New or Used LHD Cars – Which Way To Go?

Deciding whether to buy a new or a used left hand drive car is a difficult question and invariably is one of economics.

The biggest factor in this is your overall budget. Certain budgets will obviously lead you straight to the second hand car market which can be interesting to say the least when comparing continental prices with what we are used to here in the UK in the domestic right hand drive market.

For those with more budget flexibility or for those who can’t decide whether there is any real value in choosing new over nearly new or used LHD cars there maybe more that comes into that decision. Again a comparison with the UK market can often make that more difficult. The UK as a structured “guide” for dealing with used car pricing which tends to mean that depreciation is applied mathematically whereas as on the continent pricing is driven by market forces, supply and demand and good old fashioned “what’s it worth” thinking as well as contending with much higher first registration taxes.

The reality is that in many cases used left hand drive cars that are around a year old don’t fall as hard as their right hand drive cousins and sometimes a comparison demonstrates only a few thousand pounds difference in nearly new and new pricing. Using our mindset this is often a balance of fitting budget and benefits like full manufacturer warranty. This is maybe more crucial on a left hand drive Citroen with a shorter two year warranty versus an LHD Hyundai with a 5 year warranty. Equally there will always be a premium albeit psychological to being the first owner of a car.

The other big consideration around used cars and sometimes something to consider on new is the impact that a second hand left hand drive car has on the first registration taxes. For example,whilst the % tax charged in Spain remains the same the amount on which this is charged changes in line with age of a the car. So for example, a new with 150 Co2 attracts 4.75% tax versus the invoice value of £10000 and the 3 year old one attracts 4.75% against the tax office valuation of £5500. On this point, this can be a good move for those considering a move to another country, travelling between multiple countries or just as an initial starting point essentially because you reduce the tax liability until the point that you know you are definitely staying or have spent more than 6 months there.