Buying a used car in Spain

As we live pretty close to the Spanish border it seems a shame not to buy a car there as they seem much cheaper than their French equivalents. I know this is a popular move for many French people and as I will shortly be looking for a vehicle I thought I would get ahead of the game and find out what's involved in terms of paperwork etc.

Anyone done it?



Thanks Andrew, going to have a read thorough of that now, looks interesting.

Yes Andrew that's exactly what I am after. I've imported cars before, I understand the import process, it's the purchasing as a non Spanish resident that I don't get.

that's the importing bit, Gerald, the actaul purchasing changes from country to country - I think that is what James is after, in Italy you have to go through a notaire for example ;-)

I don't see how this is different from importing a car from any other EU state. You bring it into France on its Spanish plates and you can run around for six months. During this time you write to the manufacturer's French address asking for a Certificat de Conformite, sending them a copy of the Spanish log book. They will write back asking you to cross their palm, the price varies but for a car that is not too old between 200 and 300 euro for the bit of paper. They know that you cannot proceed without the bit of paper so it is the price you must pay... Next you go to the maison des impots and ask for a tax clearance certificate. This states that there is no tax due on the vehicle and they will need to see the Spanish log book in order to produce the certificate. There is no tax due if the vehicle comes from an EU country and is more than six month old (date of first registration) AND has done more than 6000 kilometres. You now have your certificat de conformite and your tax clearance. All you have to do now is to get an ordinary Controle Technique pass on the vehicle. Armed with the three bits of paper you go to the prefecture or the sub prefecture where they deal with motor cars and driving licences and you will get your provisional French log book for more lucre which is based, I think, on the fiscal HP of the vehicle. With the provisional log book you can get your French plates made up and put on the vehicle. The definitive log book arrives by post about a week later. That's it.

Hi James, wish I could help but I haven't bought and imported myself. I have french friends who have bought spanish cars that had already been imported by the dealer and I bought an Italian import, again the dealer had imported it and did all the paperwork so there was no difference from buying a french car (except that the manual etc. are all in Italian rather than French). In my case and others I know of, we all got cheaper cars than a non imported one but I'm sure that going there and doing the deal yourself could wave you far more. I already had a LHD French car to trade in so it didn't make sense for me to go down that road, and I simply don't have the time to do it either :-(

Must be some great deals to be had in Spain at the moment given the economic climate, will follow your adventures with interest ;-)

PS there is an importer based in Barcelona who sells thousands of cars to France and doesn't declare the TVA. everyone seems to know about the loophole, he's been closed down once but just re-opened under a new name. The TVA alone means a saving of 19.6% add to that the cheaper prices over there... :-O I think this is the bloke's site

you can look a this link. sorry for the misspelling of padron.

it gives you all the information

The NIE Number is a tax identification number in Spain, known in Spanish as the “Número de Identificación de Extranjeros”.

Will do, hopefully we'll find someone that has done it. I have an idea that Andrew H might know something about this.

Could help with Italy, Germany, UK, Belgium and Luxembourg...only done Spain once, and it was ages ago...let us know if you find a site with up to date info! :)

I am resident in France so I have no Spanish address. What is an NIE number?

you need an NIE number and to be on padon at the town hall. or you need to go to the hall with your contact to buy a place or your rental contact. before you can buy a new car. That's what I had to do 10years ago