Discounts on new cars


(Alan Proudfoot) #1

We are moving to France soon and will be buying one or possibly two new cars. I'm wondering whether, as we are not trading in, we are likely to get any discount off the list price? Last time we enquired there was a bit of a waiting time for one of them so I guess it is less likely on that anyway? We're talking German manufacturers.


Any thoughts appreciated! Thank you.


(Anthony Matthews) #2

If you put your skirt away you'd better not spill any HF on a very sensitive area..............


(Anthony Matthews) #3

Because if it breaks you are in deep sh*t or should I say water - perhaps I should mix my metaphors and say that you are up sh*t creek without a paddle! In fact most fishermen with diesel engined boats carry a spare chain. It is far easier to change and a broken chain will not cause head damage.

When I was my technical college in the USA, there were loads of fishermen with diesel engined boats. They always marked both pulleys so that you could line up easily if you had a breakage. You could also hear if a chain was noisy - rattlt. When that happened you had some time to change it.

Véronique you are correct about salt as it attacks a belt with time - a chain is protected from corrosion as it is always oily. Early belts were not made with man-made fibres so very succumbed to attack by salt.

Many of the manufacturers learnt to their cost that they were recommending too long a period between changes. VAG paid a very heavy price in the '90s for this. The fact that global warming was on the march meant an increase in under bonnet temperatures during the day and at night temperatures often tended to be lower. This caused cam belts to expand and contract further and more rapidly thus reducing their reliability.


(Véronique Langlands) #4

Is it because they are more sensitive to salt etc? Is it because if they break that's your engine destroyed & I presume boat engines cost 2 arms & 2 legs? Is it because they are a pig to change? Is it because when you need a spare one you are somewhere off Kiribati or Easter Island with no handy shop? errrrr....... I give up!

So a cam belt is a courroie de distribution aka timing belt, is it? Thank you Anthony and David for telling me about my new engine, now I just need to do some swotting.


(Brian Milne) #5

Oh well, time for my hydrofluoric firewater, better put my skirt away first.


(George Topp) #6

But not all us Scots drink whisky ............ and Irn Bru is a great hangover cure !


(Anthony Matthews) #7

Salut Véronique,

Your MB has one of the world's best diesel engines. They are used in "Hamburg Taxis" and many of them achieve 1,000,000 kms with only routine servicing. The engine's camshafts are turned over by a high class chain and sophisticated oil tensioner/damper system. The camshafts are responsible for opening and closing the valves that let in the fuel/air mix (inlet valves) which goes out burnt through the exhaust valves. Many people will say that cam belts are quieter but in the case of Mercedes, BMW, Toyota and Honda sound (good) engineering will result in less noise.

Ford uses a chain system in its new high performance 1.4 petrol unit and you can see the chain on the front of the engine.

This is one of the new very high compression petrol engines that is replacing diesel ones and will be just as economical. PSA (Peugeot/Citroën) are now buying petrol engines from BMW whilst Renault already has its excellent and highly efficient TCE petrol engine range. The 1.4 is a little gem.

The chain for the cam shafts is driven by the big pulley (wheel) which is on the bottom of the engine (with red disc) and the chain goes up to the two smaller pulleys on the top.

It won't be long before France can breathe more easily! Incidentally as I frequently tell my engineering students, "Very rarely will you find a belt driven cam in a marine diesel engine!!! Why?"


(Brian Milne) #8

I bought a new rotavator two weeks ago. I heard a French punter haggling in such a way that it made my Scots heart swell with joy. After him getting a sizeable amount (didn't hear how much) off a lawn tractor, I went in for the kill and got €50 off (went back to get some strimmer cord and saw that machine had gone up another €50 normal sales price since). Translate that into haggling for a car and with the prices being what they are... Plus, trade ins: our car dealer 'friend' has said that when trading in the old car demand double the price the dealer offers for it off the price of the 'new' car. He says that one should get it on a brand new car and somewhere in between on a fairly new used car. I love a good haggle myself and cannot understand why so many people do not give it a whirl.


(George Topp) #9

I'm not sure about the French never asking for discounts. A close friend (French, in 33) got an obscene discount off a new top of the range Citroen, and his comment on haggling when I asked him was "c'est normal!"

