The Pros and Cons of Buying a Car Abroad

If you’re interested in buying a new car, perhaps it’s time to look further from home. A lot further, that is. While there are certainly problems to contend with, the idea of buying a car abroad has become very appealing in recent years. With the promise of lower prices, exciting new driving experiences, and potentially even free airfare, many people are now willing to overlook the difficulties involved with and other issues.

Often unknown to those outside of the international business and overseas military communities, car shopping abroad can prove to be a uniquely satisfying experience. Many European car manufacturers offer a program called European delivery, which allows customers the opportunity to visit manufacturing sites, take possession of their new automobile fresh from the manufacturer, and tour across Europe for as long as five months before returning home. At least with a new car you aren’t taking your car to the source manufacturer to get it hoisted up on a . The automobile is then shipped to the United States and made available for pickup, generally in less than two months.

There are several aspects of these programs that are appealing to US buyers. Car prices are usually significantly less when purchasing directly from European manufacturers. In addition, these programs often include free or significantly reduced airfare to and from the company’s country of origin, and occasionally free or reduced hotel bookings. Because of this, and the fact that it’s not necessary to rent a car, many people take advantage of these programs to plan a European vacation. To others, the chance to drive their new car on beautiful and challenging European roads is too much to turn down. The twisting, turning roads that wind through the Alps are of particular interest, as are the famed autobahns of Germany. Driving a new car through exotic locales and challenging roadways is often reported to be the most exhilarating part of the experience, leading to much less buyer’s remorse and a more rewarding purchase that benefits both the customers and car companies.

There are significant challenges that can complicate the process, however, depending upon the particulars of the arrangement with the car company. While many manufacturers handle the car shipping and importing process under the agreement, some require the buyer to arrange their own shipping. There are a number of fees and duties associated with shipment and transport that must be considered as well. Most importantly, any vehicle purchased outside of the United States must be designed for use in the US, and must meet strict safety, weight, and emissions standards. Importing a vehicle that does not comply with all standards can potentially require costly modifications before it is legal to drive. Depending on the state of the buyer, sales tax may also be added to the final price.

Ultimately, the decision to buy a car overseas depends on the priorities of the shopper. Those who are looking for a straightforward, hassle-free purchase may be best served by a simple visit to a local dealership. But those who are looking for an exhilarating, satisfying experience at a reasonable price, so long as they’re willing to overlook the potential headaches involved with car shipping and regulations, owe it to themselves to consider buying abroad.

Jade Evans is a freelance writer who works frequently with uShip and has a love of cars that she will never be able to afford.

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