Do French Car Sales Yards Negotiate Prices?

We are about to purchase our first vehicle in France. We went looking at cars today (Sunday) and some of the prices dont make much sense to us given the number of miles and the years, however we aren’t familiar with the system here. Can anyone tell me how flexible these prices are? Do the sales folks haggle? Are they fixed prices?
Any information with this will help. Thanks.

I am also interested to know the answer to this - 2nd hand cars seem so expensive in France.

1 Like

Be bold… why not ask the Seller … :grinning:

1 Like

Out in the boonies where we live there generally is very little room for negotiation on price, and sometimes they think you are from another planet for daring to offer less than the asking price. You may get a couple of hundred off a 10k car if you are lucky. Used cars are very expensive compared to the UK, there just isn’t the turnover in france. Its why you see so many re-registered (or not) RHD cars.

1 Like

I didn’t want to do the wrong thing and/or insult someone…not that it ever stopped me before, lol.

Yes they do Mat. We dont have any other option right now. I have read that cars are less expensive in Belgium, but a visit there isn’t planned, any time soon. We plan to keep the car a long time…sounds very French, doesn’t it? lol

Always worth trying, if they are insulted, then so be it. I must have insulted a few, but if they won’t even consider negotiation then tough. I once asked for a full tank of fuel too…:scream::scream::scream::scream:

I do know of folk who have successfully negotiated “extras” to be included in the price… and/or a drop in price…

From a garage, you would expect the Service etc to be already done and the car to be in great presentation anyway, but check the tyres… will one or more need renewing in a few months… if so, ask that they be done now…
… extra number plate for the small trailer, tow-hitch supplied (and/or fitted)…

all these are examples of what can be included as the result of a good haggle, done with a smile. Depending on the vehicle… I am sure you can think of something… but, in the end… the Garage is there to make money and, if you like the car…pay the price :slight_smile:

1 Like

Second hand cars are expensive here, it’s a fact, but both the ones I’ve bought have been remarkably well looked after for their age - the first one was a 1992 car, I bought it in around 2009 and it lasted until 2016 with no major problems - and I do get the impression that garages set out to supply good products, not just to make money (though someone will no doubt call me naive for saying that). But for instance, the last one I bought from the local garage, when I went to look at it the seats were a bit tatty and the garage owner said he’d been looking for replacements but hadn’t found any. Tatty seats don’t particularly bother me and decided to buy it anyway, and we agreed a price. When I went to collect it a week later he met me with a big grin and said “I happened to come across a pair of really nice seats so I’ve swapped them for you”. I thought that was good of him because he could easily not have bothered and saved himself the time and money.


we just got a picasso from our local garage where we are regular customers. (this is the 8th car our family (extended) in the past 10 years.)

There is zero room to haggle on price but extras like an extra service are always thrown in and the other day when i was passing to talk about our new car the mechanic spotted my indicator was out when i pulled in and changed it for free. it may not be much but for me its the little extras that count.

When a friends car broke down at our house he came out with a trailer and took it to her own garage for her for nothing.

1 Like

yes, Harry… if you can make a friend of your Garagiste … that is worth its weight in gold… he sounds like a decent chap…

1 Like

With regard to car values being higher in France thisis true. It is not so much that cars in France are expensive but second hand cars in UK are very cheap. I think that the french have a much more sensible view of car values.
Take, for example, a 2006 Peugeot 307sw 1.6 diesel. On Autotrader UK I have found one with 150,000 miles for £995. A similar car on Leboncoin is 2400 euros.
The thing is the cost of maintainence on either of these is the same here. A tyre for the rhd is the same as a lhd. It does not take a large problem with a car to run up a repair bill of some size. Should either car have a problem with the FAP system (exhaust emissions filter) & not uncommon, you can get a bill for over £1000. So do you scrap the cheap car & buy another? If it does not go you can’t sell it to a DIYer to fix up, it has to be to a garage or a scrap dealer & neither will give you much.
On the up side, while your RHD car will continue to plunge in value its LHD counterpart will continue to be worth a decent amount in a few year’s time.
Distances between towns in France are generally greater than in the UK so although the numbers can be high the wear & tear will be less.
Don’t be afraid of a high miler! Engine wear is rarely a problem with modern cars, reliability of electronic components can be & as they usually contain no moving parts they can fail at any time. A high mileage car is just a low mileage car which has proved its reliability - cheaper to buy too because people still think material technology has not changed since 1932. Engines use steel alloys & oil which is very resistant to wear. My personal car has covered 510000 kms & still drives well. I bought it very cheaply (a third of the price of lower mileage examples) over 3 years ago & has only required routine maintainence.

