Car buying advice

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Date added: 28 May 2021

Hello – we’re planning to move to a small village outside Morzine in Haute-Savoie from the UK.

Currently we have a 2WD RHD VW California Campervan as our sole vehicle which we’re going to regretfully part from as we go.

I’m looking for advice from anyone who can help? We like estate cars rather than SUVs and are keen on a 2nd hand Audi A4 AllRoad. Does anyone know:

a) What’s the best place to source LHD AllRoads in FR/EU
b) If we but the car in the EU but outside France, do we get taxed/penalised for that outside the normal registration fees?
c) Does anyone know of a European site offering 2nd hand VW Californias with AWD (4Motion)?

Thanks! Robin

Member comments

  1. Hello Robin,
    If I may share some advice, I have 35 years experience in the motor industry so hopefully this will be useful information.
    Depending on age of the A4 allroad and your own expertise etc I would strongly recommend buying via a franchise dealer. The allroad is a great car but for peace of mind and to ensure you have a good backup service this is your best option.
    VW Californias AWD are very rare and you will pay a premium.
    If I was in your position and are happy with your current VW California I would fit winter tyres to your own vehicle you will find it pretty good in winter weather conditions as it is FWD, you might be able to live with this option, if not then consider changing the vehicle next year. It is a reasonably straight forward process to register your car in France and there will always be a strong market for your vehicle, either in Europe or the UK.
    Hope this is useful

    1. As I understand it, the initial point of contact for imported vehicles from the UK is French customs. Someone in officialdom explained to me that it’s more complicated than prior to Brexit but he didn’t elaborate.
      There are a number of auto dealers on eBay who specialise in LHD vehicles, some of them originally registered in France, and who can probably help with the documentation.
      You will find that second hand vehicles here are generally more expensive and have higher mileage, due to the fact that France is just bigger, than in the UK but there is no annual road tax to pay.

  2. Hi Robin,
    I’ve been looking/trying to buy an Allroad as well. We live in the Pyrennes and an Allroad seems like a good replacement for my old BMW estate. I got as far as saying yes to an A6 allroad in Switzerland and getting temporary French plates before I realised that vehicles from outside the EU attract 20% tax, I think post Brexit this now includes the UK.
    I declined on the A6, I’m still looking. As France and the rest of Europe is so expensive for second hand cars, I wouldn’t give up on Switzerland, cars are cheaper and have a lot more 4 wheel drive cars like the Allroad than most of Europe. Just factor in the tax.
    You often get a spare set of wheels and tyres thrown in with the deal .
    A technical point, the A6 Allroad has a complicated compressor/air bag suspension system that pumps up for rough conditions, it seems that it can prove VERY costly to repair, I mean VERY. The A4 Allroad doesnt have the same system, it just rides a bit higher than an ordinary A4 quattro.
    I’m also looking at an ( ordinary) A4 or A6 quattro estate there are lots around and a bit cheaper than an Allroad. You can also get a bigger range of petrol engines, ie, the 3litre v6 which you can’t get in the a4 Allroad.

    Best of luck Dixon

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