Will I have a problem buying a cheap car?

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new guy
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Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:49 pm
Location: California

Will I have a problem buying a cheap car?

Postby new guy » Mon May 14, 2007 5:13 pm

Hello everyone, It's official that I'm moving to Crete in January. I have tons of questions, but let me start by saying I'm so excited! 1st question, I drive a lifted 4 wheel drive truck here in California, is there an abundance of cheap vehicles for sale in Crete? I have already decided not to bring my truck since I should be on the island a little over a year.

Thanks!

The New guy

filippos
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Postby filippos » Mon May 14, 2007 6:03 pm

Hello New Guy.

I think you'll be out of luck. There isn't an abundance of cheap vehicles in Crete. For some reason I can't explain used vehicles, even quite old ones, seem to hold their prices at pretty high levels compared with the rest of Europe.

As for importing a vehicle it's pretty expensive for EU citizens so I doubt that it will be any easier or cheaper for countries outside the EU. If you go to the main site http://www.livingincrete.net and follow the link "Importing a car" you'll see what's required for EU citizens. As you'll see after 6 months an imported vehicle must be re-registered in Greece or it must be removed from the country for six months along with its registered owner.

Your nearest Greek Embassy or Consulate should be able to give you more information.

Your best bet may be to buy a new or used car here then sell it before you leave. You'd probably need to do a private deal as there isn't a developed used car dealer system in Crete although I think one or two used car dealers have appeared recently in the larger towns.

filippos.

PS Carolina may have info about imports from outside the EU.

Kilkis
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Postby Kilkis » Mon May 14, 2007 10:35 pm

new guy wrote:…I drive a lifted 4 wheel drive truck here in California, is there an abundance of cheap vehicles for sale in Crete? I have already decided not to bring my truck since I should be on the island a little over a year…


Depending exactly what you mean by “truck”, it may not be possible for you to own a similar vehicle in Crete. As far as I know, anything that classes as a “commercial vehicle” here can only be owned by a valid registered business. This would include “pick up trucks” and “vans” where I use these terms in their UK meaning. Possibly if you have a significant number of olive or orange trees on your land you may be able to register for agricultural use and get a commercial vehicle by this method. 4x4 passenger vehicles are OK.

filippos wrote:...For some reason I can't explain used vehicles, even quite old ones, seem to hold their prices at pretty high levels compared with the rest of Europe.


I think it is simply a question of supply and demand. In the UK lots of people sell their car when it is 1 year old, i.e. must have new registration, or three years old, i.e. don’t want hassle of MoT test. Fleet cars are also disposed of at a very young age, anything from 6 months to 3 years. This means the supply of nearly new used cars is high compared to the demand and the prices are relatively low, e.g. typically depreciating by 50 % in three years. In Greece people keep new cars for very long periods. 20 years plus used to be the average but it is gradually coming down. Selling of nearly new cars is very rare. This means that the demand for nearly new cars is high compared to the supply and the price stays high, perhaps depreciating 20 % in three years. This should not happen in an open market but Greece prevents the rest of Europe affecting the situation by taxing, ooops, sorry, charging a large registration fee on, all imported cars. There are some second hand dealerships setting up specifically importing luxury second hand cars but by the time they have paid the taxes, ooops, registration fee, the prices are only a little less than the local ones. It works for luxury cars because the price differential new between Greece and the rest of Europe is higher than for small cars. If you see a new dealership selling only second hand cars, not affiliated to any manufacturer but mainly selling Mercedes, Audi, etc then he is probably selling imported second hand vehicles.

Warwick

new guy
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Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:49 pm
Location: California

Postby new guy » Mon May 14, 2007 10:46 pm

I'm in the military so the Government would pay to have my vehicle shipped to Crete. My concern was that a full size Chevrolet truck may not be ideal for small roads in the city (not to mention gas prices with a V8 motor). Is this a legitamate concern or would my pick up be fine in Crete?

paulh
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Location: Akrotiri

Postby paulh » Mon May 14, 2007 11:06 pm

I occasionally work on the base (I am presuming military = Souda) and there are quite a few what I would refer to as "largish trucks" and quite a few owned by Greeks too (if as Warwick says they pass the "commercial" test). Theres even one or two "baby Bigfoot" types.

As regards Greek fuel (diesel) restrictions one presumes you would also get fuel on the base and only have to consider it if you were on a longer excursion.

