How to avoid high vehicle depreciation? 10 valuable tips against a rude awakening

"I bought the car three years ago for 19,000 Euros as a used car, since then my wife has only driven 5,000 km with it. Today it's not even worth 8,000 Euros. How is that possible?"

This article from May 2019 is intended to give us an overview of the car market in Germany and thus help us make the right decision when buying a car.

This article is in particular intended to help expatriates to use a vehicle for themselves or their spouse for 2 to 3 years and to use it for shopping, picking up children from school and making short excursions.

Fundamentally, our recommendation from COS is that it is better to buy a well-maintained used car than to lease a new car at comparatively high costs.

This gives you the opportunity to drive a better-equipped, more valuable vehicle, while saving money at the same time.

The pre-requisite, however, is that you achieve a good resale price.

How this is done is explained here in this article.


How do you compare new vehicles with the used car market?

Of the approximately 3.4 million newly registered vehicles in 2018, 2.2 million were registered commercially and 1.2 million privately.

In the used car sector, around 8.66 million vehicles changed hands, of which around 7 million were registered privately. 50% of used vehicles are sold through brand dealers. By far the largest shares of these were vehicles up to 2 years old.

Germans spent an average of €30,000 on a new car. In the used car sector it was €15,500 in the brand trade, and in the free and general used car trade, vehicles are traded at an average of €8,900.

This information provides the first two findings:

1. finding: a used car is normal for the German motorist. Only very few people buy a car privately as a new car.

2. finding: a used car should be priced between 9.000€ and 15.000€ in order to achieve the lowest possible loss of value.


How many vehicles of the general used car trade are sold commercially or privately?

There are no fixed figures for this, as there are strong fluctuations, which are determined by the season and the economic situation. However, it can be seen that the number of privately sold vehicles has fallen very sharply in recent years.

This can be confirmed by an evaluation in various internet portals. The inquiry in December 2018 of a 1 year old used VW Golf resulted in a total of 15,973 advertisements. Just 119 of these were marked as "from private". A shift occurs when searching for older vehicles, in this example a 7 year old Golf. Here 861 of 4086 ads were marked as "private".

3. finding: especially the brand trade sells no, or only very few vehicles older than 2 years. Likewise one can hope for a real bargain to get a young used car from a private seller


Which engines are the most popular on the German vehicle market?

Half of all newly registered vehicles in Germany come from the 1.5-2 liter displacement class. 1.4 million Vehicles were ordered from the 1.2-1.4 liter capacity class below. Only 1.5% of all newly registered vehicles have a larger displacement of more than 3 liters.

The assertion that "cubic capacity can only be replaced by even more cubic capacity" has been refuted not only technically but now also statistically: In 2017, new cars with an average of 148 hp were purchased, so that the development of "downsizing" engines with a simultaneous increase in performance has finally taken hold.

The "petrol engine" (gasoline) still accounts for the largest share of combustion engines. Around 2/3 of all new cars were equipped with them. The diesel engine accounts for the remaining third.

Due to the heated discussions in recent months, it can be assumed that the share of diesel engines in passenger cars will decline sharply. According to Auto-Motor-Sport Stuttgart Magazine (November 2018), the share of hybrid drives has risen to as much as 4.3% (plug-in +114%, full hybrid +76% compared to the previous year). The share of vehicles with purely electric drive is 1.6%. This is an increase of almost 120% over the previous year. Only 0.2% of newly registered vehicles run on natural (CNG) or liquid (LPG) gas. Most gas vehicles are therefore converted during the course of use.  

4. finding: according to today´s experience, COS recommends a fuel-saving gasoline engine in combination with electric-drive. So currently we fully recommend Hybrids or plug-in hybrids. The future will be pure electric-drive vehicles.


Which special equipment should be chosen as a minimum?

To make it easier to understand, we carry out a sequence in the amount of the surcharge for the additional equipment.

