Buying used cars from Germany

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Due to the generally well maintained condition and relatively lower purchase prices, many Europeans are buying their used cars from Germany. Shoppers are lured in by the higher diversity of models as well. But just how much less can one get a used car from Germany than in the local used cars market? CARFAX sets out to explain just that, as well as the pros and cons to importing a car from Germany.

Lower Prices for Used Cars from Germany

Second hand cars from Germany tend to have relatively lower prices when compared to other European markets. Why is this? One explanation could be that Germans tend to buy a new model every five or six years, which ensures a continual restocking of used cars for dealerships. Another reason is that in many neighboring European countries, automobiles are heavily taxed.

To demonstrate how different the prices can be, an online search of popular used car listing sites returned the following results:

(2010-2012) BMW 320 - Petrol Engine - 2 Doors - Black
Germany €15,980
France €17,990
Sweden €20,450
Netherlands €20,950
Spain €21,900
Austria €26,450

This doesn't only apply to German brands either. During the crisis, there were far less new registrations in many other European countries. As the recovery progressed, there were less used cars available to be sold. This leaves essentially all brands of used cars from Germany in high demand.

Pros and Cons of Buying Used Cars from Germany

There are benefits and disadvantages to importing a car from Germany into your country. Additionally, there are different ways to do it. Here we discuss these various methods, as well as what's good and bad about each.

Personally Driving Home German Used Cars

+ Cost of travel to Germany (flight/train), vehicle cost, and fuel cost for return trip may still be less than local prices
- Depending on where you live, you may have a long drive ahead of you
- A lot of kilometers immediately added to the clock
+ You get to know your new car very well, very quickly
+ Avoid extra costs of using an importer / letting a dealership handle importing a car from Germany
- You have to handle all necessary steps for registering an EU import car yourself

Using an Importer/ to Buy Second Hand Cars from Germany

+ All the difficulties are handled for you by the importer
+ You don't have to drive the vehicle home from Germany
- No chance to test drive. Once you order it, it's yours
- Extra costs for service on top of vehicle costs
+ Importers fees plus the cost of the used car from Germany may still be less than local price

car registration

Importing Used Cars from Germany through a Local Dealership

Some dealerships will act like an importer and take care of the effort of making used cars from Germany available to you. And thanks to EU regulations, it's perfectly legal for an EU citizen to purchase goods and services from anywhere in the EU, including cars. These vehicles can often then still be sold at a lower price thanks to the different local tax rates. Of course, this method only applies to those living in countries with friendlier tax rates on vehicles. Also keep in mind, here you also don’t get the benefit of a test drive.

Check the CARFAX Before Buying German Used Cars imported from US

Whenever shopping for German used cars imported from the US, it's a good idea to check the CARFAX before you buy. The CARFAX Vehicle History Report details a lot of useful information about the vehicle, and in some cases can prevent you from buying a vehicle with a negative history. Some examples of information found on the CARFAX report include:

  • Import/export information
  • Service and repair records
  • Mileage history
  • How the vehicle was used (e.g. taxi, rental car, etc.)
  • Was the vehicle stolen? Scrapped?
  • Does the vehicle have a salvage title?
  • Flood damage data
  • …and more

Buying German used cars from the US with confidence has never been easier. Help ensure the car you bring home has a clean history with CARFAX.