German Car Purchasing [How-To 2022 English Guide]

In general, German Car are regarded well. They may be sold pretty well abroad. Are you looking to import cars from Germany?

You must abide by certain guidelines. Additionally, it could be tough to obtain a nice automobile.

In your new nation of residence, you have chosen to purchase an automobile. Congratulations! At the same time, it may be thrilling and intimidating. 

We purchased our first vehicle in November 2020, and we will walk you through the process, important considerations, and the price of purchasing a vehicle in Germany.

German Car Purchasing [How-To 2022 English Guide]
German Car Purchasing [How-To 2022 English Guide]

Can Foreigners Purchase Vehicles in Germany?

Of course, provided that you are a legally recognized resident of Germany. Be aware that your international driver's license must be valid in Germany for you to be permitted to operate a vehicle there. See our comprehensive guide below for information on whether you require a German driving license.

German car types to consider buying

Neuwagen (New Car)

If you want a brand-new automobile, you must find a car dealer and go through all the specifications.

Gebrauchtwagen (Used Car)

Due to the high rate of depreciation of new cars, particularly in the first few years, used cars are highly popular in Germany. You may purchase it from a private seller or a dealer (Gebrauchtwagenhändler).

Jahreswagen A Car that has only been driven for a year or less

Due to its limited age of one year, a Jahreswagen is a hybrid between a new and used vehicle. 

The benefit is that it is still in excellent condition and is only used by the staff at the auto dealership, so you avoid paying the hefty depreciation that occurs in the first year after a car is registered. Only brand dealerships are authorized to sell Jahreswagens.

How to Purchase a Vehicle in Germany

Here are nine specific steps that will lead you in Germany from desiring a car to purchasing one.

1. Find The Car You Want

Of course, selecting your ideal automobile is where it all begins. and are the greatest websites for researching and discovering automobile dealerships in Germany. 

You may choose to look for both new and used automobiles on both pages, which both provide their services in English. 

You may add all the details you want for your new bike once you've created a profile. You may create a filter for any need, like whether you need a family vehicle with more than five seats or four-wheel drive.

Additionally, you may set up an alert to notify you when new automobiles that fit your search are added, bookmark your favorite vehicles, and search terms. An iOS and Android app are also available for both websites.

German Car Purchasing [How-To 2022 English Guide]

Specifications To Check For In A Used Car

  • 100.000 km is often a significant milestone for mileage.
  • The date of the first registration, or Erstzulassung (EZ), reflects the age of the vehicle.
  • One prior owner (Vorbesitzer) is preferable to two or three.
  • Fuel type (Kraftstoffart): Diesel or gasoline.
  • Engine power (Leistung) is short for horsepower in German.
  • You should search for automobiles for at least a year until the next periodic technical examination (Hauptuntersuchung - HU), or ideally a fresh HU at the time of purchase.
  • Find autos that haven't been in accidents by using the search term "unfallen" (accident-free car).
  • The majority of German automobiles have manual gearing, or a "Schaltgetriebe," so if you only learned to drive an automatic, be aware of that (Automatik).
  • Maintenance history (Checkheft gepflegt): Only consider vehicles that offer a thorough history report; if not, there may be a problem.
  • Be aware that not all automobile manufacturers and secondhand cars come equipped with air conditioning (Klimaanlage).
  • The majority of German cities are environmental zones, thus only vehicles with green emission stickers (Euro 4) are permitted entry. Find a vehicle with a green emission sticker, then, by all means.

2. Drop by the auto dealership

Once you've discovered the car you want, give the dealership or private seller a call to make sure it's still on the lot and to arrange a visit. 

Every respectable auto dealer will allow you to check the vehicle and take it for a test drive. You might want to think about bringing a buddy who is knowledgeable about automobiles if you are looking at a secondhand car and you have no idea about cars.

Here are some pointers on what to watch out for and what to do while looking at a secondhand car from the largest German auto club, ADAC. 

Use Chrome and Google's page translation feature if you want to read the article because it is in German. German auto dealers conduct price discussions very differently than, say, US auto dealers. The cost is what is stated on the webpage.

3. Get a Car

Once you've made up your mind to purchase the vehicle, you'll enter into a legally binding contract with the dealer and pay a deposit. 

However, you won't be able to simply drive your new automobile off the lot. You must first insure and register your vehicle before you can do that. Some dealers offer to handle the registration on your behalf at no cost or a little charge.

Discussing payment choices and interest rates at this time is also appropriate. If you need a loan to buy a car, read our advice below to find out how to do so successfully in Germany.

Dealership Warranty for Used Cars

In Germany, you are legally entitled to a one-year dealer warranty when purchasing a used automobile from a dealership (if the dealer is trying to exclude it from the contract, walk away, as something is fishy). 

By the guarantee, the dealer must pay for the repair of any flaw that manifests during the first few months of purchase if the flaw's root cause was present at the time of purchase.

Guaranteed Used Car Dealership

For an extra cost, your auto dealer may provide you with a one- to three-year guarantee in addition to the warranty. This warranty also covers flaws that did not preexist at the time of purchase. 

The warranty may cover everything from strictly technical issues to electrical ones. Depending on the mileage at the time of the problem, it is typical for the warranty to cover 100% of the labor cost and 30% to 100% of the material cost.

4. Obtain the TÜV certification

Every two years, all automobiles in Germany must undergo a general examination. The German word for this is HU (Hauptuntersuchung). TÜV inspection is the informal term. 

The word is widely used since TÜV is the most well-known organization that does this broad check on cars.

You will receive a legitimate sticker to place on the back license plate if your car successfully passes a general inspection.

