Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

I got a press release today that I thought was one of the best I’ve read all year, I’m very happy to publish it word for word, enjoy.

“Alfa Romeo Ireland Responds to Comments Made by
VW’s Ferdinand Piëch at the Paris Motorshow
The chairman of Volkswagen, Ferdinand Piëch, publically stated his desire to acquire the iconic Alfa Romeo brand at the Paris Motorshow last week. However, we at Alfa Romeo Ireland believes his comments may have been misconstrued. Mr. Piëch, like thousands of other Alfa Romeo fans around the world, may simply have been expressing his desire to own an Alfa Romeo, most likely the all-new Giulietta – a car which Top Gear Magazine says “might just be the best car that Alfa has built in its 100 years of existence.” After all, the Giulietta offers the sort of quality and refinement Mr. Piëch is well accustomed in his products, but with that extra dash of desirability that you only get with an Alfa Romeo.
The 73-year old also seems prepared to wait a long time for his new Giulietta. “Time works in our favour on such a deal,” he was heard to comment. “Ask me again in two years’ time.” However, Alfa Romeo Ireland would like Mr. Piëch to know that although demand for the Giulietta is likely to push Alfa Romeo’s sales beyond 150,000 in 2011 (keeping the brand on target for sales of 300,000 by 2014 as outlined by Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne in Fiat Group Automobile’s five-year business plan announced last April) there are no supply issues with the Giulietta and he can actually have one today if he so wishes. Nor will waiting two years help Mr. Piëch negotiate a better price for his new Giulietta. At €19,995 for the entry-level 1.4 TB 120hp Turismo, the Giulietta is already one of the best value family cars on sale today.
In conclusion, Alfa Romeo Ireland would like to thank Mr. Piëch for his interest and suggests that he visit to find his nearest dealer, request a brochure or configure the Alfa Romeo of his dreams.”

Hats off Alfa Romeo Ireland, best press release of the year! 


I have been using the Internet for years now, and for as long as I can remember I have been pricing cars on line and in the last few years you can even buy a car from places like ebay, but the basic premise of buying a car hasn’t changed much in Ireland, we still find a car on a dealer web site and then go along to a showroom where we are coaxed into buying a car. Well things are changing, imagine if you could go online to see over 70 pictures of the car you like, put down a fully refundable 99 euro deposit, go to a warehouse to test drive the car and then drive it home when you pay the balance, no pressure.

Thats what you can do on, I came across the web site one night when I was looking for a price of a car and it seemed to me as an interesting idea, auto direct take ex-lease cars and sell them to retail buyers at knock down prices.

For those that don’t know, leasing companies buy job lots of cars and lease them to medium and large business as fleet cars. For the most part these cars are really well looked after, only being used by sales and management as company cars. They tend to be serviced on schedule and sold off after a couple of years. The leasing companies sell the cars on and buy new ones, it’s at this point when auto direct get involved, they are effectively middle men between you and the leasing companies, so you get a young, well serviced car for a knock down price. This seemed too good to be true so I decided to visit the warehouse where the cars are stored for viewing.

Normally you would go into a big glass showroom and meet lots of people in suits but there’s little of that here. The idea is you see every aspect of the car online, even down to the tyre condition before you visit the showroom, this is an e-commerce solution at it’s best. It’s much the same as buying anything else on the Internet, except it’s a car.

With all of the stock coming from ex-fleet and no trade in’s Autodirect are in a unique position to be able to cut the prices that they charge down to the bone, but that doesn’t mean cutting corners. All of the cars are inspected by the AA and get a report done.

After a quick tour of the offices I was let loose in the warehouse, there isn’t a big glass showroom, all the cars are kept indoors and they are spotlessly clean. There’s a car turntable and professional lighting at the end of the warehouse where a photographer takes hundreds of pictures that are put up live on the site, there’s no mechanics, oil or even dirt anywhere to be seen, the showroom in on the internet, where I’m standing is more of a handover room.

