buying a Franch car - help!

(18 Posts)
slinkyboo Mon 06-Sep-10 22:42:07

We are shortly moving to France from the UK (I previously posted as sleepyprincess).

We want to sell my UK car and buy a French car but, having looked at French equivalents of autotrader, we have been dismayed by how much more expensive cars seem to be in France.

Where or how can we buy a decent French-make car? We'd like a large-ish family car, such as the Citroen Grand Picasso, up to five years old.

Any help much appreciated (Bonsoir...etes vous la? Vous connaissez beaucoup la France!)

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slinkyboo Mon 06-Sep-10 22:42:46

blush ahem, of course I meant 'buying a FRENCH car blush

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overthemill Tue 07-Sep-10 08:35:31

i am told that the cheapest way to get a car is to cross to belguim. I dont think there is as much second hand trade as here. and buy a 'french' make so maintenance costs are low and easy to get

Othersideofthechannel Tue 07-Sep-10 20:08:41

Yes, cars are cheaper in Belgium.

There are also some garages in the UK which sell French reg LHD cars in sterling. Have no idea about prices though.

Peugeot, Citroen and Renault all a bit cheaper to insure than other brands (although we will never buy Renault again after a bad experience with a Scenic)

Good luck

natation Tue 07-Sep-10 21:36:51

Got emailes last week an advert for someone about to return I assule from Brussels to the UK and wanting to sell their car, it´s an Opel Zafira, sam size and type of 7 seater as a Grand Picasso, 7 years old, want 5.5K but on UK 2nd hand prices, worth 4.5k. If you are interested in this car, post your email surrounded by """"" or XXXX

slinkyboo Wed 08-Sep-10 20:28:48

Many thanks natation but we would ideally like something a little newer and preferably Renault or Citroen. Thans anyway smile

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MmeLindt Wed 08-Sep-10 20:30:53

Depending on where you are moving to, check out the Expat forum (if there is one) where you can often find good deals from folk heading home.


herbietea Wed 08-Sep-10 20:33:10

Message withdrawn

puddlepuss Wed 08-Sep-10 20:34:42

Try looking at AngloInfo in the classified section. There's normally quite a lot of cars on there of varying ages. Just check that they're LHD, not just french registered. I did hear of a cheap 2nd hand car sales site but I can't think what it's called at the moment - I'll ask dh and get back to you.

Being nosy smile, where are you moving too?

tb Thu 09-Sep-10 18:13:57

There are sometimes cars for sale on The site is useful for all sorts of queries too.

Also have a look at the site for autoplus magazine. The paper version has adverts for firms that supply new cars at up to 30% discount. From memory there is one called elite autos, but can't remember the site. Sometimes there is a delivery point in each dept, sometimes you would have to travel to collect the car. With the new changes, you wouldn't have to change the plates, just the 'carte grise', so a little less hassle.

Secondhand cars are often nearly as dear, or dearer than new cars here (I live in France). There isn't the 25% of company cars that exists in the UK with the resultant volume coming on to the secondhand market every year.

I know someone who bought a new car recently, big Peugot people carrier, and he got it from Belgium.

Not only the price of cars, but the price of tyres makes you want to weep. They could roll them down the hill from Clermont to where I live, but Michelin tyres are over twice the price I would pay at Costco. shock

Good luck with the move, and don't touch any renovation projects with a barge-pole unless you have loads of building skills!

AuldAlliance Thu 09-Sep-10 19:48:13

If you are feeling very brave, you can buy a car at auction (vehicles that have been impounded because their owners have gone bankrupt, and former rental vehicles, too, as well as cars sold by dealers). The local paper should say where and when the next one is, and you can (and should) go in advance and check them out, read the blurb, etc., before bidding day.
There are some v good deals to be had, but obviously you can't be sure there'd be a vehicle in your category at that specific auction. Worth a try, though...

slinkyboo Thu 09-Sep-10 20:16:39

Ooh more replies, thanks all!

MmeLindt, there is an expat forum but it is somewhat slow to yield any replies unfortunately...

Puddlepuss - will try AngloInfo, thanks. We are moving to just outside Chantilly, Oise. smile

tb just the words 'renovation project' send chills through my bones...nope, we're buying a house that's only about 30 years old!

AuldAlliance - definitely not brave enough blush

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puddlepuss Thu 09-Sep-10 20:58:39

I have got dh on the case to find out the name of the other site so I'll get back to you with it asap. We're in Brittany - moving to France is fab! smile

tb Thu 09-Sep-10 21:04:51

Slinky, we bought a 5-bed 50s house in a village where dd was settled in school (she'd been a school refuser in the UK because of bullying). It hadn't been touched since new and we've spent over €100k on work.

Lest week we got a demand for 4k from the tax people because the "artisan" bastard who did a lot of the work didn't prepare the invoice properly to justify the tax refund. Grrrr - I could rip his balls off, except that it's probably been done. AND he was recommended and did work for an estate agent on rented property, including the house we were in. (Mind, the agent went bust with our €1200 deposit - and we thought we were fairly savvy,)

slinkyboo Thu 09-Sep-10 21:31:14

tb what a nightmare sad Can you get any comeback from the incompetent monsieur who did the work??

puddlepuss - thanks...I'll check back tomorrow.

There is so much to do my head is spinning. We leave on the 1st Oct!

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tb Fri 10-Sep-10 19:46:34

Slinky, under the 10 year decennial guarantee you have the (doubtful) pleasure of inviting the said artisan back to re-do the work until he's got it right. That's if you can bear it.

You only have to look at total france to see how dire customer service is.

Yes, you can get a 'devis', which has the same status as a quote in the UK, but getting an artisan to sign it and give a date when the work will be done is almost unknown in our experience, with the exceotion of an English plumber, who replaced a bath that cracked under guarantee. This was after waiting for over a year for the plumber to replace it, and after writing a registered letter asking him when he was going to replace it. The same letter asked him to redo his invoice showing how the equipment fitted met the requirements for a tax rebate.

Also watch out for decorating costs. Toile de verre, the equivalent of anaglypta costs up to €100 a roll, albeit large ones. Paint is dear too, and the painters charge about €40 an hour. I know the 50% rate of cotisations are partly to blame, but just before we left, we paid £12 an hour to a painter, and he was declaring his income, so it wasn't done as a foreigner.

If you can stand the upheaval, I'd rent first before buying. Completions take about 3 months anyway. In our dept, the Correze, there is only 1 person doing the searches, which accounts for some of the delay.

Have a good look on tf, there are loads of sections, but keep a sense of humour regarding all the Brits salivating over their next delivery of HP baked beans from Asda sent out via sterling and other delivery services. However, apart from a few, there are loads of helpful people who can give info on loads of things, including how to fill in tax returns.

slinkyboo Fri 10-Sep-10 20:13:12

Hi tb, we have already bought a house (we go out the week after next to complete) so we won't be renting.

Bureaucracy sounds like a nightmare in France, that's for sure...I'm bracing myself!!

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tb Sat 11-Sep-10 12:07:55

Just in case you haven't got a printer/copier with you immediately, make sure you have loads of copies of relevant docs, such as birth+marriage certs, decree nisi etc.

A reference from your uk bank is useless to open a bank account, we got one from the owner of the gite we had rented before. You would also be surprised at the number of doors an edf bill opens. grin

Also, don't send back any of your uk credit cards or close accounts. Once a certain amount of time has passed you will not be able to acquire new ones.

Good luck with the move

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