US Model Overseas

I need to buy a car in the US but I’m going abroad in 7-8 months for a two-year period. I’m headed to a country, where I understand they have authorized service centers for Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ford and maybe a couple of others. I think the perfect car for my family is a Subaru Outback but I’m worried about getting service and parts. So I’ve started to look at other makes/models. I’ve found some decent alternatives but nothing that I’m in love with. So I find myself wondering if there is any benefit in bringing a car abroad that is primarily sold in the U.S. market. Is there any advantage in buying a Nissan Murano, or Mitsubishi Outlander, or Toyota Venza, for instance, when they aren’t models generally sold where I’m headed? Am I any better off with one of those cars than an Outback. I assume I’ll be able to ship some small parts for repairs when necessary.

Thanks in advance for the advice.

For a 2-year stint I’d want a car sold there. Even then they’ll be differences in engines. What country?

I agree with Texases.
I would suggest buying a car when you arrive in that nation.

Are you sure such a car would be legal in that country? Have you checked if your warranty would be in effect, as there’s a very good chance that it wouldn’t? Wouldn’t the cost of shipping the car two times add up to a lot of money?

I think you should buy a very used car now to get you through the next seven or eight months, then buy a decent used car when you arrive there.

+1, buy the car when you get there. Not sure why the country you’re headed to needs to be a secret. Someone who is living there might be able to provide you with more detailed advice.

Agree with other posters. Unless it’s Mexico or Canada, the engine control setup will be different and the local mechanics won’t be able to work on it. The Ford Focus is sold all over, but they have engines and controls that are widely varying depending on which country.

Buy something local sell it when you leave. The might have a two year lease if you want a a new vehicle.

Again, a used local car will give you far less trouble than a US new model.

I’m going with the others here and recommending getting a vehicle in the country where you will be living. It will save you a lot of time, trouble and money in the long run.

Make mine another agreement to buy there. Too many variables otherwise.

For 2 years, you might also consider a lease if they do that in your temporary home.

for the rest of your time here, could you go the ‘rent-a-wreck’ or zipcar routes in your area? could work, as well. This way you won’t have to worry about trying to sell your car right before you leave OR worry about the shipping costs involved in moving your vehicle with you.

An alternative would be to buy a “world car”; one they sell here in the US that is similar to the same make/model all over the world(i.e. Ford Focus or Toyota 4Runner).

@bscar As per previous posts, a World Car may look the same in other countries, but under the skin they are often radically different. For instance you can buy a Dodge Caravan in Europe, but it might have a 4 cylinder diesel and a 5 speed manual transmission and built in Graz, Hungary.

The Ford Focus has 4 different engines in Europe, meeting European but not US standards. Child seat anchors, bumper strenght and many other items differ from country to country.

A friend of mine had a nice little Mazda 323 in Venuzuela. He wanted to bring it back home after Chavez threw out the “gringos”. The car was assembled in Colombia, did not even have rear seatbelts, no catalytic converter, and other shortcomings. I told him what was involved and it would have cost much more than the car was worth new.

European cars are very sophisticated in their safety and emission controls but those do no meet US standards. Conversely, A US car would not pass in Europe.

In other words from an emission and safety point of view there is no world car yet.

Some countries have casual attitudes and wouldn’t be bothered by an American-spec car, but others have inspections it wouldn’t pass. Years ago my partner moved to France. He had a Saab in the US and figured it made sense to take it with him. Hmm. No, it didn’t. He had to get various things changed to European specs, one of the mist expensive being the headlight assemblies. He didn’t make the same mistake hen he moved back to the US many years later.

If you’re in the military you may be able to get away with it as there seem to be special agreements for them (though you need to check.) I’d still only take a car that could easily be serviced/repaired where you’re going, and consider hard before doing it. I can’t imagine where this country is that doesn’t use many if the same models as everywhere else. Toyota, Nissan, and VW sell some models very broadly, though you’d still be better off with a local car unless you’ve really done your research. I’d also worry about bringing it back. Catalytic converters can easily be wrecked by gasoline not made to appropriate standards. Buying a used car there and using it for your stay just makes so much more sense. Think of it as your opportunity to try out a bit of automotive exotica nobody back home has ever driven. Years later you’ll look back fondly on your travels in a ‘Salsa Rojo’ Seat Toledo or a Toyota Hilux Surf.