While in America, vehicles with manual transmission are exotic and even require a separate driver's license, in Germany, according to the industry association "Deutsche Automobil Treuhand" (DAT), only every fourth car is equipped with automatic transmission. In the past, automatic transmissions were reserved for luxury class vehicles, or had to be ordered as optional equipment for very high surcharges. Today there is a trend reversal towards automatic transmissions or automated transmissions. And this trend reversal is additionally supported by electromobility (no manual transmission): "Cars with manual transmissions will be a niche product in a few decades" (ADAC- Landsberg Technology center).

Most airbags (front and side airbags) are now required by law. Optional, without legal requirement, are knee/floor/window airbags. Each additional airbag brings more safety. The situation is similar with safety systems such as Distronic, Active Brake Assist, lane change assistant.

If a security system is explained to customers correctly and the price for the additional equipment is reasonable, then most car buyers choose this option.

Although everyone is aware that the smartphone provides better navigation, customers in Germany are very keen on an integrated (i.e. tidy) solution. German customers prefer the most powerful navigation system with the largest display. The consequence of this is that used vehicles without an integrated navigation system have a very strong loss of value. This statement is substantiated, for example, by the following: despite the character of the original off-road vehicle, two thirds of the new Mercedes-Benz G-Class is nowadays ordered with an optional dual display instead of classic pointer instruments.

Vehicles without air conditioning are virtually unsaleable. Nowadays, no one can do without this comfort and safety equipment.

Customers also value the added safety provided by xenon/LED headlights or even laser light, thus following the recommendation of the ADAC. Anyone who has experienced the difference between normal halogen headlamps and modern headlamps is aware of this. Xenon/LED headlamps offer approximately twice the range of a conventional halogen headlamp. However, not only the range but also the light output is much better. Because possible dangers are recognized earlier and better, you feel much safer and you drive much more relaxed.

Leather seats add enormous value to the vehicle. The wear resistance of leather is strong, it is easy to clean, it feels very good and looks great. Also for hygienic reasons a vehicle with leather seats is much more attractive than a vehicle with fabric upholstery. However, leather requires extensive care at least twice a year, otherwise wrinkles or even cracks will appear. A seat heating with leather upholstery is obligatory; otherwise the car is not for sale.

An insider tip with which a high attractiveness and thus a very good sales price can be achieved with a comparatively low surcharge is a trailer hitch. Even if most people use them only rarely, they are still very interested in flexibility.

5. finding: a vehicle is to be attractive for resale, it should be equipped with automatic transmission, extensive safety equipment, air conditioning, a permanently installed navigation system and, if possible, leather seats.


Does energy efficiency play a role in the purchase decision?

An evaluation by the Federal Statistical Office from 2017 shows that energy efficiency is also a key factor in the decision to buy a vehicle. The current best class A+ achieved 11.4 percent of new cars. Classes A and B accounted for 23.6 percent and 37.0 percent respectively. Average CO2 emissions rose slightly by 0.5 g/km to 127.9 g/km (+0.4 percent) compared to the previous year.

Due to the current heated discussions regarding particulate matter and nitrogen emissions and the resulting driving bans, the ADAC Ecotest classification will certainly be of great relevance in the future.

For many models, the ADAC has compared the emission measurement data from the test bench with the emissions emitted during actual driving.

Here Nissan NP300 Navara, Isuzu D-max, KIA Sorento and Ssang-Yong Rexton and the Korando land in the last places. Such models will therefore have an enormous loss in value.

The hypride models Hyundai IONIQ, BMWi3, VW e-Golf, VW -up! and the SMART EQ, on the other hand, are on the first places.

6. finding: taking a look at the database of the ADAC "Eco-Test" does not hurt and helps to avoid wrong decisions.


Which car models are bought most by Germans?

The largest segment of newly registered passenger cars in Germany is the compact class with a share of just over 23%. Sometimes this vehicle category is also understood as the lower middle class or even because this car represents this class: the golf class. The following cars belong to the compact class: Golf, Focus, Civic, 1-series, A-class, Mazda3, Prius, Auris, Oktavia etc.

The SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) segment has grown very strongly, so that it is now the second largest segment with 15.2 %. Typical SUVs are the Cayenne, M-Class, Q7, X 5 etc.

This segment is followed by the small cars (Polo, Up, IQ...) with 14.5 P% and the middle class (C-class, 3-series, A4, Passat, etc.) with 11.9%.

At just under 31%, the remaining vehicle classes are grouped together, which include convertibles, luxury vehicles, pick-ups, large-capacity limousines, mobile homes, sports cars, etc. As these vehicles are more likely to be classified as exotic, an individual analysis is necessary in order to be able to make recommendations.

7. finding: if 80% of your requirements can be covered, COS recommends:  buy a car of compact-class. You will have a good re-sell price. s


Which brands are attractive?

As can be seen from the registration statistics of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority, German brands are at the top of the local market. Despite the "diesel gate", the top dog Volkswagen could not be displaced from its top position and is clearly in first place with a market share of 18.4%. In second place is Mercedes-Benz with just under 320,000 units sold, which means that in 2018 it could "only" sell half of Volkswagen's units.

The BMW and Audi brands often swap places three and four. At Audi, there has recently been a sharp drop in sales due to the handling of the stricter exhaust gas test cycle WLTP. The Ford and Opel brands remain in fifth and sixth place, which are comparatively popular, especially in northern and eastern Germany.

With regard to imported brands, it is worth noting that in 2018 Tesla's electric vehicles will record a huge increase of almost 75%. However, according to the Handelsblatt, the market share is negligible at just under 2000 units. Now that Tesla's production capacities have been greatly increased in the meantime, sales in 2019 will certainly rise. Germans love Skoda vehicles (5.6%) because they are equipped with technically mature VW parts, but are produced cost-effectively in the Czech Republic.  Renault is in second place (3.9%) in the portfolio due to the low-cost small cars. The Korean manufacturer Hyundai (3.1%) is still in third place together with Seat due to its clever pricing policy and very good warranty services.  Seat (3.1%) also belongs to the VW group and offers the same advantages as Skoda. Due to the higher production costs and the positioning of rather sporty vehicles, these are slightly higher than Skoda in terms of price, especially in accessories.

The prerequisite for achieving a good resale price is to buy a vehicle that is attractive and sought-after on the German market, rather than opting for a vehicle that may seem cheap but is in fact a slow seller.

Type Units 2018
VW Golf 211.517
VW Tiguan 74.749
VW Polo 70.488
VW Passat 70.007
MB C Klasse 62.784
Skoda Octavia 58.444
Audi A4 53.340
MB E-Klasse 51.175
Mini 50.494
Ford Focus 49.278
Opel Corsa 47.848
Ford Fiesta 47.222
Opel Astra 45.932
Audi A3 45.901
Skoda Fabia 44.900
BMW 1er 44.193
Seat Leon 43.045
VW Touran 42.623
BMW 5er 42.356
Ford Kuga 42.276
MB GLC 40.438
VW Transporter 39.433
BMW 2er 38.189
Audi A6 37.170
VW Up 35.401
VW T-Roc 35.229
MB A-Klasse 35.252
BMW 3er 34.514
Fiat 500 31.589
BMW X1 31.521
VW Caddy 30.896
Smart Fortwo 27.405
Dacia Sandero 25.109
MB B-Klasse 24.846
Opel Insignia 24.755
Hyundai Tucson 24.055
Toyota Yaris 23.914
Renault Captur 23.834
Renault Clio 23.575
Opel Mokka 22.790
Dacia Duster 22.664
Hyundai i20 22.559
Opel Adam 22.297
Opel Crossland X 22.217
Nissan Qashqai 22.143
Seat Arona 22.053
Huyundai i30 22.044
Citroen C3 21.844
Ford Ecosport 21.664
Skoda Karoq 21.054 

8. finding: limit the choice of a vehicle from the best car manufacturers and select attractive models that have high sales figures.