And as Malcolm said you can get discounts off a new UK car (from most if not all manufacturers) if you are moving to France and exporting the car there - ask at your local dealer/s. It can be ordered in LHD spec


(Alan Proudfoot) #10

Thanks Alex and Malcolm. I think I've run out of time re UK purchases though; it's incredible how much is entailed in retiring, selling property, getting PACSed, moving, emigrating, dealing with tax.....


(Malcolm Cooper) #11

A friend of mine recently bought a new LHD BMW in London and saved a fortune. It was driven here on UK plates and then re-registered here in France. Take a good look at this and give them a call http://www.bmwtaxfree.co.uk/export-sales/

(I have no affiliation)


(Véronique Langlands) #12

OK someone explain this cambelt / chaindrive thing to me please please please, I know 0 about cars and just want them to get me from A to B when I want them to without messing around - so now I have a Mercedes & know nothing about it, tell all, what do I need to watch out for. (It is actually an E280 cdi elegance estate if that means anything to you, oh it is automatic, which gives me the major creeps as I've only ever driven manuals before).


(Anthony Matthews) #13

Shame on me for forgetting VAG and Porsche. I assumed that you would not be running a Porsche in France but then you might be! I have an automatic mental block when it comes to manufacturers who fit engine with cam belts. At least PSA learnt their lesson and are now fitting BMW sourced petrol engines, though these have been problematic - drinking oil. Curiously the same engines - generally in the MINI - do not.


(Alex Thurgood) #14

Depends on the dealer. There are quite a few French online sites that claim to offer significant discounts for new vehicles, and most cover the majority of brands out there. I have found dealers on the whole to be poor places to negotiate discounts, which is probably why the internet thing took off, even though most of these actually go through the brand dealers, but I guess it comes down to negotiating power in volume sales.


(Dave Thornley) #15

I would not buy a certain car just because it has a cambelt. Yes I agree keeping a car here in France is more expensive. Insurance more, toll charges even for some crappy roads, even petrol is not greatly cheaper than UK. The cost of UK road tax is soon swallowed up. And I do know a chap who got a good discount on list price of a new Peugeot, I often think it does not enter a french persons head to ask for discounts!


(Anthony Matthews) #16

As David stated I was referring to BMW and Mercedes. Neither of these German manufacturers have engines that require cam belt changes as they use chain drive. Of course re. running costs, I was leaving out the UK which has vastly higher fuel, insurance and road "tax" - (RFL). However I easily spent more on tolls here last year than I would have done on a UK RFL.

The point is that when spare parts and tyres are taken into consideration, due to the former French monopoly hangovers, running costs are higher in France compared to elsewhere in Europe.

What old car are you bringing over?


(Alan Proudfoot) #17

Thanks Anthony for the information. We're anti-diesel and sticking to petrol.

Could you clarify the reference to "Star or the Prop" and belt changes please? (I am also bringing an old car from the UK.)

Thanks again.


(Anthony Matthews) #18

Make sure that you do not buy diesel as costs are going to rise. France has put off doing anything regarding its pollution problem for years but has started to give way under huge pressure from Brussels. Toll costs are due to rise considerably in the not too distant future for diesel cars which will be penalised when entering towns. As we have already seen, Paris has clamped down on entering the city (odd/even reg. nos. alternate days). The problem is pressing, particularly as France has the highest percentage of breathing problems in under 15s anywhere in the 1st world.

Presumably you will be buying from the Star or the Prop so belt changes won't be a problem. Diesel prices will start to be brought into line with petrol and the new petrol engines in both makers' cars are now almost as frugal as diesel and cheaper to run if you travel less than 30,000 kms per annum.

I concur with both Gerald and Brian but would have thought it might be easier to buy in Holland or Germany with cars on export plates (take them back to the UK if necessary) and travel down to the south. Spain might prove more difficulty logistically I imagine.

Indeed not only is France the most expensive place in Europe to buy a car but also to run it. If you are close to the Spanish border it is considerably cheaper to have your car serviced by a dealer in Spain and you can buy even cheaper alcohol at the same time!

Registering new cars on export plates is very simple as you will have all the paperwork supplied by the manufacturer/supplying dealer to do this.


(James Higginson) #19

No commercial self-promotion please.


(Lis Steeden) #20

…or you could buy 2 LHD cars in the UK, (Googles these)but likely to be used. If they are already with French number plates, it’s a lot easier, as in some placed, the paper work is unbelievable. Good luck. :slight_smile: