Military Car Sales Programs are tailored exclusively for the benefit of military service members, diplomats and civilian ID cardholders. Take any negative experiences you may have had purchasing a car in the States, and erase it from memory. Buying a car overseas is a refreshingly different type of experience, in a much superior way.
Depending on which type of vehicle you desire, there are rewarding programs to comfortably position you in the driver’s seat. A few benefits of buying a car overseas include tax-free status, fixed price points and U.S. specifications.
There is no cut-off date you are required to purchase a car by in order to reap the benefits. However, it is recommended to buy as soon as possible. Especially, if you want to take full advantage of the car’s capabilities, such as cruising down the autobahn or simply having a reliable and stylish set of wheels to drive around. Plan on starting the process at least six months to a year before you are due to move. For those last-minute decision makers, it is possible to buy right before you PCS.
Although you can avoid taxes when you initially buy overseas, you will most likely encounter a sales tax when returning to CONUS, depending on your next duty station. The best approach is to obtain information from the appropriate local office, like the department of motor vehicles. Individual states view both rates and liability differently, making it impossible to list definitive criteria on each one. For an overview of the various state rates go to www.taxadmin.org.
Beginning with the first step of entering a dealership, you may notice something is missing … the hovering and haggling. Yes, you are in the right place. Sales people are trained to be consultants. They are there to inform, educate and help you find the appropriate vehicle for your lifestyle and budget. Normal pressure placed on you to buy is non-existent. Price points are set by the manufacturers or factories, which eliminates negotiating with sales staff. The price you see is the price you pay. No catch or tricks, just the real deal.
Volvo Military Car Sales Programs offer special pricing substantially below the U.S. manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). This is made possible by working directly with the manufacturer. Fixed dollar pricing ensures customer security against exchange rate fluctuations. Ken Henderson, General Manager of Capitol Motors AG, said “Capitol Motors has 37 years of experience in serving the military and diplomatic clients. Our sales consultants are well-versed in the quirks of purchasing a new car overseas and will aid you every step of the way.” Here you can save thousands of dollars with direct factory pricing for Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. All products are factory backed with a global warranty for models. A unique program offer includes European Port to USA Dealer Home Shipping. Delivery to a dealer opposed to a shipping point makes it convenient if something unfortunate happens during the shipping process. European Road Assistance and 4-year/50,000 mile global warranty is available at no extra charge. Financing assistance is available along with the possibility to trade in your present car for a new one. For those who choose not to drive their car in Europe, there are direct delivery alternatives; VIP factory deliveries can be arranged.
For a rare and memorable experience when picking up your Volvo, you can travel to the Volvo factory in Gothenburg. There is no charge for direct factory pick-up you just need to get yourself there. Flying is an option; Ryan Air has frequent cheap flights. A ferry ride from Kiel, Germany to Gothenburg is around 14 hours. Special programs are offered throughout the year by Volvo, such as the cruise and collect program. Combine your car pick-up with a vacation and do some sightseeing along the way.
AMP Auto-Motor-Park in Schweinfurt, Germany specializes in Military Car Sales for Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar. Premium brands at reduced prices. Dave Gray, AMP Sales Manager said, “The biggest advantage is price. On average, savings are 10-15% below the U.S. MSRP.” A further advantage is you can build your own car and plan production based on applicable specifications and prices at the time.
Exchange New Car Sales (ENCS) is the only on-base, factory authorized distribution of American made vehicles. Here you will find Ford, Chrysler, Harley-Davidson and Buell. A unique aspect to the sales program is it was created by the military for the military. Since AAFES regulates ENCS, it looks out for the customer. Every car sold by ENCS must be discounted, even on the most popular models. This always has been, and continues to be the cornerstone of ENCS. When it comes to financing options, “Do your shopping first so you can apply for the amount of money you need and can afford. This will also enable you to secure the best interest rates and take advantage of any rebates,” said Steve Frisch, Exchange New Car Sales Senior Vice-President of Marketing.