Which car colours are attractive in Germany?

The exterior color is elementary for many car customers, so this question is dealt with here in particular.

In the 80s, red and green were the dominant colors for passenger cars. Every fourth vehicle was delivered in these colors. White, was very "in" at that time, and was in third place together with blue. Black, on the other hand, was the rarest only 31500 vehicles of a total of 2.4 million newly registered vehicles were black.

It is surprising how a different picture emerged on German roads within 10 years: red (720,000 units) and especially green (600,000 units) still led the statistics at the beginning, but black and grey gained strongly in attractiveness. Certainly the design of the vehicles, in which aerodynamics were prioritized, also had an influence on this development. In the middle of the 90s, black and grey came to the top of the statistics. More than half of the 3.3 million newly registered vehicles were delivered in black or grey. White did not play a role at all. "On white you can see every little spot of dirt, you have to wash your car all the time", were the voices. It was even frowned upon to drive a white car, people felt it was "tasteless", the cars would look like "just primed and then forgotten to paint". Accordingly, white cars were virtually unsaleable and often had a value disadvantage of -20%!

The attractiveness of dark vehicles continues to this day. Dark colors still stand for elegance. One third of each vehicle is black or grey. Since 2010, white has become modern again in Germany, especially for luxury vehicles. So that in 2017 about one sixth of the 3.3 million new vehicles were delivered in white. In contrast, the delivery of red or blue vehicles, with 320,000 and 220, 00 units respectively, has fallen sharply. Green vehicles, with just 39,000 units, have almost become exotic.

9. finding: exterior colors are the most important purchasing decision for many people. So it has to be chosen so that most people like it: black, grey, white.


Which vehicles would be better avoided in order to avoid any bad surprises through technical errors?

The Federal Statistical Office has published the statistics for 2017. They show that 28.1 million vehicles were examined, 34% of which were objected to.

The most common defects are the lighting systems and electrics/electronics. These do not include defective light bulbs, which can even be replaced directly at some test centers, but damage that requires extensive repair (e.g. replacement of wiring harness, control unit, etc.).

In second place are defects in the brake system. Followed by defects in the axle, suspension and wheels. Particularly with older vehicles, oil loss and damage to the edges mean that the vehicle does not pass the main inspection and sometimes becomes an economic total loss. Of all vehicles inspected in 2017, 15.3 million were over 9 years old.

This information confirms the, for most people, surprising evaluation of the Federal Motor Transport Authority: all passenger cars registered in Germany are on average 10 years old!

There are car manufacturers who produce very beautiful and cheap cars. A technical consideration regarding driving behavior, safety and durability and the related effect on the loss of value, leads to the fact that we do not recommend these vehicles. Some of these manufacturers have specialised in "emotionalizing" groups of people who are unable to judge which technical characteristics. For example, women's hearts beat faster with large headlights. Also every second SUV is driven by women in the meantime, because they feel "protected" in it. Men, on the other hand, find it hard to resist racy or sporty designs and thus make purchasing decisions that cannot be justified objectively.

10. finding: if you are not an absolute car fan, we recommend refraining from emotional buying and limiting yourself to models from proven German and Japanese manufacturers. 





COS patent a anti theft car wheel fixation 

Nightmare of every car maniac....

