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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I am moving to suburban paris over the next couple of weeks for a one year research contract position and I was wondering if I can buy a car from USA and ship it. The shipping is between $1000 and $2000. I was considering buying a Jetta, assuming that it will pass EU inspections.

Any idea if this is a good or bad idea. Especially, will there be duties? VAT?

Any and all suggestions welcome!
 

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My two cents: this is a real bad idea. Cars built for use in the US are not practical to operate in Europe/France. A simple thing - didn't they put some sort of little tiny opening on the fuel port so that you can only use unleaded gas in the US? They didn't do that in Europe and you may find you have problems fueling your car with a standard European size nozzle.

Repair parts will be difficult to impossible to get - even if the same model appears to be available here in France. Cars are built to the standards of the country in which they are to be sold. Not sure if it's still true, but the safety glass used in the windshields is different here from in the US and I'm told that, at a minimum, you will have to replace the windshield in order to get your car approved and registered here.

For $1000 - $2000 you can probably buy a used car here if you need one - and it will have been inspected shortly before the sale so definitely up to all current standards. Be aware, too, that parking is a nightmare in some parts of town (and anywhere in Paris) so you'll have to figure out where you're going to keep it when you're not using it.

I'd wait until you get here and see what your living and transportation situation is before deciding on a car.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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There have recently been a few queries by Americans about shipping cars and motorcycles to France. Is it that easy for you guys to operate USA plated vehicles on your insurance whilst out of North America or do you not think about that aspect?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have no idea if it is easy or hard...

but after Bev's reply I have decided to buy car in EU, if not France

any suggestions on which EU country to buy car in? or is the difference insignificant?

I am tempted by Bev's suggestion so far to buy a used car to save headaches
 

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It's hard to say 'cos we don't know your itinerary and how well you speak French. If the Uk is part of your plans and your French isn't so good, perhaps buying in the UK would be an option. But from all I 've read, buying a second-hand car in France is relatively easy. Have heard, though, that second-hand car prices are comparatively steep so maybe buying in Germany (or UK) is an option. So much depends on whether the hassle of buying outside of France is worth it to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's hard to say 'cos we don't know your itinerary and how well you speak French. If the Uk is part of your plans and your French isn't so good, perhaps buying in the UK would be an option. But from all I 've read, buying a second-hand car in France is relatively easy. Have heard, though, that second-hand car prices are comparatively steep so maybe buying in Germany (or UK) is an option. So much depends on whether the hassle of buying outside of France is worth it to you.

UK will have the problem of driving on other side of road etc

how about bringing a car from berlin? i know someone there and can easily go there during holiday season that is coming up. does anyone know what kind of paperwork i will need?
 

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Buying a car in Europe means that you pay the VAT based on your country of residence - NOT the country where you buy the car. Yes, there are price differences from country to country, but ultimately you wind up paying for the car that meets the local (to where you live) standards.

You may want to try catering favor with the local garage people by looking at and buying a used vehicle off their lot. Since the car has to pass inspection within 6 months of the sale, the car dealers fix them up pretty well to unload them. Plus, they're counting on getting your business for maintenance (at least if the car is the same brand as their dealership).

If you have a good garage in your town, it's a great way to develop a valuable working relationship when you're new in town.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Dear hicagoan

I would sincerely advice you to purchase a car in Europe instead of importing. Imported cars worthe the deal when it comes to luxury vehicles or special vehicels (coupes, 4x4).

Now depending on what you need, shop around on the main websites in France. I would recommend 2
Voiture occasion - Annonce auto, achat et vente voiture occasion - lacentrale.fr (for secure private deals which gives a good estimation of the market )
AutoScout24: voiture d'occasion - annonces auto gratuites. (largest european search possible, be ware of fraud scams from individuals)

Importing from Germany (second Hand or new) is ok, but car will need
1- road worthiness certificate (French, less than 90 days)
2- RTI reception a titre isolee (from Ministryf o Induisry = DRIRE) , process can be painful. This checks if the vehicle meets European Industry standards.
3- invoice and legitimation of residence
4- insurance certificate

does this help?

Good luck
 

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I found it pretty easy to buy a used ("occasion") car in France. My relocation company didn't provide any help, but I hooked with other Americans here, and they recommended a small garage with a guy that speaks English and specializes in helping expats buy and sell cars. There has got to be something like that where you are going. This guy even went to the prefecture to get the carte gris for me, so it has been hassle-free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There is a clio I am considering buying, it is 2002, less than 100,000kms
it has had its major maintenance done, has A/C, is stick shift

the dealer is asking for 4000 euros

is it a good price?

is clio 2002 a good car?
 