If you are grappling with the idea of waiting until you return to the states to buy, you will lose out on many advantages. If you plan enough in advance, you can order exactly what you want. Plus, military rebates offered overseas are not available back in the states. “ENCS is truly designed for the person serving overseas,” Frisch said. You have the lowest price guarantee. Buying as early as possible allows you to build up additional discounts or an accumulated down payment plan. This way you can acquire a larger down payment over time. ENCS refers to this as the Dream Builder Advantage Program.
Buying from ENCS means you are protected with a world-wide warranty. For example, if you buy then receive orders to Korea, customer service will work with you to come up with the best possible solution; either ship your car or if you can’t take delivery, ENCS will refund or put money toward another purchase. If you purchase a car overseas and take the delivery option, when shipping you only pay the sales tax of it being a used vehicle. Sales tax on a used vehicle compared to a new vehicle is approximately 20-40% savings. That value will change the longer you own the car.
Frisch noted three essential questions to ask before you purchase a vehicle:
- How can you help me if I am assigned to another part of the world?
- What is the customer service warranty?
- Can you guarantee I receive the best deal, even 14 days after delivery?
The BMW and MINI Military Sales Programs are both official factory sponsored programs. All prices are set by BMW AG in U.S. dollars, removing the risk of daily currency fluctuations. Military Sales also offers tax-free and direct-factory pricing. You will automatically receive the lowest price possible. Gary Ashmore, Marketing Manager for the Pentagon Car Sales Group, said, “It allows the main focus of attention to remain on the car itself and not a lengthy negotiation on the price point.” Savings depend upon the model chosen and can vary between $3,150 on a 1 Series Coupe up to around $10,000 on a M5 Sedan. “The official prices published by BMW Military Sales are non-negotiable, ensuring that all military members pay the same. This feature is still one of the cornerstones of the BMW and MINI Military Sales Programs and is enjoyed by all our customers, especially our female customers who make up around 20% of our customer base,” Ashmore said.
If you are considering buying a new BMW or MINI close to returning to the States, it is advised to place your order at least six months out. The US Home Shipment Program is included on all BMW and MINI cars that are sold through Military Sales. Drop off points are situated throughout Europe and your car can be shipped to one of several designated US ports of entry located on both east and west coasts. Shipping time is around four to eight weeks, generally. Direct Stateside Delivery is offered to military members as a cost option on BMW models, which enables the car to be shipped directly to your closest BMW Service Point in the US.
For an unforgettable delivery experience, BMW Military Sales customers can pick up their car at BMW Welt in Munich. BMW Welt is the center of everything BMW and has quickly become one of the most popular tourist sites after recently opening. Experience the power and performance of Porsche at the Porsche Sport Driving Experience. Usually offered twice a year, the event is open to participants regardless if you are an owner of a Porsche. The program highlight is test driving various types of models around a circuit and an off-road course. If you want to upgrade to owner status, Cars International offers Tax Free Military Cars Sales programs for Porsche. The showroom is located in Stuttgart, Germany, only 100 yards from the main-gate at Patch Barracks. To qualify for the Porsche Tax Free Military Car Sales Program you must be stationed in Germany or TDY (for at least one day). Cars are built to U.S. specifications in Stuttgart, Leipzig or Finland, and also to accommodate individual specifications such as the color and interior. Shipping is an additional charge and Cars International can arrange for the service. Prices range from $45,000 – $192,000, with a military sales rebate of 3% on the car and options. The new Porsche Museum is now open in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, with around 80 vehicles on display. Open daily from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., except on Mondays. Visit the Web site: www.porsche.com/international/aboutporsche/porschemuseum.
Buying a car is a personal and emotional experience; also, one of the most expensive purchases you will make. Your unique status overseas affords you the chance to focus on exactly what you want and save money. “It is an informal, easy and pleasurable way to buy a car built to your personal specifications,” Gray said.
This article is provided courtesy of Stars and Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East. Stars and Stripes has one of the widest distribution ranges of any newspaper in the world. Between the Pacific and European editions, Stars and Stripes services over 50 countries where there are bases, posts, service members, ships, or embassies. Stars and Stripes Website