Modern houses often do not have fenced parking lots anymore. Sometimes the storage rooms are very small and are not close by the garage.
That’s the reason why, people have a storage problem. 
Especially car maniacs having tire sets (Summer-tires/Winter-tires) with value of several thousand Euro, fear that someone stealing them away. 
So there’s no option storing them next to the car in the garage. Therefore many people bring their tires to a commercial storage and pay about 70-100€ fee for one season, to keep them there. 
That’s a lot of effort, because you need to align an appointment with the commercial storage or the car dealer, you need to transport the tires and you pay a lot of money.
Car maniacs don’t like to have their expensive tire sets outside of their home.
And what a nightmare: getting the tire sets back after the season how big is the surprise, if you found scratches on your rims. To evidence scratches have been caused by the commercial storage is nearly impossible.
So what to do now?
You need something to store your tires set, that they are protected against theft. Moreover it should be way, they are protected against environmental damage and are stored safely.
You search for a solution in the internet.
And you find:
There are offers: there are tyre trees, shelfes, hooks, etc. 
But a practicable solution against theft and a good storage do not find.
So the only solution is, to protect your tires with the help of a chain and a lock. But: what happens if someone just the chain and steal the tires away?
—> no insurance will pay for the damage!
COS Stuttgart anti-theft wheel fixation (German Patent Radhalterung bzw. Felgenbefestigung gegen Diebstahl von KFZ Rädern).
Based on the flange of a car axle, a fixation had been designed. With that you can fix your tires on the wall in your garage direct next to your car in a safe way. 
Since the whole design is made against theft, you don’t need to be frightened someone stealing your tire set. 
Of course every anti-theft measurement can be broken.
But the more time and effort is necessary, the lower the risk someone tries to steal. Moreover: there are special tools necessary like a drilling machine or a automatic saw, which are very loud and destroy the fixation. So if someone wants to steal the tires from the wall fixation, he/she needs to prepare the theft very well.  And there´s chance that someone gets in alert, because of the noise caused by the tools.
However: since there are marks, there is clear evidence for theft and insurance  (of course dependent on the terms and conditions of the insurance) you got the costs for your tire set and the tire fixation back from your insurance.
Following advantages you gain:
  • comfortable and space-saving fixation of your seasonal tire set set
  • directly next to your car, no effort for transportation
  • tire doesn’t get any side forces, since it is not on the floor
  • dry storage, no fluids or contamination impacting the tires
  • fixation is done with help of positions on the right place and screw connections: exactly the same as it is done at your car
  • scratches on side of the rim, won’t happen, because nothing comes in contact with it
  • you can keep your full space of the parking lot
  • very professional look, you can always enjoy your beautiful rims mounted on wall
  • made of big aluminum block, best quality, designed in Germany, made in Germany 
But mostly this device’s merit is against theft:
  • theft without destroying the device is impossible
  • you need special tools (saw, drilling machine, screw extractor) to steal away from the wheel holder, therefore a petty theft is not possible
  • in case someone really does the effort to steal away, there will be marks. Therefore you can claim the theft against your insurance
  • legal position is nearly the same as the tires would be mounted on car


 Anti-Theft-Wheel-Fixation (German: Radhalterung Anti-Diebstahl) can be purchased at Rakuten, Amazon, or directly here. Contact us via Email.



 This article from 2019 sums up the legal situation related to buying a car and the possible risks. The information found in this article is based on experiences of "COS Stuttgart", as well as official sources. Key points to know:

 - Being a car dealer in Europe, you do not need any qualification, certificate of proficiency or any license test (IHK Frankfurt)

- Every year 8.66 million used cars are sold in Germany, 50% of them are sold by authorized dealers (Federal Statistical Office Germany )

- 33% of all used cars sold in Germany have manipulated mileage (German Police statistics and ADAC)

- The used car market has the highest rate of manipulation and misconduct (Stern Magazine)

- In average the German cars are 9.4 years old (Federal Statistical Office Germany)

- In 2018 ADAC had about 4 million breakdowns (ADAC)

- Even authorized repair shops do not perform car inspections correctly or they “forget” important points to check (Auto Motor Sport, Auto Bild, own experience by COS Meisterwerkstatt doing inspections of customer vehicles after it was at authorized repair shop)

- 2.5 million car accidents are reported each year (Federal Statistical Office Germany)

- Many vehicles are offered as accident-free, even though they have been involved in an accident (experience of COS advising a Japanese buyer of a vehicle purchase from a car dealer)

- Vehicles are sold at high prices by dealers, claiming to offer a mandatory warranty (experience of COS in assisting the purchase of a car of a Japanese customer)

