Need a new set of wheels? Here's where to look, and what to keep in mind before buying a car.
If you're considering buying a new or used car, the best time to do it is during the annual Autofestival, which runs from late January to mid-February. Dealerships will have attractive deals then because they tend to get rid of last year's stock (and make way for newer models).
Having said that, good deals are also available throughout the year - just make sure to shop around and compare before making your choice.
Which car to buy?
Besides setting yourself a budget, you have to choose whether you want petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric, and what your car will be used for. Is it for the occasional private trip, or daily commuting? Long or short distance? And how much space do you require in the boot? All good things to consider.
The government is offering subsidies for hybrid and electric models - €5,000 for electric and €2,500 for plug-in hybrids - so this is an interesting option. Right now, roughly 1/3 of all new vehicles purchased in Luxembourg are electric.
A great website to find new and used cars is luxauto.lu. Here you can set your filter (price, brand, driven kilometres, colour, etc.) and see what vehicles are available. You then contact sellers individually.
On a side note (and not meaning to advertise): this editor is a big fan of carwow's fun and engaging car reviews on Youtube (host Matt Watson is a legend). Watching these reviews and comparisons will help in making the right choice later on.
Financing your car
Banks in Luxembourg offer car loans, which tend to be more attractive than getting a personal loan. But getting an electric car will be less of a risk, as diesel cars will gradually be phased out, so this may influence your loan conditions.
Most banks even allow you to simulate your loan, seeing what your monthly instalments will be, and what the interest rate ends up being. Look here for a selection of banks: BCEE, BIL, BGL, ING, Raiffeisen.
It could be worth checking whether your employer has discounts with certain dealerships. Additionally, those working for EU institutions can benefit from VAT exemption is some cases.
So, let's get to the actual purchase.
Make an appointment with the dealership and make sure to take the car for a test drive. Usually the salesperson will join you in the passenger seat. Don't be afraid to test the car on country roads and the motorway - you need to know what you're buying.
Buying a used car
Buying a used car can be a smart move, as most vehicles have a high rate of depreciation in their first years, and every car will still run smoothly after 100,000km...even 150,000km. Nevertheless, a second-hand car requires a little more attention to detail.
If you're meeting with a private seller, do a walk-around of the car, and look through maintenance records. Look for scratches or bumps, check the state of the tyres and brake discs, engine oil levels and paint. If you're unhappy with something, you can point this out, bringing down the price or forcing the seller to fix it for you before the sale.
You can let a professional from the ACL do a complete check of the vehicle, which costs you some money, but then you can be completely sure your vehicle is in good condition.
Companies selling used cars are obliged to include a one year warranty package, but this is not the case with private sellers.
Once you've agreed on the sale, make sure you have all documents (originals) and a correct invoice. Once you have paid, some paperwork must be filled out to transfer ownership. You'll want to keep all documents together, as you'll need them for registration later on.
In brief, registration involves:
- applying for a license registration number (can also transfer existing from previous owner);
- taking out an insurance policy;
- paying the tax stamp;
- filing the administrative record with the SNCA;
- possible technical control (here's a guide on how to survive it)
In the case of dealerships, most will offer to handle all the registration procedures for an additional charge. This can be handy if you don't want the fuss of all the paperwork, but it does tend to cost a few hundred extra euros.
You'll pay road tax for your vehicle, which depends on the type of engine and CO2 emissions - calculate here. You get a letter sent home each year with the invoice to be paid.
There you go - you're ready to hit the road.