This examination, which costs between 70 and 150 euros, can be done by workshops that have received certification from TÜV, Dekra, KÜS, or GTÜ.

The auto dealer must take the vehicle to the inspection if they sold it to you with a fresh general inspection included.

The dealer will mail you the automobile registration documents (Zulassungsbescheinigung I and Zulassungsbescheinigung II) and the TÜV certificate when the general inspection is finished with your down payment.

If you agreed to direct payment, you can transfer the remaining funds to the auto dealer after getting the registration documents.

5. Make a registration appointment for the vehicle

You should schedule an appointment online at your local vehicle registration office after purchasing the vehicle (Kfz-Zulassungsstelle). Only the city in which you are registered allows you to register a car there. 

To get the aforementioned documents by postal mail, allow some extra time. The procedures to follow for registering your car are detailed in a handbook that we have produced.

6. Obtain Auto Insurance

The so-called UVB number (Elektronische Versicherungsbestätigung), which you will obtain online after purchasing auto insurance from Getsafe or through a comparison website like Tarifcheck, is required to register the vehicle.

In Germany, there are three distinct kinds of automobile insurance:

  • Vehicle Liability (Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung).
  • Limited Cover (Teilkasko).
  • Complete Protection (Vollkasko).

A comprehensive guide on how to acquire auto insurance and what to watch out for when picking your insurance provider is also available from us.

7. Purchase new license plates

By making a reservation and purchasing your new license plates online, you may save time and money. If there are any suitable combinations, you can choose the ones you want. 

You must enter the acronym for the city in which you and the car are registered for the first letter(s). There are many license plate producers in and around the registration office if you'd rather not order your plates online.

8. Identify The Vehicle

Bring all of your paperwork and your license plates to the registration office when your appointment is scheduled, and pay the clerk in person for the Umweltplakete as it is far less expensive than ordering it online. 

The clerk will print a new Fahrzeugschein (also known as a Zulassungsbescheinigung I) and add your name to the Fahrzeugbrief, which is the vehicle title (a.k.a. Zulassungsbescheinigung II). 

Additionally, they will apply the HU/TÜV label and the sticker for your city on the license plates.

We offer detailed instructions on how to register your car in Germany that you may read here.

9. Pick Up The Vehicle

The time to pick up your new vehicle is now. It is best to let your auto dealer know your new license plate number so they can have everything ready. 

You will receive all necessary documents from the dealer when you pick up your car, including the Kaufvertrag, the maintenance log, the guarantee contract (if you ordered it as an extra), the final bill, and the owner's handbook.

German Car Purchasing [How-To 2022 English Guide]

German timeline from car purchase to pickup

Whether the vehicle has a current HU/TÜV and how quickly you can schedule an appointment at the registration office to determine how soon you can drive your automobile after signing the purchase order. 

Here is the chronology from the moment of purchase to the time we picked up our car:

Can You Buy A Car Online In Germany?

You can, indeed! You have the option of purchasing a car online if the aforementioned procedure seems too difficult and time-consuming to you. In actuality, it is a far cozier one.

Online marketplaces like Instamotion have recently joined the used automobile industry. On their website, you may search for the automobile you desire and place an online order. 

You will receive the automobile already registered and licensed to drive. They sell pre-owned vehicles with a maximum age of five years and a maximum mileage of 100,000 km. 

The vehicles go through a quality inspection and come with a guarantee and TÜV of at least one year.

The automobile comes with a 14-day return period and a full money-back guarantee if you are not pleased.

The language requirement for everything is German. The paperwork will still be in German, but you can quickly translate the webpage by using Chrome as your browser and right-clicking to choose "Translate to English."

How Much Does Buying A Car Cost In Germany?

In addition to the actual cost of the car, you need to budget an additional 1.000 euros for expenses such as vehicle registration, auto insurance, vehicle tax, and membership in an auto club. 

Each expense associated with purchasing an automobile in Germany is detailed here.

Vehicle Costs in Germany

In Germany, the average cost of a new automobile is about 36.300 euros, whereas the average cost of a used car is about 18.750 euros. However, these figures naturally vary greatly depending on the brand, model, and configuration of the automobile.

German Vehicle Taxes

In Germany, vehicle owners are required to pay vehicle taxes. Of course, the make, model, and engine all affect the tax burden. For brand-new vehicles, the annual auto tax is roughly 200 euros. 

To see how much vehicle tax you will be required to pay, check out our English-language auto tax calculator. Keep in mind that when you register your car, the registration office will need your bank information so the federal customs officials may deduct the taxes from your account.

German Auto Insurance Cost

Car insurance is probably one of the more expensive owner's costs after the cost of the vehicle itself. On average, liability auto insurance costs 258 euros a year. 

Consider adding a Teilkasko (half cover) to it. In such case, you pay, on average, 89 euros, and you must add, on average, 329 euros to the liability insurance if you want complete comprehensive protection (Vollkasko). Consequently, the average annual cost of fully comprehensive auto insurance is 587 euros.

Cost Of German Car Registration

You will need to pay for license plates, the emission sticker, the registration cost, and maybe the TÜV examination to register your just acquired vehicle. 

Prices vary a little bit between providers and cities. For instance, our auto dealer covered the cost of our TÜV examination, which cost 115 euros, and we paid 86 euros for the registration and license plates.

The cost of joining an automobile club

If you decide to buy a car in Germany, you might want to think about joining an auto club like the ADAC. The main justification is to get a breakdown insurance policy (Schutzbrief) for Germany, Europe, or perhaps the entire world. The annual cost of membership for one individual is 54 euros.


You succeeded! If you complete all the procedures in this manual, you will be the proud owner of one of Germany's 48,25 million registered vehicles and have unlimited access to the German Autobahn.

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