Selling your car

At some point, you may decide that you don’t want your car anymore. Selling a car in Italy is not nearly as easy, quick or low-cost as it is in the U. S. The amount of effort and money involved depends on what license plates you have, what type of car it is, the engine power, etc.

Imported cars, especially sports cars like Mustang, Corvette, command a premium in Italy, which means that you should be able to sell them for higher than the average price in the U. S. However, normal cars are sold around similar price range as its Italian equivalent. Generally, don’t expect a quick sale of your car no matter what type of car it is. If the price is exceptionally lower than the average asking price for that type of car, then you could sell it quickly. At normal price, you could possibly wait for at few months before finding a buyer.

Contrary to the consumer mentality in the U. S., where higher horsepower cars are more desirable, in Italy it’s the reverse. Cars with powerful engines means high annual tax payment and insurance, especially when it’s few years old, most people rather spend the money to buy a new car with a smaller engine than a high-end car with a powerful engine, even if they cost about the same.

In addition, the title transfer process cost more money than the U. S. If your road tax is paid up, the buyer can continue to enjoy that until the expiration date. However, depending on the value of the transaction, the type of car, and the region, the cost of transferring the title may cost over 200 euros. Sometimes the sellers may split this with the buyer, or pay it himself as a special discount.

As for me, I found myself needing my car very rarely. The money that I was paying for the insurance and the road tax was not productive. I also had no desire to pay to the poorly managed Italian government. Since I had paid so little tax for my car in California, it is very difficult to swallow the fact that I have to pay 15 times for the same car here, and with each year its value diminishes. It came to an absurd point that I was paying almost 15% just in tax for a car that is eleven years old! The proportion of tax to vehicle value just keeps increasing every year.

Even though I tried every way that I can think of, it took me almost a year to sell my car at an acceptable price, around the average selling price and close to the Bluebook value. The first serious local buyer contacted me while I was away on a trip, but I couldn’t have done the deal with him. I tried to sell it to people from the U. S. Army base in Vicenza, but due to the distance, I was not able to arrange a practical solution with the potential buyers. Eventually I sold it to a man from the U. S. Naval base in Naples, and it was just in time before my annual road tax payment expired, so I didn’t have to pay another 500 euros.

After having gone through such an ordeal, I never want to import another car in Italy. My 2001 Toyota Celica was born in Japan, raised in the U. S. A., retired in Italy. Yet the journey doesn’t end here, the new owner may ship it back to the U. S. A. again. This car has travelled more than most people.

What are some of the best options to list your car for sale in Italy? Find out by buying my eBook.

© 2008 Lincoln Han. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any form must be permitted expressly in writing.

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