Buy A Car In Germany
If you want to buy a car in Germany you should be aware of the fact that it can be both exciting and daunting. Why exciting? Because there are many options of cars from where you can take your pick. Why daunting? Because the car prices tend to be a little bit more steep and the entire affair has to be handled in a different language.
First of all, you need to decide if you want to buy a new or a used car. You can figure this out by answering the following questions: what sort of driving will you be doing (city / autobahn)? How many kilometers you plan on making? How much money are you willing to spend?
You need to be aware of the fact that in Germany the law prohibits the freewheeling bargaining which is predominant in most of the other European countries. This means that at least in theory, you will have to pay what the price tag says. The good thing is that there are still a few ways of lowering the price list. One of them occurs when the dealers give discounts for customers that pay in cash. Others will register cars for a day and after that they immediately deregister them, turning them into “used cars”, meaning that they will have the possibility to play around with the price catalog of the vehicle.
Negotiation is not entirely excluded as you will be able to cut down the price a little bit when it comes down to the car’s extra features, like: sound system, air conditioning, sunroof as well as other accessories. Another solid way of saving a few Euros is by making sure that the car dealer will give you a good deal for the trade-in.
If you don’t have the cash to buy the car or you simply don’t want to, you will have to finance it. Many of the automakers offer a wide variety of internal finance programs which in most of the cases have a better interest rate in comparison with the banks. However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t have a look at the financial institutions. Depending upon the car’s price tag, financing can last from 24 to 60 months. It would be wise to make a 20% down payment in order to get the best interest rates.
If you shop carefully and you know a little bit about cars, a used one can be a great way of saving money while at the same time ending with a good model. By purchasing through an auto dealer, you will most likely benefit from some sort of warranty. According to Germany’s “lemon law”, the car dealerships must provide a one-year warranty for all of the used vehicles they commercialize. They are fully responsible for the defects that are present at the time of the sale but they will not have to fix the damages that occur from negligence or regular wear and tear.
If you have enough courage, you have the possibility to purchase a car through a private seller. You will find lots of them in the newspaper ads. Make sure that you check the mileage, date of the next inspection, model year, and number of owners, type of catalytic convertor and the date of the first registration.
Buying a car in Germany from a private seller can be a good idea as it is common knowledge that they take very good care of their cars and you can grab one for a fair price. If you prefer purchasing from a car dealer, regardless if the car is new or used, they should help you with the registration and the insurance issues. The downside when buying from a private seller is that you will have to take care of these things by yourself, unless you are lucky enough to find a seller that is willing to help you through the process.
The seller of the car should provide you with the following documents:
a) Ownership and registration documents;
b) Proof of exhaust emission testing (required for re-registering cars older than three years);
c) The dealer should give you a service history recording previous car defects;
d) Auto dealers must give a roadworthiness certificate which will be valid for two years;
e) A written contract of sale;
f) The seller of the car must inform the insurance company in writing that the car has been sold.
You will need to have the following documents in order to register the car:
a) Proof of identity (identity card or passport);
b) Proof of residency;
c) Proof of insurance;
d) Original car registration documents;
e) Written contract of sale.
As of March 1st, 2008, the owner of the car does not receive a copy of the documents for registering the car because of the data protection regulations between the insurance firms, car registration offices as well as the German driver vehicle licensing agency. Instead of these documents, the owner will get an insurance confirmation number from the insurance company which is saved in a central database for other agencies.
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