Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Should I take my 2003 VW Golf car to Germany?

I have a 2003 Golf Diesel and the car in in very good condition since my husband is taking very good care of it. I absolutely love this car. However, we want to move to Germany in 3-4 Years and would like to take a car with us. Should I take this car with me or should I buy a new VW Golf now and, when it is time, take that one with me to Germany? The less I spend on the car the more money we have to start our life im Europe.

Why would you want to take sand to the beach? Buy one when you get there. If you want to take a car to Europe, bring a classic American car from the 1950’s.


I need a car that works and get serviced easily and not another toy car for my husband. He already has a muscle car form the '70 that we don’t know what to do with when we move.

We had this post before many times; in all cases most of recommend that you clean up your present car and SELL it, and buy a similar car (used) in Germany for less money. Cars in Europe depreciate faster than in the US. German mechanics will have difficulty servicing a US spec car, and you’ll have the same problem as with your husband’s muscle toy.

Even if Uncle Sam pays your way over, it’s smarter to buy a local car. If you don’t have an exemption, you may have top convert the car to local specs which is prohibitively expensive!

We similarly discourge persons in Eurpe from bringing a European spec car back with them. At least VW and Mercedes will sell you a US spec car in Europe that you can bring back later.

Thank you for your answer. Will they also sell a European spec car in the US?

You can only buy US spec cars here, not European spec cars. There are enough differences that you can’t register the European car here. And even if you could bring one back, you could not sell it. I’d sell your Golf and look into storing your husband’s muscle car. What is it? It would have to be special to store it for 4 years.

Hi, you should also consider the current exchange rate. In case you want to know how much you need to invest for a similar car you could check on or It is probably cheaper to buy a new car in Germany.
Have fun!

One more reason - I think there are pretty stringent inspection requirements in Germany on used cars, might as well buy one there that you know meets those requirements. So use your US car here until you move, then sell it and buy a car in Germany for your time there, then sell it when it’s time to come back to the US.

I agree with Tex. Cars are commodities we can derive much pleasure from, but replacement is the name of the game when inconvenience and costs are at stake. Buy or lease another model that has all the features you like and learn to love animate objects, not cars.

You have an '03 VW now, and in 3 to 4 years from now you are moving to Germany? Your VW is 8 to 9 years old now, and will be 11 to 13 years old by the time you move to Germany. Keep driving your VW now and save money. Sell your US VW before you move. The cost to ship it would exceed the value of the car. Since there are lots of VW’s in Germany get a new or used VW once you settle in Germany.

I just don’t see any rational reason to ship such an old car out of the US and deal with all the customs paperwork and shipping costs. A US spec car in Germany could be harder to sell in a foreign market, meaning you lose even more money if have to sell it or trade it in on a new car. Sell your VW before you move to Germany.

Even if you are in the military and the costs to ship the car is paid by Uncle Sam, still sell it here before you go overseas.

If you were talking, say a 'Vette, to Germany, I’d say “Take it!”. Those things sell like hotcakes over there. VW’s (specially the smaller ones like the Golf and Jetta), on the other hand, are pretty much throw away cars over there. Much like the Cobalt, etc, are here. If you’re associated with the military, or have access to AAFES, you can pre-order new cars through them (the prices are actually fairly decent), and have a new car waiting there for you at a dealer close by. I don’t know where you’re specifically heading to, so that’s the best I can do.

I’m pretty much in agreement with the above: Sell it here and get another when you get there. You’ll get more for it here than you would over there, definitely. Trying to sell an American spec car there also has complications, since you have to sell it to someone that can actually buy it without paying the import duties.


Do not take the car with you. Their regulations are entirely different than here. I’ve been told that Renault for example covers their cars with full warrantees throughout Europe and will come and get you and give you another car to use for your trouble. You won’t get that with a US VW.

I have lived in German 31 years. We buy European specification cars, maintenance is easier and parts are more readily available. Local dealers have extensive inventories of used cars. If you are in the military or coming as a civilian car inspections are quite thorough. If you bring an auto from the US, it needs to be in top condition. So you get a choice. I would not bring a car over older than 5 - 7 years.