-Rental cars (please never buy a rental car!!!) are defined as "company cars" to hide the real story behind it  (experience of COS in supporting of vehicle purchase for a Japanese customer at VW Stuttgart)

-for a normal private person, it’s impossible to uncover cheaters (experience of COS customers, before they came to us)

 -in Germany the purchase at a dealership leads automatically to a warranty obligation, that is German law. However to enforce this in practice is very difficult (HGB, BGB, experience of COS in assisting the purchase of a Japanese customer's vehicle purchase) 

 - a guarantee (in Germany that’s a kind of insurance with open/individual terms and conditions) is not to be misunderstood with a warranty obligation (terms of guarantee, German law BGB)

  -the purchase of a used car is a matter of trust. In fact you will have a lot of trouble and costs, if you do business with the wrong people (Experiences of customers, before they knew COS)




"We saw a wonderful low-cost, low-mileage Mercedes-Benz E-Class at a car dealer, which would be the perfect vehicle for me, my wife, and our two children during his expatriate work in Stuttgart. The dealer assured us several times the car is be accident-free”, said our Japanese customer to COS Stuttgart, as he wanted to buy this car in a hurry.

He requested COS Stuttgart to check the car technically, to negotiate the price, to contract the necessary car insurance and to register the car.

We accepted the task and, together with our customer, visited the car dealership

Based on our experience, we immediately recognized the following: The vehicle had obviously had a strong frontal damage in the past and the entire front had been replaced. Someone who is not a car specialist, would likely miss it. We enquired the dealer in the presence of our customer: "are you really telling us, this vehicle is accident-free?" He stammered, yes there was something....But he repaired the damage with his brother...over there in the garage..."

Obviously, we did not buy the vehicle from this cheater! Instead we won the unquestionable confidence by our customer who followed our advice: to buy a vehicle, offered by a private seller. This car was owned by a senior executive and it was only owned by him. The vehicle had a perfect service history and is in perfect technical condition, therefore: safe. No problems to be expected.

Car dealers have a bad reputation. Not only in Germany. Based on the fact that you do not need any education or reliability check. Many of our Japanese customers previously had bad experiences with car dealers in Germany and therefore contacted COS Stuttgart

Because COS stands for trust, professionalism and reliability. 

But not everyone realized at first that they had been cheated on their purchase. For example, a rental car was declared to a Japanese expatriate as a "company car", when he bought it from authorized dealer. As he wants to travel back to Japan and re-sell the car, he could not find a potential buyer, buying a former rental car is not a good investment.

In this extensive article, we want to inform about the German laws, the background and really want to warn people buying “carefree”.

We will give you recommendations on what you should do and look for.


Who is a car dealer according to German law?

To work as car dealer or to run a business as car dealer, you do not need any specific education nor any licensing requirements.

As a matter of fact there is:

-no check whether the person has any technical knowledge and / or capacity to evaluate the vehicles

-no background checks

Actually Germany is very strict, that people are highly educated to run a business (e.g. you must be Meister to run a handicraft business;  §1 and § 7 Handwerksordnung) or you must provide a certificate of good conduct for running business where reliability is needed (reliability check § 34C Gewerbeordnung).

But, running a car dealership is an exception. As a result: everybody can open shop, also the ones who are dangerous and cheat. Sorry to say the truth.


Who is not a car dealer? 

Of course, people can sell their car in a private way. 

In this case, only the civil laws BGB (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, German Civil Code) applies, and not the commercial laws.
There are completely other rules and laws, in private sector.

The differences are explained in the next passages.


What are the differences between private and commercial car sell?

According to German law, the contract between a private seller and a consumer in comparison to a contract between professional commercial car selling company and consumer (B2C) is totally different.

In case of a private seller BGB is valid, in case of commercial HGB (Handelsgesetzbuch, German commercial code)

If you buy a car at a commercial professional company, buyer (private person) has specific rights, while the selling company must satisfy specific obligations.

Basically, the private person shall be protected against companies, so there are many rights on customers side, while commercial seller has many obligations against the civil person.


