What determines legal ownership of a car, the person who paid for it or the person it is registered
The person it is registered to in most cases. That's why when you finance a car, the actual title belongs to whomever services the loan.
If it was an outright payment for goods, unless there is some sort of agreement, it is still owned by whomever is the registered owner. That said, if the person who paid for it has their name on the title, they are the owner.
The person it's registered to. Unless you paid cash, you don't "own" the car till it's paid off in full.
The car is owned by the person, bank, or finance company that has the car's Title.
The name on the Registration is the primary driver of the car. The Title and Registration can be under different names. If the Title is in your name, you are the owner.
neither. when a car is brand new and has no "owners" yet. it has a document called a MSO-manufacturer statement of origin. a beautiful blue document (i have had several) that when the typical person buys a car, gets sent to the state, (you are now driving THEIR car) and the state sends you a "certificate" of title, not THE title. you have "equity" ownership, not true ownership. if you were to drive the car around with the MSO, you would have had to pay for it in full (cash), if someone gave you a difficult time about getting the document, you may have to use real money (21 pieces of silver minted coins from the USA) and "corporate notes of undertmined value) (ie; dollar bills) to pay for it. you also may need a back bone to demand your property, no offense meant.
SO, the state owns all the cars, legal and lawful are also two different things. with your title you have equity ownership which means you can buy and sell the car for profit or loss, your choice. you get a license to drive their cars. we used to be able to travel from point A to point B as a right, not anymore.
when you finance the car, the state still owns it in title/deed-the principle is the financier, and the equity position holder, and you are subject to all the rules you have just contracted with, hope this helps. Dr. Mike
In the State of Washington when a car is purchased the purchaser's name appears on the title as "Legal owner", if the car isn't paid for in cash the financing agency will show as the "Legal owner" until the debt is paid and the financing agency notifies the state. The registered owner is the person or entity that has possession and use of the vehicle.
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