be any additional cost and the prices are negotiable.
  • When a car is purchased, bill of sale is required. It is the document needed to have the car registered in the new buyer s name. The specific requirements of the bill of sale vary in different states.

The above mentioned tips can prepare you to be more informed so that when the purchase takes place you are not clueless but know what to check and how to do it.

Select a State:


Booming auto sales spawn something new for China: a market in secondhand cars


#secondhand cars
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Booming auto sales spawn something new for China: a market in secondhand cars

GUANGZHOU, China As car enthusiasts converge on the annual Guangzhou auto show, few have anything except a shiny new set of wheels in mind. But explosive growth that transformed China into the world’s largest auto market is also giving life to a new industry here: used cars.

Chinese started buying new cars in huge numbers about four years ago, about the average length of time analysts say drivers will stick with a vehicle before trading it in for a fresh model.

The secondhand market is already taking off, with sales growth last year outpacing that for new vehicles. By volume it is still dwarfed by new cars, which outsold used vehicles three to one. In countries such as the U.S. that ratio is reversed, highlighting the secondhand market’s vast potential to make car ownership affordable for millions more Chinese.

The challenge in China is to develop a modern market for secondhand autos. The business is dominated by thousands of small trading companies that operate out of big trading halls or open air markets on city outskirts. Vehicles are sold tax free and ownership can be transferred in a day but quality and fair pricing can be uncertain. By some estimates, four in five used car transactions take place at these markets.

For foreign automakers, the used car business in China is very different to anything that you would recognize in the Western world, said Marin Burela, president of Changan Ford, the U.S. company’s China joint venture.

Global automakers have been slow to add used car sales at dealerships but are now racing to expand into the business, which will diversify their revenue and help build brand loyalty.

Liu Yu-chen, a 28-year-old snack food entrepreneur, plans to buy his first second-hand car after owning a series of new vehicles, the latest a Toyota Prado SUV bought in August.

After conducting a good inspection, you just need to figure out whether the car appears to have been in any accidents, said Liu as he browsed vehicles at Guangzhou’s Guangjun Used Car Market, which houses dozens of small auto trading companies.

He is budgeting up to 1 million renminbi ($164,000) for a used Land Rover and doesn’t consider the price tag high. Luxury autos tend to be more expensive in China because of taxes and foreign automakers pushing the limits of what they can charge.

What I want to buy is a well maintained car, no damage. Scratches don’t matter. If there’s no big problem with the bumpers, no weird sound from the engine, then I’ll consider it, said Liu, who flew from his home in the central city of Xian to car shop in the southern economic boomtown because he thought they would be cheaper.

Last year in China, used car sales rose 11 percent to 4.8 million vehicles, while new car sales rose 7 percent to 15.5 million. Ford’s Burela, speaking at the Guangzhou auto show which runs until Saturday, said the industry expects used car sales of 6 million this year, about 10 million in 2016 and 20 million by 2020, putting it on par with new vehicle sales.

About half of Ford’s 500 dealerships have been approved to sell certified used cars that come with warranties. The company has also opened six showrooms this year selling only secondhand vehicles.

Dealers in China will need to focus on used auto sales to raise their profit margins as new car sales start to plateau. In the U.S. about 55 percent of a dealer’s revenue comes from new vehicle sales while 25-30 percent comes from second hand sales, and the rest from parts and servicing.

But in China, new car sales have accounted for 90 percent of revenue, said Ivo Naumann, Shanghai-based managing director of advisory firm AlixPartners.

Chinese brands, unpopular because of quality concerns, will likely fall further behind the dominant foreign brands including General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota and Nissan as the secondhand market develops, Naumann said.

Some people who probably historically would have bought a new car because they were first time buyers, they’ll say: Well I only have $8,000, I could buy a Chinese brand, low quality, or I could buy this second hand car from Volkswagen. And then that can have an impact on the overall market, Naumann said.

Because China’s auto industry is still new, there are bottlenecks holding back growth of the secondhand trade. For one, there’s no system of easily transferrable temporary plates for dealers, constraining the number of cars they can have in stock.

Another problem is lack of accurate and consistent information about prices. Beijing-based Bitauto Holdings, which runs a car pricing and listing website, is teaming up with U.S. company Kelley Blue Book to launch a China price guide next year using data on 1 million transactions from their other partner, the China Automobile Dealers Association.

Some dealers have adopted the latest technology. Dongfeng Nissan, the Japanese company’s China joint venture, has its own system to assess trade-in values. Staff use iPads to carry out a step-by-step check. They can photograph scratches or other damage and upload it.

The system will automatically prompt an overall score on this car and a recommended resale price to staff, said deputy general manager Yasuhiro Konta.

Currently, most owners who want to sell a car will typically take it to between three and five traders to get an idea of price, usually an estimate by a senior employee based on their own judgment, said Bitauto’s chief financial officer Andy Zhang.

The whole experience is fairly insecure, Zhang said. It’s very important to have those benchmark prices out there.

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Follow Kelvin Chan at twitter.com/chanman