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There is a clio I am considering buying, it is 2002, less than 100,000kms
it has had its major maintenance done, has A/C, is stick shift

the dealer is asking for 4000 euros

is it a good price?

is clio 2002 a good car?
L'argus is considered the official source for car prices in France. Their website is here: annonces auto vendre voiture occasion acheter credit assurance cote argus - argusauto.com

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you can get their listing of currently available used Clio's (Clio is a Renault model - very popular). Or at the top of the page on the right side, click on the tab that says "La cote argus" - that takes you to a page where you can key in information about the car you're interested in and get a quote on it (basically it's blue book value). The quote service costs something like 3 or 4€ for two quotes obtained at the same time - have your credit card ready.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Choice and use

Indeed, it is a matter of choice ...

Some considerations
Clio and Twingo by Renault are extremely popular in France. As small city cars. Being popular remains a disadvantage 'though as it increases prices.

The durability of Renault is not one of the best, especially after more than 5 years and 100 000 km. Remember that the car being older than 5 years old, you would have to undertake a yearly road worthiness certificate.

Again depending on the use you make of it : country or city? (large cars are difficult to park). PLus, insurance between small and large cars must be compared. Insist on garage guarantee (6 months at no extra cost) , the dealer might offer you extension of guarantee at a cost.

For about the same price as your Clio, I would go for a more reliable type of car such as a Mercedes. Works also on Ethanol I believe.
AutoScout24: detail du véhicule (1995 model with 90 000 km). Agree with you it is old, why so little km?)

You would obviously find cheaper in Netherlands, Germany or Italy
AutoScout24: detail du véhicule (Diesel Mercedes)
AutoScout24: detail du véhicule (Combi)
AutoScout24: detail du véhicule (City car)

Once again choice and use are critical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
What kind of paperwork am I looking at to bring from Germany or Netherlands?

btw. I haven't received my carte de sejour, is it necessary? coz i think that will take some time
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Indeed, it is a matter of choice ...

Some considerations
Clio and Twingo by Renault are extremely popular in France. As small city cars. Being popular remains a disadvantage 'though as it increases prices.

The durability of Renault is not one of the best, especially after more than 5 years and 100 000 km. Remember that the car being older than 5 years old, you would have to undertake a yearly road worthiness certificate.

Again depending on the use you make of it : country or city? (large cars are difficult to park). PLus, insurance between small and large cars must be compared. Insist on garage guarantee (6 months at no extra cost) , the dealer might offer you extension of guarantee at a cost.

For about the same price as your Clio, I would go for a more reliable type of car such as a Mercedes. Works also on Ethanol I believe.
AutoScout24: detail du véhicule (1995 model with 90 000 km). Agree with you it is old, why so little km?)

You would obviously find cheaper in Netherlands, Germany or Italy
AutoScout24: detail du véhicule (Diesel Mercedes)
AutoScout24: detail du véhicule (Combi)
AutoScout24: detail du véhicule (City car)

Once again choice and use are critical.
I am just looking for a reliable car for 1 year, i.e. a car that won't strand me in the middle of the road or anything like that. I have visa de long sejour, which is not schengen, so buying a car outside france means adding cost of flight, visa, driving back... In case of Nice, driving for 10 hours!!!

But I agree that Renault may not be the best used car to buy. If there is a Merc in Nice, there should be one in Paris too.
 

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The durability of Renault is not one of the best, especially after more than 5 years and 100 000 km. Remember that the car being older than 5 years old, you would have to undertake a yearly road worthiness certificate.
...

For about the same price as your Clio, I would go for a more reliable type of car such as a Mercedes. Works also on Ethanol I believe.
...

You would obviously find cheaper in Netherlands, Germany or Italy

Once again choice and use are critical.
Sorry, but I have to disagree with you here. First of all, I don't know what you're talking about with yearly certification. My car is 15 years old and still only has to pass a controle technique every two years, just like any other non-new car.

I'd also really advise against going outside France for a used car - especially if the OP is only going to be here for a year anyhow. On bringing the car to France, you have to pay the French VAT and have a special controle technique to make sure the vehicle meets French standards. It's a royal pain in the butt - and simply not worth it. In terms of time and money, you'd lose any savings by buying elsewhere - unless you have your heart set on a particular brand and model and intend on keeping it for many years.

If you'll have a Renault garage somewhere nearby, that's really the best situation. Friends of mine have a Mercedes, and the closest Mercedes garage is rather far away and not terribly convenient for repairs.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Used cars in Italy are very expensive. So cross that idea off the list.

One suggestion consider diesel if you drive a lot.

Be careful with natural gas conversions. Some companies require fairly expensive normal upkeep.
 
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