As regards road widths etc, well the cement lorries and quarry lorries manage so one presumes your truck would too. It's a military area and the big military vehicles get through.

edit......just seen you said roads in the city, yes it could be a problem but as the buses which are really large coaches all seem to manage them even with the driver being on his mobile at the time I suspect you would not have too much of a problem......or just use a smaller car

see you when you get over

cheers paul

Kilkis
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Postby Kilkis » Tue May 15, 2007 2:50 pm

Hi New Guy. There are two things that you might also consider:

Firstly, while you say that your government will pay to transport the vehicle, will they pay the charges to register it in Greece? If the vehicle is going to stay in Greece for more than six months then this is a legal requirement. Typically a customs officer will decide what the vehicle would cost to buy in Greece. It doesn’t matter what it actually costs in California, if it is not a model that is available in Greece he will make an arbitrary assessment. For a large engined vehicle, this could be upwards of €50,000. Again for a large engined vehicle he could then apply a registration fee of around 80 % of his assessed value, i.e. €40,000. These figures may not be exactly correct but the principle is, i.e. there could be a very hefty registration charge. I think it would be advisable to check this out thoroughly with the Greek embassy/consulate before making the decision to bring your vehicle here. For EU citizens relocating to Greece it is possible to get most of this charge set aside provided they collect all the right documentshttp, see www.livingincrete.net/cartemporaryimport.html . I am not sure if this applies to US citizens. Also you may get some exemptions as military personnel but again it is important to check.

Secondly you should investigate the income tax situation. All vehicles in Greece have a nominal horsepower related to their engine size that appears on the registration document. This will be the case if you bring your own vehicle and register it in Greece or buy one here. It is nothing to do with the real horsepower. For engines over 2 litres the nominal horsepower is used to allocate you an assumed income. The bigger the nominal horsepower the bigger the assumed income. If your declared income is more than the assumed income nothing happens. If, however, your declared income is less than the assumed income then you are taxed on the basis of the assumed income. As military personnel working for a foreign government it is possible that you are not liable to Greek income tax but again it would be worth checking. I am not sure where a V8 Chevrolet truck would appear on this scale but if I, for example, owned a vehicle rated as 28 nominal horsepower or higher I would be allocated an assumed income of over €100,000. I would then be taxed as though I earned over €100,000 per year even if my actual income was zero.

Not related specifically to the car question, but an interesting point for those of you not resident in Greece for tax purposes but staying here for long periods. If you are assessed as having an assumed income, e.g. because you have a swimming pool, boat or larger engined car, I believe that if you can produce pink slips at least equivalent to the assumed income then you will not pay any tax. I’m not 100 % sure of this but I think it is correct. It would at least be worth checking with your accountant if you are in this situation. Obviously this would only work if you intended to spend that amount of money in the period that you were here although you could take some of it back in cash, bearing in mind any money laundering regulations.

Warwick

paulh
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Postby paulh » Tue May 15, 2007 5:25 pm

Warwick ...if he comes over as military I believe he will be exempt from Greek legislation to a large degree just as workers in an embassy are exempt taxes of the particular country they are in.

Kilkis
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Location: Near Chania

Postby Kilkis » Tue May 15, 2007 8:18 pm

I agree with you completely Paul, as I said in my post BUT I think it is worth checking because the consequences if he is not exempt from any of these taxes is quite serious. I also thought the information might be useful for people who are not likely to be exempt through government employment, military or otherwise. I think all of us who live in Greece are familiar with the situation but many intending to come here may not be. The situation would not arise in most other EU countries; Greece is certainly an anomalyand, as such, might catch out the unsuspecting.

Warwick

paulh
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Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:13 pm
Location: Akrotiri

Postby paulh » Wed May 16, 2007 6:57 pm

fine Warwick no problem with any of that

I have just checked with an American friend who is over here with the military and yes the military ship your vehicle over, your Greek plates are here when you arrive and thats it. He confirmed there are 2 or 3 largish vehicles here and by local standards his car is on the large side too. I asked him about problems and he said just occasionally he wished it was a smaller car but generally no problem. Possibly a parking issue.

He confirmed petrol and the like all from the base itself and taxes are as a US citizen and Greek taxes do not apply.

new guy
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:49 pm
Location: California

Postby new guy » Thu May 17, 2007 5:15 pm

Thank you all for your input, your insight has been very helpful. I think I'll buy a cheap car here and just ship it. In the past I would just buy a car from another military member who was tranfering , but with the uncertainty of the availability.... It's better to be safe than sorry. See you when I get there!

Nico


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