Always make an offer, they can always say no,& often do. You can put the ball in their court by asking them what the lowest price would be. That way you are not insulting them but indicating that negotiation is expected. The answer will let you know.

The make of car you buy is up to you - repair costs will be similar wherever it was made.


Stella, I understood that the trailer (or is it over a certain size?) needs its own number plate/registration? Do the Garagistes supply the number plates? or where do you get them? I am also ignorant of how to register the car. Do they do that also? We were planning to buy from a dealer, the first time, so that there is a warranty on the car. Is it normal for ALL car sales to have that? Thanks for your help.

Thank you for the comprehensive reply, Mark. This is exactly the information I was seeking. Im not afraid to haggle for anything, but as my French isn’t fantastic, I will have to figure out the phrases to use ahead of time…and write them down? lol. Will do my best, anyway. Merci!.

Buying from a Garage, usually gets all the documentation done. A second-hand car will already have plates, but you will need an extra if you use a small trailer…"A trailer of less than 500kg needs to carry a numberplate, with the same registration as the car that pulls it… "

Une remorque de moins de 500Kg porte le même numéro minéralogique que le porteur et elle est généralement non freinée.

Check out this Site…

1 Like

If you are buying from a dealer & they are not keen to negotiate you can play a game. If the car is a second hand one then walk round it & examine it thoroughly, looking for any minor scuffs or damage. Make an act of examining such damage & make a face of disapproval. Don’t comment to the hovering salesman, he will pick up on your body language. Any paintwork can be expensive to repair so a discount may be offered instead of making good.
Throw in little comments such as “Does it have a service history?” & “How many previous owners?” Not that the number of previous owners makes any difference to its real value! By all means look under the bonnet but all you will see is an engine cover. If you want a tow bar & the car does not have one, pretend to lose interest & look at another. By not asking directly the salesman might offer to put one on at a greatly reduced price.
AS a garagiste I sometimes sell cars for my customers so often deal with buyers. It is interesting that some will pretend to know what they are looking at under the bonnet, sometimes removing the oil filler while the engine is running! Not sure what this achieves except to cover the engine with oil splash as the cap is there to keep the oil in!
The CT, similar to an MOT, is the best indicator. A worn engine will produce poor exhaust emissions & will not pass the test. The CT also tests the rest of the car so any problems with brakes, steering & suspension will be highlighted. Ask to see it & take a copy if you are not sure what you are reading & have a friend take a look.
A dealer will do the registration for you but you will have to pay the charge made by the government.


Just over a year ago I went with my neighbour to look at a couple of secondhand cars at the main dealer in our nearest large town. They were OK but both were red and she doesn’t like red cars. The salesman went on to say that if black or white were more attractive he had two new cars, last year’s model with cosmetic differences to the new ones, that he could offer at a discounted price. Half an hour later she was signing for a brand new black car and paying less than the two secondhand ones outside. The specification of the car suited her needs, she didn’t need the options on the secondhand ones. She saved over 20% of the list price, talked them into paying for the registration and numberplates and they even agreed to deliver it to her home. I have seen her bartering at the odd brocante or two but I had not expected her to get the deal she achieved. I know what I will be doing next time I need to change my car. It wasn’t even that the car was a millstone around the salesman’s neck, there was another couple at the garage at the same time deciding between the black one or the white one. I hope they like white.

1 Like

Thanks Dominic. Some good advice. I have bought cars for the family previously…my husbands (on the 2nd one) normally disappear during my buying process, lol…We were avoiding a new one, as our budget is less than 15k eur. We dont need a large car as we are intending to purchase a tandem wheel trailer for all the big stuff.

Thanks Stella. Will do. Good advice. Merci!

My neighbour paid a lot less than €15000. I have always bought quality new cars, exactly the car I wanted then kept them for a loooooooong time. The two cars I have at the moment are both German and I bought them in 2004 and 2006. They still do the job I need and I like the fact that I know their history insideout. I have absolute confidence in the mechanically complex 13 year old car but wouldn’t touch a second hand example of the same model of the same age with a barge pole because of the potentially crushing repair costs if it had a major fault. My way is very un British, the reason that UK cars are ‘cheap’ is that it is the norm to trade cars in frequently and the secondhand market is awash with good quality cast offs. Perhaps the current trend for leasing not buying new cars in France will push secondhand prices down in the near future.
A small trailer is a godsend, allowing you to carry large and dirty things without damaging your car. Money well spent for many people.