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We want to buy a new car here in France. Is it worth while "shopping around" the big dealers - as one would in Britain? Are the prices here fixed rigidly across the country? Is there any point trying to bargain?
 

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My impression is that the French dealers are far more laid back, with 'take it or leave it' attitude and little in the way of hard sell. While there is a small room for price negotiation, you don't get 10 or 20% off you can often haggle the dealer down as in Britain. Reduction is more in the way of free accessories, finance terms etc rather than straight discounts. As in UK, you tend to get better terms for a car actually in stock than one that has to be specially ordered, so shopping around helps in tracking down the exact model, colour and spec you are looking to buy.
 
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I got somewhere in excess of 10% discount plus some bonus accessories in 2007 before the recession took hold. There was a big difference between the attitudes of different dealers towards discounts, and even between dealers of the same make. I shopped around a lot of outlets, and in the end between Ford, Renault and Honda, it was Honda that came up with a great offer.

As Joppa says there's no real hard sell, and you have to work hard to get a good deal.

Demo models are sometimes worth a look, some big discounts there if the dealer happens to have a car you like.
 

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Dealers are good to benchmark your buying power. But private deals are cheaper although more risky.
Some specialised website offer a money back policy and warranty for private deals
lacentrale.fr for instance

Good deals are all over the place. If you purchase from a dealer, you might want that
1- he is able to repair the car brand you buy : buy a Fiat from a Fiat dealer, and a Toyota from a Toyota dealer. Avoid buying a Mercedes from a Citroen dealer for instance.
2- you would not like to travel 200 km when the car needs to be fixed, take a dealer close to you.
Unless your are ready to go for a mechanic without any concern for the dealer.
3- avoid buying from scrapyards (most likely a rebuild)
4- avoid phony deals
5- avoid deals with promises: we will fix this, we will repair that, we will change the tyres, alternatively propose a 100 euros deposit and ask them to fix it all before you sign the deal/sale contract.
6- favour types of cars that are commonly available on the French market, avoid a Chevy Impala for instance, unless you are an expert.
7- always ask for discount (between 10 to 20%) for cash payment at a dealer. Thank you for the sub-prime crisis.
8- avoid cars without History book
9- always ask to examine (yes examine attentively and do not be distracted by the 21 year old sister of the dealer ) the Carte Grise (circulation certificate) where you assess the fiscal power, date of first circulation, possible modifications, name of last owner,
10- always ask to examine (yes examine attentively, and do not be distracted by the glass of wine) the Controle Technique (MOT or technical report) to detect any damage or repairs needed. It MUST be zero defect.
11- insist , as a foreigner, on a long (free) guaranty for the vehicle. Vehicles less than 3 years are still under guaranty, older you might be able to secure free guaranty for an extra year or so, depending on the condition and mileage. Some dealers offer certified vehicles, usually a good choice, but more expensive.
12- some second hand vehicles are as expensive as new ones from an other brand, with little or no major differences. For instance you can have a 2 year old Mercedes for the price of a New Ford. Or you can purchase a second hand Smart for the price of 2 new Chevrolet.

be wise
 
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<<< take it back to Australia if we were allowed to import a left hand drive.>>>

Really? No LHDs in Australia? I never knew that.

Are all the yanktanks converted to RHD before import then?
 

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Yeah, you're allowed to import a "classic car" into oz.

Unfortunately an almost new Peugeot doesn't count as a classic :(

We looked at options of importing a car bought from the UK as well (because the GBP is so low at the moment it made financial sense) but you have to have owned it for 12 months. It seems you need to be a special RAWS approved workshop to import a new car.

Also the Aussie government have a scheme in place designed to encourage capital investment at the moment which allows you to tax deduct 50% of the value of a new car bought for business purposes by end of December 2009. It applies to capital expenditure for business and amazingly a car qualifies, which means for a small business we can buy a new car as long as we drive it before end of Jan 2010 and sell it in 2 years for probably the same or more than we paid for it. Bizarre eh!
But equally, pretty cool.
 

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Classic cars and oldtimers are a good choice. Some are rather on the expensive side.

Have a look here [anciennes.net] Petites annonces gratuites pour collectionneur de véhicules anciens, or specialised web sites. Such as this one
Philippe Losson Voitures de collections Spécialiste DS et ID

Just be aware that they are 2 types of circulation documents for Classic cars in France
- carte grise "collections" which restricts use to non professionnal travels and restricts insurance coverage as well
- ordinary carte grise (circulation certificate) for free use, sort of

My advice: just be an expert and carry some spare parts in the trunk.

Enjoy driving
 

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Hi Gallus,

Being Swiss, do you think it's possible to sell a second hand French car in Switzerland or would buyers be put off by that? I'm asking the question because our closest majot city is Geneva so may be easier to sell our car there than in France, but there's the question of tax to pay on 'inport' I would presume, and I would also presume the French government wouldn't give a rebate on the VAT paid in France...
 

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I am French, but I may answer

Hi Gallus,

Being Swiss, do you think it's possible to sell a second hand French car in Switzerland or would buyers be put off by that? I'm asking the question because our closest majot city is Geneva so may be easier to sell our car there than in France, but there's the question of tax to pay on 'inport' I would presume, and I would also presume the French government wouldn't give a rebate on the VAT paid in France...
Yes it is possible to sell a second car in Switzerland and yes buyers will be put off by that , as you guessed. The car needs to undergo a Technical expertise which is drastic (inquire at Cantonal Office of Circulation)

Tax issues is a major issue indeed, in all cases. The French government will not give you any rebate on Vat But if you stay for less than six months in France, you are entitled to purchase a brand new tax free vehicle, and export it as you wish within 6 months. Could be Switzerland (not a EU country), and they might ask you to pay taxes upon arrival. Some tax free leasing contracts exist. Please inquire
Peugeot Open Europe - The tax free tt offer
http://www.ideamerge.com/leasing/faq_2.html


doe it make sense?
 
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