Purchasing a car in Spain (on Spanish plates), just the way Spaniards do, has numerous advantages and can help you avoid a lot of complications. You do not have to pay in foreign currency and you can purchase on the instalment plan.
Britons, in particular, will find that new Spanish cars are priced lower than the same models in the UK, especially after the pound gained strength against the euro.
Non-EU citizens must obtain specific documentation
If you are a non resident and from a non EU country and you buy a car on Spanish registration, make sure that you obtain one of the following documents:
- An International Driving Permit to carry in addition to your home country license.
- An official translation of your driving licence, often available through the Spanish Consulate in your home country.
- A Certificado de Equivalencia (a Certificate of Equivalence), which is prepared by Spain’s Royal Automobile Club, the RACE.
The reason for the exercise is that Spanish traffic police want somebody who is regularly on Spanish roads and not merely a tourist visitor to carry a license they can read and understand. You can be fined € 300 if you do not comply.
When you make the rounds of auto dealers in your part of Spain, collecting brochures and comparing prices, you will find many makes and models available, at prices in some cases a little lower than in the rest of Europe. Renault, Fords, Opels, Seats, Citroëns, all manufactured in Spain, are among the best sellers. Dealers compete in offering guarantees, financing terms and special sales.
Besides these Spanish-manufactured cars, you can also find dealers specialising in importing cars on Spanish plates. Imported cars have actually captured 25 per cent of the Spanish market.
Additional steps and requirements
If you have just recently arrived in Spain and don’t own property, you may be asked to provide some financial certification that you can pay for the car, or even be obliged to find a Spanish co-signer to guarantee your payments.
You will then place a deposit on the car, which will vary from dealer to dealer, and agree on terms from one to four years. It should be noted that the interest rates have come down on these plans as a result of competition growth. You should also keep in mind that shouldyou decide on a two-year scheme, for example, you will make your down payment and then sign a series of 24 letras, or bills of exchange, for the instalments. These letras oblige you to make the payments and are often addressed directly to your bank account for payment.