So what’s the cars like? I decided to take an Insignia out for a test drive, I noticed the Vauxhall logo on the front which means this is a UK car, there’s nothing wrong with that, really there isn’t a dealer in the country who hasn’t got a UK car sitting on his forecourt at the moment. The Insignia is like new, the valeting team done a great job, it’s a 2009 but there isn’t a mark on it. The warehouse is way down the back of the Toughers business park between Newbridge and Naas, they have a huge yard that leads out onto a wide open road where you can have a proper test drive without having to get into traffic. may have hit upon a new way of selling cars in Ireland, although the method has been in operation elsewhere for some time now. But it does give the Irish buyer a new way to buy a car, I can see no down side for the buyer, the cars are immaculate, cheap and readily available.

If your in the market for a change of car it will cost you nothing to have a look at the web site, compare some of the prices, you never know you might just get the bargain you’ve been hoping for.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

A man drove a cement truck up to the gates of Leinster House this morning in protest over how the Irish government bailed out, and continues to bail out Anglo Irish bank. Twitter broke the news this morning with a person on site with a camera phone, he uploaded the pictures of the truck in a tweet before there were any of the main stream news-hounds on site.

I think this is a tragic situation, that a man has to resort to this kind of action to make himself heard. It says a lot about our kind of system that someone feels that much emotion that he has to drive a cement truck to government house. You have to ask why this man felt so enraged that he needed to carry out an action so drastic. If someone drove a truck up to the gates of the White house he would be shot before he got within a hundred yards.

What should we do? Ignore him? Help him? Protest until his release? Or maybe mark him down as yet another casualty of this recession.

I think the politicians should sit up and take notice, he is just one voice but he echos the voice of millions.

Bob Flavin

Renault Kangoo 17

Image by 650cc via Flickr


Do you own a van that’s 5 years old? If your can answer yes to the above then get thee to a Renault Dealer.

This is a first for Ireland, no one else is looking to scrap your old van, Renault’s ‘scrap my van’ offer applies to light commercial vehicles aged 5 years and older, registered on the 31st January 2006 or before.

It’s a great offer from Renault, if your able to take advantage of it have a look at the pricelist below or head over to

PR Renault Vans Price List


I spend so long on the internet using, Twitter, Facebook and all sorts of mediums I tend to forget that there’s real people behind the little text that you see on the screen. The lads who hang out in what I understand to be the second most popular section of Ireland’s most popular forum site decided to meet up and see what we all look like.

The Motors section on Boards has a huge amount of traffic asking questions that range from what kind of car should I buy to what the timing should be on 97 Carina. All of which will get an answer, it’s a fantastic resource and it’s free.

There was a huge range of cars there today, along with a huge range of people from all the age ranges, it was lovely to see them for the first time, I have been chatting to them on-line for a long time now and finally I got to put a face and a name to the on-line persona.

Thanks to all that made the effort to turn out today, it was nice to meet you all.

Megan Fox.

Image via Wikipedia

Picture the most beautiful woman on the planet.

Take Megan Fox, Penelope Cruz or Eva Mendes …. now try to improve upon them.

Make them even more irresistible, hotter, sexier.

It’s not easy, is it?

That is the exact dilemma put to a group of the best automotive designers and engineers money can buy.

There was one big problem though …. these are German designers and engineers and more often than not you get a lot more than you bargained for.

The results are there for all to see in the new 5 Series, but beauty, my friends, is indeed more than skin deep.

You see, in the case of the fickle world of show business, a plastic surgeon may make you look younger and more vibrant, but he won’t make you a better actress.

Now, if the old 5 were a fairytale it could only be the ugly duckling …. which blossomed into a beautiful swan and there the romance began, well for me, anyway.

The E60, made between 2003 and 2010, had what a very dear friend calls the ”sexy/ugly thing going on” which is based on the philosophy that not all beautiful women are sexy …. and not all sexy women are beautiful.

