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 little used small automatic cars for sale in Exeter, Devon

#automatic cars for sale

Established in 1995, Exeter Small Automatics are the largest specialist retailers of high quality previously owned small automatic cars in the UK.

Our customers now come from across the South and West of England, including Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Hampshire, plus an increasing number from as far afield as Wales, London, the South East and the Midlands. Situated as we are, close to the M5 junction with the A30, we are easily accessible via good direct road connections from the Plymouth, Bristol, Bath, Taunton, Yeovil and Bournemouth areas.

So as to give our customers the widest possible choice we endeavour to keep on-site at least one example of almost every make and model sold in the UK within the last eight years.

With our comprehensive specialist stock we can usually satisfy our customers particular requirements without delay. In the event that we cannot, then we will locate and secure that car for you via Autosearch .

Most makes and models of small automatic cars are usually available immediately, many with detailed service history and low mileage. Our stock changes daily. Please see our car finder stock list for current details. If you cannot find the car you are seeking, please telephone, write or email with your request. Many of our cars are suitable for adaptation to the special requirements of those drivers who have disability needs. These modifications are undertaken by qualified specialists.

Our very special Parts Labour Warranties are, we believe, the best in the business as they cover almost everything, excluding driver abuse and accidental damage. For further details see under Buying .

Good allowances are offered for part exchange vehicles, particularly for auto models similar to those which we sell. Please see Makes and Models. and also Selling .

All usual dealer facilities are available including competitive finance plans, details of which are available upon request (more. ). We are happy to arrange vehicle modifications for customers with special needs. All cars are sold with a twelve month MOT certificate and extended warranty, and for your peace of mind are checked and cleared on the HPI Identity, Outstanding Finance, Condition Alert Stolen Vehicle Registers.

At all times we endeavour to meet our customers individual requirements, offer free, helpful advice and provide a professional, courteous service.

We are situated in an easy to find and reach, central West Country location, just off the new A30 near Exeter Airport in Devon. For directions and a map please see How To Find Us .

Our usual opening hours are 9.30 am until 5 pm Monday to Saturday. We will be closed on some bank holidays. We are of course happy to meet customers at other times by prior appointment.

Black Friday special: the cheapest cars on sale in the UK

#car sale uk

Black Friday special: the cheapest cars on sale in the UK

If you want to achieve (admittedly basic) personal four-wheeled transport in exchange for small amounts of money, there has never been a better time to be alive. In celebration of the bargaintastic bonanza that is Black Friday, we’ve corralled together a countdown of very cheapest cars on sale in the UK right now, and they prove you can get really quite a decent amount of Stuff for a very sensible amount of cash. Wheels, metal, seats, sometimes even a steering wheel, all yours for less than the price of a posh watch.

No longer is cheapness an excuse for terribleness, either. Many of the cars on the coming slides are rather excellent. Others are as terrible as you’d expect, and are best avoided unless you are actively threated with physical violence for not buying one.

Before you start calling us out, please note these prices do not take into account any ‘special deal’ you might be able to negotiate with your dealer by means unspecified. These are just some very cheap, often very good cars which cost less than a one-way, first class flight to Sydney. Or 25,000 packets of custard creams. Which one would you choose?

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

#secondhand cars

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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Best used cars to buy in 2015

#best used car deals

Best used cars to buy – 2015 Used Car Awards winners



The UK s best second-hand cars are being revealed this week in our 2015 Used Car Awards.

All of us want to make our motoring budgets stretch further these days, and by buying a used car instead of a new one you can save thousands on the purchase price.

Pre-owned motors make plenty of financial sense, as the original buyer has taken the heaviest hit of depreciation when the car was showroom-fresh.

Yet choose carefully, and you can secure the keys to a model that’s barely run-in and still has the balance of its new car warranty left to run. Buy from a reputable used cars dealer and you should also get high levels of service plus full finance facilities. making the car even more affordable.

With so many forecourts and classified adverts vying for your attention, how do you decide on the right used car for you? To make the job easier, we’ve picked the best second-hand buys in 16 classes in our 2015 Used Car Awards.

From city cars to SUVs. and from compact family hatchbacks to cosseting luxury saloons. we’ve got all the bases covered and. In each used car category our experts have chosen a winner and a highly commended model. They’ve also revealed their advice to help you make the right decisions when viewing, testing and buying our top pre-owned motors.

So if you’re in the market for a second-hand car, or simply browsing out of interest, this is the buying guide you can’t afford to miss.

The 2015 Used Car Award winners can be found by clicking the links below or at the top left of this page.

Best electric cars for kids in 2015-2016

#cars for kids

Best electric car for kids reviews

Electric cars for kids – What to look for:

When you’re a parent who wants to give their child a perfect way to experience being an adult, getting one of the top ten electric cars for kids will surely help you earn brownie points from your precious one. Imagine the big grin and youthful delight you’ll get treated to when you present your child with a new electric car for kids on their birthday.

Model and Features

The models of highest rated electric cars for kids deserve a showroom just like adult cars do. It helps to have a pretty good idea what type you will be getting. Will it be outdoor or indoor type? The most popular units are outdoor types since they really give that feeling of freedom that a child deserves. Road cars have replicas too, and these include Porsches, Aston Martins, BMWs, Ferraris, Audi TTs and plenty more. Stylish and chic, such cars can give plenty of backyard play. Rugged models include Jeeps, Hummers or Ford Mustangs. Your child will surely enjoy being able to use forward and reverse gears, a side view mirror, a key start, a foot accelerator, a car horn, steering and fully working lights on his car, so check out models that carry those features. The decals, if any, should be as authentic as possible.

Safety provisions

The best play car for the money should incorporate safety features in the package. Even if your child just uses the electric car in your backyard, sudden bumps may cause him to topple from his seat. Teach him about safety this early by ensuring that the toy car has a seat belt. Make sure that the seats are well attached to their bases. The seat should enable your child to see where he’s going, built at just the right height. The components of the toy car should carry no toxic paint, sharp edges or corners. Remember that the unit is still pretty much a toy, so it should be manufactured under the same standards that all children’s toys are made. Most importantly, the product should include a fully functional parental remote control in order to ensure guidance and safe play at all times.

Which electric car for kids is the best? Ask any child that question and battery life is sure to come up one way or the other. Ideally, the car should give around 2 hours of driving on flat terrain on the average. That’s for a single charge. It is best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on charging the car’s battery. The car’s craftsmanship should be sturdy for a toy of this type. Any assembly to be done must be minimal at most. The car itself should not require too much maintenance when used according to manufacturer’s recommendations and kept in good condition. A warranty would be nice, as the cost of replacing parts can be quite expensive. The motor or battery is the element that generally requires maintenance, repair or replacement.

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