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Buying a car in Italy or France for road trip.

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Mar 19th, 2013, 05:01 PM
  #1
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Buying a car in Italy or France for road trip.

The wife and I are thinking about doing a road trip around Italy and France for a couple weeks. No solid plans yet, just throwing around ideas.

We were thinking about buying a van or wagon or something that we could use to camp in during the road trip. That will help to keep lodging cost down.

Is it possible to get a temporary registration as a foreigner? What are the rules in Italy and France for car ownership?

Thanks
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Mar 19th, 2013, 05:22 PM
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What is your citizenship? I'm no expert on this, but I do know that obtaining a European driving license is incredibly onerous compared to, say, a U.S. one.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 05:24 PM
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I do not think that you will be able to buy a camper or a van. You can rent one. However, given the cost of the rental, it probably would be cheaper to travel lightly and get the smallest car available with standard shift and use the savings for staying at hotels or B&Bs.

http://www.kemwel.com/

the rules on rental vary from country to country. Italy, as a rule of thumb, does not allow your credit card to carry the CDW; France does. That's what the "basic" rate represents when looking a Kemwel or Autoeurope pricing--and you will not see it when specifying an Italian location. Cross-Border drop-off incur heavy fees. If you decide to travel by car in France and Italy, you will either have to have two rentals--one for each country--or make a loop with the rental at the higher Italian rate.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 05:26 PM
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You might want to look at leasing a car. http://goeurope.about.com/od/driving...vs-leasing.htm. I have bought a car to drive in France, and without the help of my landlord, it would have been impossible. You have to prove you are living in France to buy a car in France. I have bought 3 cars in UK, and it is doable there, but still a hassle. I have never bought a car in Spain. You can rent campers in Europe, Germany is the cheapest to rent in, but at the rental rates, plus fuel, leasing a car and staying in hotels, or gites or airbnb is cheaper, I think. You might want to look at gumtree.com (similar to craigslist in US) and see if someone will do a short term rental for a camper. Worth a look.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 05:30 PM
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Buy a new Volvo wagon or SUV in Sweden through their program.

I think you can keep it quite awhile to drive around Europe, then return it to them, and they ship it to you in the States. In case you need a new car stateside!
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Mar 19th, 2013, 05:31 PM
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Forgot to say, you pick up the car in Sweden, but there a several drop off cities in Europe. And Volvo takes care of all the paperwork.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 05:51 PM
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I once bought a VW and picked it up in Paris and used it for two months in Europe. I shipped it home and had it for serveral years. I do not know if VW still has this type of program, but ask.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 06:16 PM
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We did exactly what PeaceOut mentions. Bought a Volvo thru their Overseas Delivery Program. The 2 important things she left out 1. Car costs less and 2. You get 2 round trip airplane tickets. Another nice thing is that you can customize the car.

Peugeot (and maybe Renault) has a program where you buy the car and then sell it back to them; I think that is how it works.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 06:24 PM
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The OP says they will only be there for 'a couple of weeks' is that worth the trouble? I can understanding it was a couple of months. He implies they will live in the car, do we know if that's ok? I think that's concerning. I doubt you can just pull up somewhere and sleep in the back of a station wagon. Where will they shower etc.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 06:44 PM
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In the dark ages (1967), my parents did this. My Dad ordered the car (a Citroen) before the trip. We picked it up in Paris, drove it around France for a couple of weeks, and had it shipped home from the south of France.

I had to write the letters to (and translate the letters from ) Citroen, which, at age 17, made me very nervous. I kept telling my Dad that if he got a car equipped with some odd things, not to blame me--iodine quartz driving lights weren't in my college French class vocabulary lessons.

IIRC (which I may not), we didn't have to pay duty because the car was used when we shipped it home.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 08:34 PM
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probably best to get it in france as italy has huge insurance requirements..

leasing is a good option.. i am leasing from "auto france" next month. while expensive it is a fab deal as you get a new car and full insurances and taxes included..

google them... citroen has a similar program..
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Mar 19th, 2013, 09:02 PM
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Have a look at the Renault buy back leasing program. This might suit your needs.
http://www.renaultusa.com/travelpartners.asp.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 09:50 PM
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jkbritt,

Leasing works for 17 days or more, which is more than the two weeks the OP mentioned. Moreover, it is much more expensive than a rental for that period of time.
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Mar 19th, 2013, 09:55 PM
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a fab deal as you get a new car and full insurances and taxes included..