It was a curious looking creature, not very inviting, but when you climbed into the cockpit and fired her up ….. hmmm sheer driving pleasure.

It was that perfect balance of fine handling unstoppable power, torque and unrivalled drive which won over all of its critics, with some conceding that the look will even grow on you.

The exact same applies here, except in reverse.

Despite the ergonomics boffin droning on about how sexier, younger and dynamic they made it, Cupid didn’t strike and I wasn’t all woosy and faint.

In fact, I think its too conservative and they’ve played it too safe this time round.

So I may have been a tad disappointed by the look, but would the same apply in the saddle.

Absolutely not.

How could it?

Its older brother was perfection so how could they possibly improve it?

Simple really.

They just made it bigger, quicker and more economical.

Take the 530D which churns out a whopping 245bhp, has CO2 omissions of 160g/km and returns over 40mpg.

Thanks to the stop start technology (borrowed from the Mini range) the 523i has the same green credentials of 160g/km and 204bhp.

But their secret weapon is the not so humble 520D which has Irish drivers queueing around the block with the lure of 184bhp, CO2s of 132grammes (£156 road tax) and a jaw dropping 50mpg.

Couple that with their most advanced 8 speed automatic gearbox and supension technologies – taken from the 7series, throw in a few goodies like Parking Assistant which parks for you, Surround View, collision warning  (which automatically brakes in an emergency)

Lane Change Warning and Head-Up Display and the job is Oxo.

It’s not hard to fathom that this luxury saloon is the single biggest selling model in Ireland today.

Pound for pound this BMW is, if you’ll excuse the plug, the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’.

If my analogy about Chris Bangle (designer of the last E60 5 series) and the sexy ugly thing working in reverse proves correct then it is love at first sight.

If that doesn’t get the heart racing then the price tag of under €41,750 (check this) will.

Philip Hedderman

Let us know what you think of the 5 Series, please comment below.

Can you get a free NCT?

Posted: September 18, 2010 by smokerspack in advice, NCT
Tags: , , , , , ,

The National Car Test is a European directive; it is supposed to test all cars over four years old to see if they are fully roadworthy. The NCT certification is legally required for your car if it’s on the road in Ireland; you get 5 penalty points and a €1,500 fine if you don’t display one in the window of your car.

For the privilege of taking the test you must pay €50 on the day of testing whether you pass or fail. A re-test of underperforming parts costs €28. I believe the NCT does a good job of finding the rogue cars out there with bad brakes and bald tyres but there are a few problems.

My car is 4 years old this year so it was due its first NCT. I called the booking line in April and a lady told me that there were no slots open at my chosen centre, she asked if I would like to choose a different centre, when I refused that she said that a booking letter would come in the post that would tell me when I would have to take the test. At the time I thought nothing more of it. On the 5th of May the booking letter arrived, the date I received was the 5th of August for my test, a full three months wait. In the mean time I had a look around the internet and I came across a PDF of a booklet for the NCTS, in it there’s a “Standards of customer service” section and I read with some interest section 4, it reads:

“Ensure that an average leadtime for an appointment at an individual test centre is less than three weeks with a free test if this is greater than four weeks”

So to me that would mean a free test, I mean I have to wait 3 months for mine. On the 5th of August I presented my car for testing, before he would test the car I had to hand over €50, despite my arguing with the tester and even showing him the section in the pamphlet he still wouldn’t let me off the money. He told me that I had to apply for a refund so he printed me a full receipt and told me to get in touch with customer service.

I called them while I waited for my car to go through the tests, I talked to a woman who told me I would have to apply in writing for a refund, there was nothing she could do over the phone, even though she could see when the test was booked, they wanted to listen to the recording of the call just to make sure I didn’t request the booking for this date. I haven’t written a letter in years so I asked could I email it in, after a little arguing I was put through to a supervisor. She gave me the same answer but told me I could email . I sent in the receipt and a little note explaining my annoyance at being charged in the first place, I even sent a copy to Noel Dempsey the Minster for Transport.

