How to Successfully buy a car in Germany

How to buy a car in Germany as a new immigrant for the first time.

Apart from having one of the best public transport systems in the world, Germany also has one of the best car production industries. As such, getting a car while you are in the country would help you move around even better.  But just like it is in most parts of the world, there are a lot of things you need to consider when getting a car in Germany, especially as a foreigner. Knowing what you need to look out for makes the whole process seamless. Here is how you buy a car in Germany.

Types of cars 

There are four categories of cars you can choose to buy from in Germany:

  • New car (Neuwagen): a brand new car that has never been used before
  • Used car (Gebrauchtwagen): a used car that has had more than one previous owner
  • One-year-car (Jahreswagen): a car that has been used for no more than a year.
  • Display car (Vorführwagen): a car that was used for demonstrations at a dealership, which makes them almost good as new.

Buying a new car in Germany

New cars are often the most expensive you can get in the market. They, however, come with the advantage of being free from any malfunctions and you get to choose the model of the car as well as ask for any additional features on it. Knowing what you need to get a new car in Germany will help you get through the process faster. Here are some helpful tips

Do your research

Before you settle on a car, ensure you check out the dealerships near you. They all have different cars and would have a slight difference in car prices. Ensure that you know what you want and that it is within your budget. Do not skip this first step, as it makes the entire process seamless.

Get warranties

All new cars in Germany come with a two year warranty (Gewährleistung). Always ask for this, as it means any issues you encounter with your new car will be resolved at no extra cost.

Financing a purchase

If you cannot pay for the car in cash, then you need to figure out how you will get it.  One of the options would be to get a loan from the bank. In order for you to qualify for one, you need to have a good credit score.  The interests from banks might be higher so keep this in mind as you do your research. Most car dealerships also have financing options and these have lower interest rates than the bank. The one thing to remember is when you get financial help to buy the car, you need to keep up with the monthly payments lest your car get repossessed. You are likely to be denied financing if you lack a permanent employment contract or are still on probation in the country so bear this in mind.

Buying a used car in Germany

Germany has one of the largest markets for used cars in Europe.  The good thing with used cars is that they are affordable and available on demand. As such, if getting a car is of utmost importance to you, then you should go for a used car. Even though getting a used car seems straightforward, there are several things you need to keep in mind to avoid getting conned. 

Buying a used car from a private seller

Getting a car from a private seller is the easiest way to buy a used car in Germany. There are sites like that allow sellers to post their cars on there. The seller would give details of the car and their contact information as well. Always ensure that if you go check out a car, you do so in a public place and in the company of someone.  Also, ensure that you take the car for a test drive and that the owner transfers ownership to you before you pay for it. 

Buying a used car from car dealers

Getting a used car from a car dealership is the safest option for you since they deal with used cars all the time. There are some banks that could also offer you financing on some of the used cars, which is a plus.   The only thing you need to remember is that even with used cars, the prices from car dealers are slightly higher and you will still need to pay 19% VAT on the vehicle. 

Warranties on used cars

Car dealerships have a yearlong warranty on used cars. They will repair any defects the car might have come with, as well as any issues you might have with the car within a year of purchasing it.  Private sellers will not offer you this kind of warranty so keep that in mind as you look for options.

What to look out for when buying a used car in Germany

Just as you would in any other country, it is important that you pay extra attention when buying a used car. That way, you get value for your money and a car that will serve you for longer. Here are some of the things you need to look at when buying a used car in Germany. 


A good used car will have a mileage of not more than 100,000 kilometers. Anything above this would mean that you are getting an old car. The only upside of cars with higher mileage is that they are cheaper to buy.

Date of first registration and the number of previous owners

The state of first registration helps you know how old your car is. When it comes to previous owner, the fewer the previous owners are, the better it is for you.

Date of the next roadworthiness inspection

Every car in Germany needs to go through a roadworthiness test every two years. The inspection is known as Hauptuntersuchung (HU) or TÜV. Knowing when the next TÜV is can be vital since you will need to cater for any repairs that are needed after the report is sent. Also, ensure you see a full report of previous TÜV checks, as that helps you know if the issues the car had were resolved or not.

Sales contract

Before a sale is completed, ensure you have a sales contract (Kaufvertrag). There are various templates online that you can use so check those out. The contract should contain all details of the transaction as well as any defects the car came with.

Proper paperwork

Before you take the car, ensure it has the following paperwork:

  • Registration certificate, part 1
  • Registration certificate, part 2
  • Maintenance and service vehicles
  • Owner’s manual

You should also ensure you get both sets of keys for the car. The owner might give you some spare parts but that depends from person to person.

Steps to buying a car in Germany

Now that you have all the information on all your options, here are the simple steps to buying a car in Germany:

  • Have a budget
  • Get the car you want
  • Take it for a test drive
  • Make a down payment
  • Get an eVB number
  • Get your license plates
  • Register your car
  • Pick the car up

Car registration

All cars in Germany need to be registered and you can do this online or at the local car registration office.  These are some of the documents you need to register your car

  • Filled out vehicle registration form 
  • Valid ID
  • Residence permit
  • Registration certificate
  • Part two of the registration certificate 
  • EU Certificate of Conformity, if registering a new vehicle
  • Details of latest roadworthiness inspection, if registering a used vehicle
  • Details of your car insurance

There are some dealerships that will do this step for you so take advantage of such a service. 

Buying a car in Germany might seem complicated but it is quite simple. By following the steps above, you are on your way to having your own car in Germany. 

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