Despacho Carrión & Asociados - Collado Villalba - Madrid
Buying a Car in Spain to Export

Buying a Car in Spain to Export

Buying a Car in Spain to Export.
On Owners, Dealers and Shippers.

David Carrión Alemán Licensed Lawyer.

Buying a classic older than 25 years old car in Spain is definitely a very competitive option. You could save a lot of money, if the car is in good condition, and the information is clear and complete. Exporting any asset, a car in special is an operation in which several agents are involved: the previous owner, the inland transporter, traffic authority, shipping company and broker on destination, National Tax Agencies, and sometimes the car is being sold through a trader. Let’s see some of them, and what are the right questions to successfully export it.

OWNER. It is important to know the previous proprietor in order to talk to him directly, even do if there is a representative on his behalf. Here there are 3 questions suggested to avoid a lot of headaches:

  • Why are you selling the car?
  • How often have you used it?
  • Have you had any accident with it or has it suffered any mechanical fault?

Owners are neither better nor worse than dealers, they are persons with their own agenda. At this stage, it is easy to find out if something is wrong, and it would be cheap to fix it; such us: missing ITV card, previous debts or injections, incomplete paperwork. If any of this issues arise when the car is already purchased and it is on its way to the port, keep calm: better abort the operation, or call your Spanish firm!

Buying a Car in Spain to Export

DEALERS. Merchants may have a bad reputation – although not especially in Spain- This is pretty unfair. They often ignore how the car has been treated or its full story, but they will be more effective with deadlines and more resourceful in the case of any impediment. The main point: the dealers do not lie more than the owners. They need to keep their own reputation in a high standard level to continue dealing, not as the owner, who will forget the buyer once he has the money in his pocket, and knowing that the next holder will be abroad.

Please, keep in mind that before purchasing the vehicle, the dealer has to send you the ID document of the owner (passport or NIF/NIE) and the paperwork, which is essentially the ITV card and Vehicule Registration Certificate. The dealer could be acting on the owner’s behalf or on his own. Ask for it. Therefore, do not buy cars from a dealer who has bought the car from another dealer: this is what we call a dead lane.

TRAFFIC. Everyone who has suffered it, knows civil servants from National Traffic Authority (DGT) live in their own world, so be patient, and hire a professional! The vehicle has to be de-registered to be exported; this is a very easy paperwork to be done… or a very strong headache, depending on the previous situation of the car (ITV passed/not passed, etc), the area of Spain in which the car is being purchased…and the civil servant who is working that day with your file! The way the Spanish Civil Servant Corp usually act might be subject of a voluminous treaty. Just knowing that the treatment from DGT personnel will be slightly different than the one from, let’s say, the Hilton Hotel staff will make the process less painful.

SHIPPERS. Undoubtedly, shipping turns out like the most dangerous step. Please remember: not Owners, not Dealers, not Traffic; but Shippers make the difference between a dream and a nightmare. Make sure that either you or your representative choose an appropriate courier, and ask about the total costs of moving the vehicle. Usually, when a vehicle is moved by ship to another country, there are two phases:

  • 1. Inland transport. which cost may be high in relation to the total cost of transport. It is important to set the cost of raising the car to the truck, because companies can charge up to €400 for doing this, a disproportionate price. And always, clarify the prices. Our last transport from Nerja’s port to Malaga’s port has cost €900 +€200 for a crane to place the car into the truck. This price is very high and could have been reduced ... if we had had enough time to choose. But the ship was coming and the inland transport had to be done in two days.
  • 2. Sea transport. The price varies by distance, and also depends on the weight, the type of container used, etc. A transport to a port of Holland or Norway can cost around € 800 Euros from a Spanish port. One to the USA East coast could be around € 1,800. It is critical to choose between several quotations and to be informed because any lack of information will cost money. Be aware of your ‘feelings’ when trading with the shipping companies. Choosing the right agent is more a question of guts than figures because the ‘unexpected’ expenses dramatically increase the final price. For instance: to park a vehicle in a port waiting for the boat to come cost around €100 every day: be sure that the car arrives the port on time and not days before the departure.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended to be careful and prevent every detail, every link in the chain, and to seek specialist advice. Your representative in Spain will solve the troubles and update you in real time.

On this regard, have a look at, who are experienced expert on this matter. And call Carr & Associates at +34 911981780 (Spain) or +44 7716644154 (UK and abroad). It is worth it.

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