After nearly 50 minutes my car was ready, it only took 50 minutes because of a tea break that happens around 10.30am, why they don’t finish the car they are working on before a tea break is beyond me, added to that, they all go together so there’s no one left working.

My car passed, I enquired from the tester if there were many people looking for free tests, he told me that there were “loads” of people, and that the NCTS want them to test two more cars a day there by putting more pressure on them. I wondered if it took 3 months to get my date and they add two more cars a day, just how long would it take to get a test date in the future, also how many free tests are performed by the NCTS because of the backlog?

After 4 phone calls and a number of emails I got a letter in the post from the NCT;

“Item 4 in our customer charter states “Ensure that and average lead time for an appointment at an individual test centre is less than three weeks with a free test if it is greater than four weeks” This refers to a situation where a customer requests a sooner appointment but where the NCT is unable to provide one.”

It doesn’t say that, item 4 makes no reference to me requesting a particular date, the letter went on…

“…I was unable to find your initial booking call; therefore we must ask you to provide us with the telephone number from which you made the booking call..”

It took 2 days for that letter to arrive and all he wanted was a phone number, he could have emailed or phoned me and got that. I decided to call them again, providing the phone number he wanted; I was told that “the matter will be investigated”

On the 11th of August I got another letter from the NCT which states the same thing;

“Item 4, <snip> this refers to a situation where a customer requests a sooner appointment but where the NCT is unable to provide one. Our records show that you were offered and accepted an appointment for the 5/8/2010.

Notwithstanding this, as a gesture of good will I would like to offer you a refund of the test fee. A cheque will be issued from our accounts department shortly.”

That means I should have asked for a sooner test, so I’m at fault but out of the goodness of their hearts they’ll refund my fee. I got a letter with a date on it, the date was more than 4 weeks so the test should be free. These people know their job, they know the dates, they should be offering me the soonest date available right? I wanted to find out just how many free tests are happening, on the Applus + web site it says that they carry out more than 1.4 million tests per year, so how many of them are done for free because of the lead time? I asked the RSA who is the responsible body for the NCT, they referred it onto Vehicle standards who came back with:

“The NCT service has been exceptionally busy this year and indeed the first quarter of 2010 has been the busiest since the NCT was established eleven years ago. There are a number of factors which contribute to this level of demand including the following:

· The decline in new vehicle sales in 2008 and 2009 has led to greater demand for testing of older vehicles.

· The large numbers of second hand imports in 2008, 2009 and 2010 has driven demand and is impossible to predict as sterling values and prices in Ireland drive this demand.

· The introduction of penalty points has increased drivers compliance and has brought almost 80,000 extra cars into the testing system and has generally led to drivers seeking tests mush[sic] earlier than had been the case in the past.

· The majority of new vehicles are registered in the first quarter and NCT falls due on the anniversary of registration. This means that the first quarter is the busiest period and demand rapidly falls away in May each year.

· We introduced a new NCT contractor on January 4th this year and had reduced capacity in the handover period. The new contractor has been awarded the contract for the next ten years.

Lead times for NCT vary from day to day.  Every week NCT releases test slots for customers who wish to make advance bookings up to 3 months ahead. However, the bulk of slots (approximately 2/3rds) are made available between 2 and 4 weeks in advance (28days) with a proportion of those retained for urgent bookings at two weeks lead-time.  For the vast majority of customers, therefore, lead times are around 14 – 28 days. At busy times, however, these slots are often used up very quickly and then the next slot available would be one of the advance slots opened to allow owners obtain firm test dates. Approximately one third of customers either request or voluntarily accept test dates further out. However, if such a slot is unsuitable for the customer, they are placed on the priority waiting list described above and they will generally be offered a slot within 28 days (or the test offered free of charge).

Trusting this clarifies the matter.

Kind Regards

Veronica Rowland

Vehicle Standards”

It is now as clear as mud, that’s just twisting words in the Customer charter to suit an answer. I didn’t get an answer to my question, how many free tests are being carried out each year?

