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Buying cars. Where is the best place to do it?

Updated on July 8, 2011

Almost everyone has a car. It's not only a way to get around, it's a symbol of freedom. A chance to go anywhere, and everywhere. Many even form relationships with their cars...Even going as far as to name theirs.
Usually Margery.

But first you have to actually buy your car. If you live in America, you have no choice to buy in America.
If you live in Europe, it's a whole other story, but what country is the best place to buy cars? Britain? Mainland Europe? Or the USA?

Besides this, where is the best place to actually run a car? With rising Petrol prices cars are becoming increasingly expensive...

VW Golf 1.2 TSI
VW Golf 1.2 TSI | Source

Buying new.

In America, as I'm sure you'll be quite aware, the initial cost to buy a car is much lower than England. This is mainly because you do not pay the VAT on cars that you do in England.

Take the Volkswagen Golf for an example. It is made in Wolfsburg, Germany and shipped all over the world, including England, Mainland Europe and America.

The most basic versions of the Golf vary from country to country.
In America it is the 2.5L, 5-Speed Manual which produces 170HP.
In England it is the 1.2L, 5-Speed Manual which produces 83HP.
In Germany it is the 1.4, 5-Speed Manual which produces 79HP.

A pretty basic 2 door Volkswagen Golf, brand new, will cost you approximately $17,900. (£11,000) In England the very same car will cost approximately £15000 ($24,600).

So Europe, what's your best price? Let's Germany.
16,800€ or £14,900 ($24,300). So it's not much cheaper, for a German car, in Germany! However here you do have to look at the power-cost ratio. The British car produces more power, and is approximately £100 (110€) more expensive.

But let's be honest...The best deal is the American Golf, with a saving of a whopping £4000 (4500€ and $6500)

2007/08 Volkswagen Golf GTI
2007/08 Volkswagen Golf GTI | Source

Buying used.

Okay, so let's just say, for arguments sake, about a year ago you bought a nice little VW Golf GTI 2L Turbo. But you're selling it.
Maybe it smells of weed, or perhaps you're bored. Whatever the reason, it's in good condition.
What price should you sell it at? More importantly, how much is it going to cost to buy?
If you need to buy a car, but can't afford new buying used is the best bet for getting the car of your dreams. (Or nightmares if you're not careful). But where is the best place to buy a used car? England? America? Germany? Well...

After literally minutes of searching, I found 2 2008 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2L turbo's, the English one with 40,000 miles, and the American one with 26,000 miles on the clock.
So, the American car came in at a seemingly reasonable $18,000, which equates to roughly £11,000.
And the British car? With more miles on the clock? Well that was £11000, or $18,000!
In America, your car has just lost $5,500 in 2 years
In England your car has lost over £14,000 in a staggering 2 years!

What about in Germany? Well I couldn't find a Golf GTI from 2008...
But A 2008 1.9 TDI cost a reasonable €11000, which equates to £9,800.
In England the same car cost £5,500, and in America...I couldn't find a Golf TDI from the States.

In conclusion, you're better off buying used cars in sunny-old England and Continental Europe than you are in America...But you're no better off buying used in America, in fact you just might as well buy new.
As well as this, the range of used cars in England is much greater, but for a simple reason. English cars have a longer shelf-life. They're more expensive to buy new, so the used market is huge.


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    • Ryan-Palmsy profile image

      Ryan Palmer 6 years ago from In a Galaxy far, far away

      Thanks Simone! I hope it helps you when you come to buy a new, used etc car!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Huh, I hadn't thought about the effect the VAT would have.

      This is a great guide! Thanks for putting it together. Clearly there are a bunch of important details to think through- not just taxes, but new vs. used, europe vs. US vs. UK, etc. Jeez!!

    • Ryan-Palmsy profile image

      Ryan Palmer 6 years ago from In a Galaxy far, far away

      I found the vehicles on, and, as well as German new and used vehicle websites.

      They advertise both new and used cars. It doesn't matter what website you look on, buying new cars is cheaper to do in America, and used cars are cheaper in England. That was the point of the article, and amazingly it proved that.

    • DRG Da Real Grinc profile image

      Felix J Hernandez 6 years ago from All over the USA

      What about the websites offering new and used cars, new Hub huh?