• Revenue Cycle Management
  • COVID-19
  • Reimbursement
  • Diabetes Awareness Month
  • Risk Management
  • Patient Retention
  • Staffing
  • Medical Economics® 100th Anniversary
  • Coding and documentation
  • Business of Endocrinology
  • Telehealth
  • Physicians Financial News
  • Cybersecurity
  • Cardiovascular Clinical Consult
  • Locum Tenens, brought to you by LocumLife®
  • Weight Management
  • Business of Women's Health
  • Practice Efficiency
  • Finance and Wealth
  • EHRs
  • Remote Patient Monitoring
  • Sponsored Webinars
  • Medical Technology
  • Billing and collections
  • Acute Pain Management
  • Exclusive Content
  • Value-based Care
  • Business of Pediatrics
  • Concierge Medicine 2.0 by Castle Connolly Private Health Partners
  • Practice Growth
  • Concierge Medicine
  • Business of Cardiology
  • Implementing the Topcon Ocular Telehealth Platform
  • Malpractice
  • Influenza
  • Sexual Health
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Technology
  • Legal and Policy
  • Money
  • Opinion
  • Vaccines
  • Practice Management
  • Patient Relations
  • Careers

Tour Europe in your new car?


If you&re planning to buy some first-class wheels and you like traveling abroad, these companies may have a deal for you.


Tour Europe in your new car?

Jump to:
Choose article section...How the programs compare

If you're planning to buy some first-class wheels and you like traveling abroad, these companies may have a deal for you.

By Susan Harrington Preston

BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Saab, Volvo. Five car manufacturers, five ways to tour Europe behind the wheel of your own new car.

Programs that let Americans pick up their new cars in Europe have been around at least since 1965, and for one main reason: Buying cars can be cheaper abroad than it is in the United States. In fact, sometimes it's so much cheaper that the savings can offset the entire cost of a vacation in Europe. The manufacturer may even pay for airfare and hotel stays.

Repeat: The cars are sometimes cheaper. BMW, Saab, and Volvo offer either a set European-delivery price or a recommended discount off the US sticker price. But Mercedes quit offering its 10 percent discount last year; now, you pay US list price. With Porsche, you pay up to $4,075 extra for European delivery.

Still, sale price isn't everything. "If you figure out how much you save by driving your own car in Europe instead of renting one, you can afford to buy two," jokes family practitioner John Egerton of Friendswood, TX. In 2000, Egerton and his wife picked up a Saab convertible in Sweden. "We drove it all the way to northern Italy, then through France to the UK," he says. "That was fun."

Here's how European delivery works: You order the car in advance—some manufacturers recommend as much as five months' lead time (see table below). If you're buying a Mercedes, Saab, or Volvo, you can place the order online, if you'd like (although you'll still have to go through a local dealer at some point). All the manufacturers typically ask you to pay a $1,000 to $2,000 deposit, and the balance 30 days before delivery.

You then pick up the car and use it on your vacation. When your trip ends, you return the car to the manufacturer, and it's shipped to a stateside dealer of your choice, usually arriving four to eight weeks later. You'll pay more fees at that point: registration and title; gas-guzzler and luxury tax, if applicable; and other miscellaneous and dealer's fees—not to mention sales tax, if your state requires it. Porsche charges extra for transportation within the United States—$765 if you want the car delivered to a nearby dealer; $150 if you pick it up in Charleston, SC.

All five companies' programs handle hassles you might not think of. Those can include European registration and driver's insurance, and adapting the car to US specifications. Some even offer emergency road service while you're in Europe. You'll have to give the company power of attorney so it can get your car through customs without you, though.

As complex as the process is, it generally works without a hitch. "Everything went smoothly," says Egerton. "I really didn't expect it to."

The author is a former Senior Editor of Medical Economics.

How the programs compare

Recommended lead time on orders
Airfare included?
3 months
Up to 7%
4-5 months; 3-week rush orders are possible
Usually at least 12 weeks; varies depending on options, dealership
None; you pay $1,150- $4,075 extra
Can be ordered even after you get to Europe
Yes, two round-trip coach tickets
10-12 weeks
Yes, an $800 travel voucher
Hotel included?
Insurance included?
Pickup cities
Yes, for one month
Yes, two nights
Yes, for entire stay
Yes, for two weeks
Stuttgart, Germany
Yes, one night for pickup
No. One month costs $283-$307
Trollhattan, Sweden; 11 other cities for $285 to $695 more
Yes, one night for pickup
No. One month costs $315-$650
Gothenburg, Sweden
Drop-off cities included in cost
Added cost for alternative drop-off cities
18 cities, 9 of them in Germany
15 cities, 7of them in Germany
Stuttgart, Germany
Gothenburg, Sweden; Antwerp, Belgium Bremerhaven Germany
Gothenburg, Sweden

Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volkswagen have no special programs for European delivery.

Sue Preston. Tour Europe in your new car?.

Medical Economics


Related Videos