In the mean time, Minster Dempsey had referred my email to Mr. Noel Brett, Chief executive of the R.S.A. Declan Naughton, Director of the R.S.A. came back to me with:

“I refer to your email dated 5 August 2010 to Mr Noel Dempsey, T.D., Minister for Transport in relation to a refund for your NCT Test and my subsequent email to you on 15 August last.

I have had the matter investigated with the National Car Testing Service who I understand have been in touch with you to clarify the matter and have made arrangements for a refund cheque to be issued directly to you.

I can only apologise for any inconvenience caused to you in this instance and I hope that this matter has now been resolved to your satisfaction.  I can assure you of the RSA’s continuing commitment to customer service which I know is shared by the contractor.

I trust this clarifies the situation for you.

Declan Naughton


The matter is clear; I am getting my refund, but how many refunds are being given out each year? No one would answer my question, either they don’t know or don’t want to say. Remember some of your tax pays for the NCT to exist, all those €50’s that you pay for your test pays the balance, but what happens when all that money starts being refunded or the tests are free?

To make matters worse for the NCT, from June 2011 cars that are over 10 years old have to be tested once a year, and from the 1st of September this year if you import a car you will have to present it to the NCT centre for inspection, this is not an NCT test, just is just to check that the car is as described, the VRT is cheaper for a basic model than the high spec version of the same car. The fee for this inspection can be deducted from the VRT for the car. In 2009 there was almost 50,000 cars imported into Ireland, from September on the NCT centres will have to examine that many more cars. How long will people have to wait before getting an appointment for an imported car? Can they drive the car in the period on foreign plates?

It seems that in Ireland there’s no joined up thinking, nothing seems to have been put in place for the extra volume of cars for testing, and the volumes are just going to rise, the solution seems to be give free tests until the backlog has cleared, but the backlog is just going to get bigger until they can test a bigger volume of cars.

I never got an answer to my question; it seems that no one knows how many tests are carried out in Ireland for free, 6 weeks have passed and I still haven’t gotten my cheque either.

Please comment below or email

The sun has been shining all week, there is no more beautiful place on earth than Ireland on a sunny day, but all this sun can mean only one thing, the kids are back at school. Yes, whenever the people who make the most of the sun have to go into their rather dull dilapidated school buildings the sun comes out to play. I went to Japfest in Mondello Park on Sunday, it turned out to be a great day for everyone, there were loads of things to do and see, plenty of action on the track, the smell of tyre smoke hung in the air.
The car that took me there was the little Punto, it has been brilliantly styled by the Italians; it looks modern and above all cute. It seems to be an update of the Punto Grande, the Evo badge has nothing to do with performance, just that the car has evolved into….another car.
The interior is solid and really well built; all the surfaces that you touch are soft and plesent. The Drivers’ seat is a little on the short side for my legs and the upright of the seat is firm, that aside it is a comfy little car for the driver. The back seat is tight though, there’s just about room for two adults back there. One note for you, I couldn’t get a rear facing child seat in the back without moving the drivers’ seat forward, you can’t put the child seat in the front because there’s no way to turn off the airbag, not big problems but just something that annoyed me.
Something else that annoyed me greatly is the MP3 player, its part of the Blue&Me system. It won’t play from a Creative Labs Zen, or at least I couldn’t make it work, it seems to be iPod or USB stick only. What annoyed me is that it took ages for any song to start playing and when you got out of the car after listening to a few songs, when you start the car again it would start playing from the beginning of the song list again, also it would play a whole song and instead of going to the next song it would just play the same song again, it frustrated me enough that I just listened to the radio. If you have an iPod its fine, just plug and go. The rest of the Blue&Me is fine, the hands free and voice control work perfectly if a little slowly.

