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Updated : 20/06/2016


Buying a car abroad

Price comparison

You are free to buy a car anywhere in the EU.

When comparing the price of a particular model in different countries, make sure you are comparing cars with the same equipment and interiors. Technical features (air conditioning, heating, and so on) may differ depending on where the vehicle is sold.

Make sure you know the VAT rules before buying a car elsewhere in the EU.

VAT rules for cars bought in another EU country are different to those for other goods. They also vary depending on whether the car is used or new, and whether the seller is a private individual or a professional.

Private sellers

Be aware that consumer legislation does not apply to private sales, so you should exercise extreme caution when buying a car from a private individual.

When dealing with a private seller, make sure you know as much as possible about him or her, including contact details.

By law, a car must be:

  • of satisfactory quality
  • as advertised
  • fit for purpose.

However, new cars will have a higher standard of ‘quality' compared to second-hand cars. The law recognises that a second-hand vehicle may not be completely fault-free.

Transporting your new car

When buying a new car in another EU country, you will need to consider carefully how to transport it home, because it will not yet be registered in the country where you live:

  • You can tow the car home, hitching it to a fully insured and registered vehicle.
  • You can hire a specialised shipping and transport company.
  • You can drive it yourself. However, to do this you will need valid insurance (for all the countries you will drive through) and a temporary number plate. These can be obtained in the country where you buy the car - your seller should be able to inform you. However, check first if a temporary number plate will be accepted in all the countries you will drive through.

You should obtain your car's permanent number plate in the country where you register your car.

Dig deeper, country by country:

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Common rights across EU countries

* Information not yet provided by national authorities


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In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

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