TIPS FOR BUYING A NEW CAR: EU VEHICLES ARE NO LONGER AN INSIDER TIP 

Re-imports from EU member states have long since left the status of an insider tip behind them, because the financial advantages are obvious. In some cases, they can be authorities. It starts with VAT, but that’s not all. In Scandinavia, for example, luxury taxes of up to 180 percent are levied on some cars. So that the manufacturers can sell their cars there, they price them differently, of course much cheaper. There are more reasons for the price differences within the EU. In some countries there is a much lower purchasing power than in Germany. The manufacturers and dealers therefore stimulate sales with lower prices. Anyone who has the car imported into Germany from other EU countries only pays the 19 percent VAT that is customary in this country on the much lower net price. The bottom line is that there are incredible discounts.

What about the higher administrative burden?

The disadvantage of an EU vehicle can be the higher administrative burden. This arises primarily when the buyer drives to the relevant EU country himself, purchases the vehicle there without VAT, transports it to his home town himself after the purchase and pays the German VAT to the responsible tax office. The customer must also meet all the requirements in the course of the introduction, such as the technical check for approval. Safety-relevant features of EU vehicles – unlike US imports – must not differ from German regulations because uniform rules apply in the EU. However, the buyer is responsible for checking. He must ensure that his imported EU vehicle meets German standards. All these disadvantages disappear if the buyer buys the EU vehicle from a German re-importer. These are specialized dealers for EU vehicles who know the procedure as well as the technical details and take care of them accordingly. That costs a small surcharge, but the vehicle is still significantly cheaper than a car delivered to Germany by the manufacturer.

The equipment in EU vehicles

The equipment features of the EU vehicles often differ from the German version of the car. This can also be beneficial. In cars produced for Scandinavia, for example, special winter equipment can be found as standard, in EU vehicles from southern countries there is almost always a standard air conditioning system. But there are sometimes missing equipment features that drivers in some countries do not appreciate too much. As a German motorist, the buyer has to check such features and decide for himself what the price advantage is worth in terms of restrictions. When it comes to details, differences in equipment are sometimes strange, sometimes insignificant and sometimes almost invisible. For an exact determination, the buyer really has to compare the equipment list point by point with the German brochure for the car. It will turn out that many of the deviations are absolutely tolerable. Cars for the Mediterranean countries rarely have heated seats, many EU vehicles bring a spare wheel with them. In Germany, the sealing kit is now common for newer, high-quality vehicles. Voice output and voice control of built-in navigation systems may (very rarely) understand German. But these are details that many drivers can come to terms with. Voice output and voice control of built-in navigation systems may (very rarely) understand German. But these are details that many drivers can come to terms with. Voice output and voice control of built-in navigation systems may (very rarely) understand German. But these are details that many drivers can come to terms with.

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