The engine in my test car is a 1.2 petrol 8 valve, it outs out 65bhp and it needs every one of them, it’s a tad underpowered. There’s a sporty feeling to the handling, there’s no hint of under steer when you’re on the back roads, but the lack of power from the engine means you won’t be going fast enough to worry about corners. Out on the motorway the steering becomes very light and I might say vague, even at low speeds the steering is light, but you can make it lighter with the city button on the dash. There’s also cornering lights, when you turn a corner with your head lamps on the spotlight on the relevant side comes on to light up a bit more of the road, it’s a good touch and useful too, the down side, it’s part of what Fiat call a style pack that gets you said lights, 15” alloys and metallic effect side mouldings and bumper inserts for €495.
It’s around town where this car comes into its own, the light steering, gearbox and clutch makes town or city driving very easy, there’s great visibility out of all sides and a flat rear makes it easy to park.
At the beginning of the week the Punto annoyed me, the lack of power and MP3 problems, but crucially by the end of the week the little Evo had won me over. It feels like it’s been made and styled by humans, the little quirks just serve to give it a bit of personality, it’s a fun little car that will give you something to talk about.
The Punto Evo range starts out at €13,959 and goes up to the Eleganza model at €18,095. The model I drove had the Style pack, metallic paint making it 15,915 but with scrappage and eco bonus you could pick it up for around €12,500. There’s plenty of competition out there for the Punto but none have quite the same personality.

Visit for further details, and check back for a video review of the Punto this week.

Commemoration of Official Charter

Image via Wikipedia

Drogheda & District Chamber of Commerce Announces Local Dealership Motor Show

I reckon this would be worth going along too, I know it’s the dealers that are putting it on so there probably won’t be any exotic cars there but it might open your eyes to some cool cars on the market at the moment.

“Drogheda & District Chamber are delighted to announce the launch of Drogheda’s first all new vehicle motor show. This weekend event will showcase the 2011 new car range from all twelve local franchise motor dealerships.  It is the first of its kind in Ireland and aims to improve the new car buying experience by using one location to offer greater choice to customers and ease of access to a large range of cars. Over 100 different new vehicle models will be on display over the weekend.

It will take place later this year on 5th, 6th and 7th of November in the Drogheda Retail Park. Drogheda Chamber President, Graham Hughes, believes this could be an annual event for our town, “It’s refreshing to see our local motor trade working together in this way to convey the simple message that Drogheda motor dealerships are very much open for business.”

Access to the event is free of charge and most of the event will be held indoors. Children are welcome and there will be a supervised area to keep the little ones entertained while the adults can browse at their leisure throughout the various vehicle display areas and food stands.

Permanent tsb Finance are the main sponsor of the first Drogheda Motor Show. They are a dedicated motor finance provider and already have strong relationships with all Drogheda motor dealerships. Robert Murray, local representative of permanent tsb Finance, says, “We are very pleased to support the Drogheda Motor Show in its first year and hope the people of Drogheda get behind their local dealers for 2011 and shop local. There will be fantastic finance packages available to customers throughout the weekend of the show and we will be on site to offer advice”.”

I’ll do my best to cover the show for those who are unable to attend, I’ll let you all know what day I’ll be there.

Let me start off by saying, this is not a how too guide, there are plenty of them on the web as it is. This article is about finding out if it’s worth looking in the UK for a used car, and will it really save you any money.

There’s a lot of anecdotal information floating around about people who saved thousands by going to the UK and getting the car they wanted (with a higher spec in some cases) and bringing it back to Ireland. A number of years ago there were loads of Japanese imports on the forecourts of every small dealer in the country, huge container loads of them came out of Japan bound for our shores, but Ireland fell out of love with imports, some were hard to get parts for, and European manufacturers were turning out both reliable and stylish cars. Ireland started to get more money and we got a thirst for that golden word in cars, status. Once Irish people started going to the UK and Northern Ireland to buy their cars our fate was sealed, the Government moved to protect what was a huge income for the State, car sales. Vehicle registration tax (VRT) was introduced, which is a tax that completely goes against all of the core values of the open market that we all bought into when we joined the EU in the first place. The Irish Government was very smart though, the VRT is not applied directly to the car, and instead it’s applied to getting an Irish registration plate. VRT is a complicated tax and since 2008 it’s based on the Co2 emissions of the car, previous to that it was based on the open market selling price of your chosen car in Ireland. If the car you want is from 2007 or before it’s impossible to say what the VRT is going to be it depends on market values, engine size, year, model and roadworthiness condition of the vehicle.

