Thursday, 8 March 2012

Buying a second-hand car from the UK

Some thoughts of a Brit abroad on the advantages and disadvantages of buying a car from UK.


Price! Cars in the UK depreciate much more quickly than in France. Many cars will lose 30% of their value in the first year in the UK.
After 3 years the value will be around 40 to 50% of their original value. Some cars (Fords and Vauxhalls in particular) can depreciate much more quickly. A Vauxhall Astra or Ford Focus may only be worth 50% of its original price by the time it is 18 months old!

A lot of this is caused by the amount of fleet sales in the UK. When these cars are released from the fleets they have to be moved on and because there are so many on the market the price has to be low to sell them.

Because there are much fewer cars on the second hand market in France they keep their value much better. The French tend to keep their cars longer and the fleet market is much smaller than in the UK. So no surplus cars that have to be sold cheaply!

Extras! Cars in the UK often have a better specification than cars in France. Many in the UK come with Alloy wheels, climate control, leather trim and colours other than grey or black! Many French registered cars come with a more basic specification.

Warranty. Cars supplied in the UK usually have a 3 year warranty, most sold in France have just a 2 year warranty. The UK warranty is valid for 3 years even if the car is registered in France later as long as the car is serviced by the dealer at the correct intervals. Some companies offer 5 or even 7 year warranties in the UK. Kia and Hyundai are two that offer long warranties.

Huge choice! Many more cars available in the UK so should be easier to find the car you want. Mileages are often lower than comparable cars in France. Usually have less dents and scratches than French registered cars too!!

So what are the drawbacks??

RHD! Your UK supplied car will be right hand drive. This can make overtaking a bit more awkward. Doesn't matter in Brittany though as there is no traffic!! And what there is are usually tractors! Plus you know exactly how close to the ditch you can get as you are right next to it when that French driver comes around a bend in the middle of the road!

Registering your car in France! You will need a Certificate of conformity from the manufacturer, the original bill of sale, the log book (registration document), Proof of ID, and a utility bill (EDF, Water or phone). Plus some cash for the Prefecture! The amount of cash seems to vary with the size of your engine and the age of the car! If your car is more than 4 years old you will also need a Controle Technique (the French MOT). To get this you will also need to change your headlight for ones made for driving on the right.

See this post about buying headlights from France for a UK car here.

Selling your car. It will be more difficult to sell your car as it is RHD. Prices for RHD seem to be around 30% lower than a French LHD. Your main market will be the Brits living over here.

Apart from that not a lot of drawbacks. You could argue for either option, it is down to personal choice really. Weigh up the pro's and con's of each option and think about what would suit you best, everyone has their own opinion. For me the savings of several thousand euros on the purchase price outweigh the drawbacks and more than make up for the costs of registering the car over here.

And if you are stuck with registering your car in France, contact Rachel here, she will assist you with the forms!

1 comment:

  1. Another advantage of used cars that people overlook is they are simply the greener, practical choice. You might be surprised, but by choosing a fuel efficient 2nd hand sedan reduces our carbon footprint as much as 30% compared to a brand new car and even a hybrid. The reason behind is that it takes tons more of CO2 to manufacture new cars and hybrids. This doesn’t even include shipping of these cars and the parts. Unlike a 2nd hand car, the footprint has already been paid off, just don’t go get an SUV.