I wish prices were given. I will bet that for that period of time a rental is much cheaper, and the car probably less than a year old. The rates quoted by Autoeurope for a rental include the VAT. Only RR station pickup fees, road usage fees and a possible pollution fee for having an automatic are not included, and these add up to about $100 per rental.
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Mar 20th, 2013, 12:59 AM
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My brother bought an overseas delivery Volvo wagon in 1990. He just had his first roadside breakdown at 299,683 miles. it was the alternator , it has been replaced and he will continue into the 300,000 mile range. BMW has a similar program. If you really want to camp -- you won't save money -- you could check out Westphalia for a similar program, then get the camper shipped home.
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Mar 20th, 2013, 01:00 AM
  #16
 
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Buying a car in Italy involves paying one year insurance, as you are not known it would be at top rate, you can probably rent a limousine for the same amount. And then you would have to dispose it when you leave...
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Mar 20th, 2013, 02:12 AM
  #17
 
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Buying and selling (if you can) for just two weeks is not a good idea. What if you haven't sold the car before your flight time. Do you abandon it in a car park? What if the car you buy, if it's a used car, has problems? Do you know enough about cars to know if it's got problems? What about the hassle of complying with the law in the country that you buy in, i.e. road tax, insurance etc?

Rent a car or camper, it makes much more sense.
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Mar 20th, 2013, 02:19 AM
  #18
 
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You could not get mandatory insurance if you do not have an address in the country where you buy the car. You almost certainly can't register the vehicle in your name without a local address and proof of valid insurance, and that you have paid any tax due on the vehicle.

For a couple of weeks it is just not worth it. Hire a car or a camper. Campers will be quite a bit smaller than you are used to if you are from North America. Rental costs can be high and often, as in the US, don't include mileage, which together with fuel costs can make it as expensive an option as hotels/B&Bs for a couple of weeks.

If you were staying longer I'd suggest the buy back scheme (effectively a lease scheme)some Dutch Camper companies offer, whereby they retain the title and pay the insurance, but that is only worth considering for a longer period of time.
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Mar 20th, 2013, 11:25 AM
  #19
 
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I can't imagine buying a van for just a two week stay. It just is not logical given the cost of rental vs purchase. And I know that you can not do this in Italy which requires an Italian drivers license (the test is only given in Italian) to purchase a car.

Look a using inexpensive B&Bs and or renting a van!!
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Mar 20th, 2013, 08:26 PM
  #20
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Wow. Thanks for the immense response. First off, Im from USA. Connecticut specifically.

The whole idea behind this was to try to cut down the travel and lodging costs in half if not more. Obviously renting cars and hotels would be ideal, however that can get quite expensive.

The plan is to try to do the trip on a tight budget. Im an auto mechanic by trade an certainly know my way around an old cheap car. Numerous occasions I have bought cheap cars from craigslist here at home and driven them for quite a while without problems. In fact the car I have now is a 96 subaru wagon I bought for $800 and have done absolutely nothing to the car for the past 10 months but put gas in it.

I have quite a bit of experience with U.S. spec VWs from the 90's They are cheap to find and easy to fix. I was kind of hoping to have the same sort of luck abroad.

As far as sleeping, not sure how it is over there, but state-side there are plenty of places to park and crash for the night. Rest stops on the highway, 24hour service stations and the sort. We don't plan on bum status the entire trip. There will be a couple hotel stops mixed in here and there for quality rest and showering. Mostly in the car though.

I really have no interest in buying a car and trying to have it exported to the U.S. There are several European cars that I would love to do that to but I've heard that its more of a hassle than its worth. And that's not the point of this trip.

Im just kind of drawn to the idea of buying a car just for this trip and selling/giving it away when done. It may be lame, but I've owned A LOT of different cars over the years,most of which I bought for less than $1000, and would like to add a true foreign one to the list.

I though that maybe I could work out a deal with someone over there that if they register and insure it for me for a couple weeks, when I'm done with it they could have it. Problem is, I don't know anybody there.

My wife is/was pretty fluent in French through several years of schooling. However that was a couple years back now. Hopefully she still remembers. Can someone suggest a website that we may be able to make some contacts that she can talk to about all this?

Thanks very much everyone for the input! I got a mush larger response than expected.
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