If you would like to save a few hundreds or even a couple of thousands of Euros when buying a German car in the Netherlands, then I have good news for you. In this article I will explain all the steps you need to take to make this process painless and rewarding.
Note that it is completely legal to buy and import cars from any country in the European Union. Some trolling articles are intentionally posted on the internet to scare people from doing so. This is probably done by the local car dealership in order to continue to increase their profit margins.
Online car marketplace apps such as mobile.de and autoscout24.de have many used cars from private persons and car dealerships. Both the web apps and the mobile apps support different European languages so you can easily switch to a language of your choice.
After finding a car or a list of potential cars with favourable prices and specifications according to your budget, check out the reviews of the dealership (if the seller is a car dealership of course) on Google reviews (find the dealership on Google and check out the reviews). The images below show a sample reviews page of a random German car dealership (I have no affiliation with the dealership) on Google.
For private sellers, you cannot get any public reviews and so you have to look carefully. After deciding on the cars you would like to buy, make initial contact with the seller to determine the availability of the car and if there are other things you should know about the car that is not in the details provided in the apps. Also, ask for the final price of the car.
Purchase of passenger cars in the Netherlands comes with a sales tax called BPM and therefore you must also, pay a BPM for cars that you import into the country.
Before deciding to buy and import a car into the Netherlands, you must calculate the estimated final BPM you are expected to pay using the BPM calculator online. Note that you get a discount on the BPM of used cars since the gross BPM is calculated on the specifications of a new car. So, remember to apply the depreciation discount on the calculated gross BPM.
Now that you know the expected BPM to be paid, note that you will also, need an export red license plate (for 14 days) and insurance from Germany in order to be able to drive the car to other EU countries. Make sure your car dealer or private seller knows how to arrange and acquire these. The insurance and export car license plate will cost you around 200 Euros. See sample red license export plate from Germany:
So the total cost of the car will be: asking price of car + BPM + export insurance and license plate + your cost of transportation to test and drive the car back + Other miscellaneous (around 100 to 200 euros)
Now that you have all the specifications and the final price of the car you would like to buy and import into the Netherlands, you need to find a similar car in the Netherlands (from a dealership or a private seller) and compare the price. You can actually go and test-drive the car in Netherlands to get a feel of the car you are trying to import since they are of a similar model.
Now compare the prices and see if you are saving on buying and importing from Germany. You are definitely going to save money if you are buying any of the high-end German cars (BMW, Mercedes, VW, etc), less than 6 years old and with a price higher that 10,000 Euros.
If you are happy with the cost savings, then it is now time to arrange with the seller in Germany for an inspection and a test-drive, and possibly getting an insurance, export plate and driving back (once the test drive and inspection go well).
Once the car arrives in the Netherlands, make sure to park the car in your garage and make an appointment with the RDW for inspection and acceptance into the Netherlands. The RDW will inspect the car and check the documents of the car. They will accept the car and provide you with the steps to obtain a Dutch license plate. Normally you only have to pay the BPM and wait for a car license certificate (Kentenkenbewijs) in order to go and get the number plates at any certified shop (note that you have to pay around 50 Euros or less for the number plate).
Now, go and enjoy your new car. If you have any questions or comments, add them to article below.