You’d think car buying would be fun here. You’d be wrong.

When we left the states we sold our cars.  Thanks to a generous international relocation policy, we were able to cash in our cars for their full retail value at Kelly Blue Book Excellent condition.  At the time we had a gently used 2 year old Toyota Sienna and a 4 year old 4×4 Crew Cab Chevy Colorado pickup truck.  Ok, these aren’t cars thar are going to turn heads, but they aren’t cheap either… so I thought it would be no problem to cash those out and pick something nice in Germany. My thinking? A nice practical but simple minivan for the fam, and a BWM 5 or Audi 4 with some stomach turning power for Dad.   If figured if we worked hard on the minivan, maybe we’d even come out roughly even. So in my mind, the equation looked mostly like:

That turned out to be sorely misguided.  German cars here are extremely expensive in general. It’s not hard to hit the car listing and find something with a few miles on it that still has a price tag of €40,000 (with the exchange rate, that’s about $55k).   Worse, we’re on the wrong side of the supply and demand equation thanks to our big family.   Seven passenger cars (that can actually seat seven real human beings and not ridiculously tiny people) are sort of hard to come by. Selection is limited for sure.  I walked into a VW dealership to tell them I was looking for a practical seven seater because I had a family of 5 kids, and the salesman’s reaction was “Whoa. That is a BIG problem”.  At another dealership, they sent me to the commercial vehicle dealer down the road.  The standard minivan with all the creature comforts just does are hard to find, and the ones that are here are predictably expensive.  

 So after much shopping and hand wringing,  I finally signed the papers on a used Ford Galaxy.  Haven’t heard of that? That’s because they don’t sell it in the US (nor do they sell the Citroen C8, Pugeot 807, Seat Alehambra, or Renault Grand Scenic which were a few of our better options).  The Galaxy, as determined by our test drive, is one of the more spacious and comfortable options…so when a used one finally came up for sale in town I jumped on it. 

Now, here’s the part that is going to be hard for me to get over, especially with my Dutch roots.  Even though it was used, our equation now looks something like this:

And it’s not even as if the Galaxy is that nice of a car…its definitley no Sienna.   European minivans – like the Galaxy –  are smaller, they rarely have sliding doors…and they generally have no trunk space. So in reality the European minivan compares to our Sienna like this:

That trip we’re planning to take to France in October? The one to the place that’s 8 hours away? Yeah, that’s going to be really uncomfortable. 

And worse, I still have another car to buy. So I think I can scratch off the idea of cruising around Germany on the Autobahn in a fine Deutsches car with the BMW mark on the front.  I’m afraid in the end our equation is going to end up looking something like this:

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2 thoughts on “You’d think car buying would be fun here. You’d be wrong.

  1. So sorry. But you did make me laugh, so maybe that fits into your equation somewhere. Although from a Dutch standpoint that equation is probably:

    Kurt Laughing + $0.00 ≤ $0.00

  2. I’m just getting caught up on your blog and as always it is leaving me in stitches. You car buying equations are just plain funny. Yes I know you don’t think so 😉
    We had friends move over there about 18 months ago with the airforce, and they insisted on taking their Odyssey with them. We told them they were crazy to transport that over there, and that they’d hate driving a big van on small european roads, but they are glad they did…. and from the sounds of your blog, it was indeed a wise choice 😉

    They’re moving back here in 2 months, should I see if they want to sell their BMW battlewagon to you?

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