Knowing all this, I gave myself a budget of €22,000 to track down a car in the UK and price it against its Irish counterpart. That’s about £18,500 according to, your bank will give you a different rate on the day you change your money so be aware that you can only use today’s exchange rate as a guideline.

With my budget I selected a BMW 520d SE automatic 2007, might as well get something nice.

Here are the two cars:

The spec seems to be about the same, the Irish one has little fewer miles, now on with the money bit.

The UK one is £12,481 which is €14,800, I need to budget about €1000 euro for flights, boat, inspection, lunch, diesel and other sundries. That means €15,800 which is under budget so far, but the big one is the VRT when I return. Pending an inspection the VRT on the BMW is €5198, so that’s a grand total of €20,998 and presuming I don’t have to do any mechanical repairs to the car that beats the Irish price by €4992! So why don’t we all run over to the UK to buy our cars then?

The variables are the problem, the exchange rate you see above is the current one, but the price you get from your bank might be wildly different. The prices of the cars I’m using are the full quoted price, if you walk into any dealer in Ireland with €22,000 in your pocket and no trade in the price becomes negotiable. The warranty on your car is in Ireland and covered by Irish law.

All the problems aside there is some value in the UK/NI market, but you need to be aware of the problems, below is a list of advice if you intend to import your own car from the UK.

  1. Get your facts right. Check the prices in Ireland and UK for your chosen car.
  2. Factor in VRT and travel expenses to the budget, don’t forget emergency funds in case you miss the ferry and have to stay somewhere.
  3. The VRT to pay is variable, which means it might go up or down from when you use the web site. If you select the BMW SE model and you bring back an M-Sport model the price will almost certainly go up. Don’t make mistakes it might cost you thousands.
  4. Talk to your Irish dealer first. It might seem stupid but you never know what kind of deal you could strike if you just ask; it will only cost the price of a phone call.
  5. Only use a big dealer in the UK, you don’t want to be wandering around some housing estate looking for someone selling a car, most main dealers will pick you up at the airport if you ask.
  6. Get your checks done before you go. can check the UK cars history for €35, whoever you use just do it.
  7. Get the RAC/AA to check over the car before any money changes hands, don’t bring someone who “knows” about cars, don’t “use the force” or chant something, just get someone independent to do the check.
  8. Test drive the car, a nice 20 minutes can tell you loads, make sure everything works, press every button in the car.
  9. Know the price before you go. Don’t wander around with a pocket full of cash, pay a small deposit with a credit card (refundable) and use a bank draft for the balance. Ask about a service and a full tank of fuel, get something for free.
  10. Give yourself plenty of time. You don’t want to pick up a load of speeding tickets on your way to the ferry.
  11. Don’t forget insurance, get it transferred to the new car for the drive back.

It’s not all that hard to import a car, and if you look hard you’ll find the car you’re looking for. If the VRT wasn’t there we would all be driving cheaper cars that would have the same spec as the UK models but, alas its going to be with us in one form or another for the foreseeable future, they might change it to some sort of environmental tax but there’s no sign of our greedy little island ever giving an even playing field when it comes to the free movement of goods in the EU.

Both the dealers and the cars were chosen at random, I cannot recommend either the dealers or the cars I’ve chosen for the examples above as I don’t know them. Do your own research on the best dealers to use but as always, shop local but shop smart.

Links: (Need a postcode? BT11AA should work) (really worth a read) It’s old now but still worth a read

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