What is the legal position if someone buys from private seller?

To buy from private seller regulatory frameworks is like: sale as seen.

Private seller does not need to provide any guarantee or obligation. Seller also does not need to point out damages.

Normally one paragraph in the selling contract of private car sale is: exclusion of all warranties for defects.

As a result of that, the entire risk is completely on buyer’s side. No chance for repairs, reductions of the price after closing the contract or to cancel the contract.

Only if the buyer can evidence, there was really a hard fraud, he can claim in front of court of justice according to the 2. Buch or the 3. Buch of BGB. To evidence is difficult, court procedure lasts several years. So in fact you have not much chances.



In comparison, what’s the legal position if someone buys car from commercial professional seller?
In this case the Paragraphs of HGB are valid.

First of all we want to rectify a misunderstanding, because many civil people think they have a right to return contract goods.

According to German law HGB, if you buy anything (like a car), you cannot give it back after e.g. 14 days, if you don’t like it. That’s only a voluntary option some companies (e.g. Amazon or other mail order firms) provide. But that’s a part of voluntary special terms and conditions a company can determine by themselves. However, you cannot claim for that in front of court of justice.

But, if you buy something from a commercial seller, you have right for rectification of defects: if there are defects, which have been before the takeover, the commercial seller is obligated to repair them, on his costs.

That’s the fundamental difference between the cases buying from private and buying from a commercial company.

If a defect has been before the takeover, commercial company has two trails to repair the defects. If these two trails are without success, buyer has right for reduction of the selling price.

In very certain cases, buyer has even right to cancel to purchase.

But if this happens you made business, with the wrong people and you lost your nerves.

Contractor’s obligation to remedy a defect, makes buyers feel more comfortable to purchase something from commercial sellers. Because commercial sellers must provide a defects liability period.


What is defect liability period (Gewährleistungspflicht)?

Also, here we want to rectify a misunderstanding: in Germany a defect liability period (Gewährleistungspflicht) is not a warranty (Garantie) in legal sense.

In Germany contractor’s obligation to remedy a defect starts with the handover and ends after 12 months. 

Within the first 6 months, the burden of prove is on commercial sellers’ side. On last 6 months it is on buyer’s side.

Is it possible to enforce contractor’s obligation?

If you do business with a reliable company, they will remedy a defect without discussions.

If the company rejects the claim, you need to collect evidence. Here we recommend consulting an expert from ADAC, Dekra or German TÜV. After that you need a lawyer, helping you in this case. If the lawyer has no success, you need to go in front of court of justice.

But this is a procedure which needs several months or even years. You will burn yourself out. 

Therefore, we, from COS give you this recommendation: instead of a “bargain buy”, but rather make sure of doing business with the right people. Otherwise, you might pay a higher price (lawyer fees, repairs, etc.) and this might negatively impact your quality of life.


Based on obligation to remedy to a defect, can you expect a perfect vehicle?

The bottom line is that every defect must be described in the purchase contract. 

However, you cannot expect a perfect car in general, it is a case by case evaluation, depending on many points (type, age, price, condition, numbers of owners).

So, for dealers it’s a risk to sell a car to someone, who knows the field well, like a mechanical specialist or an engineer.

Example: COS Services helped an Expatriate to buy a car. He wanted to have a Ford Focus he saw at authorized Ford Dealer in Ludwigsburg and asked us to check and negotiate it. After detection of various damages of the car by COS (safety relevant joint of the side shaft), the dealer suddenly stated: “the vehicle is no longer available for sale. Another customer already bought it“ (so we helped our customer not being cheated) 


What kinds of faults can be complained against commercial car dealer?

We described above; nobody can provide a general statement. Every issue is case by case. But we provide here some examples, in which a judgement was rendered:

  • If you found out there was a parking dent (e.g. by measuring the paint layer), which was repaired, there is no impact for a price reduction or a change of the part
  • If you buy a car in autumn and during winter you realize the rear window defrost doesn’t work properly, you can claim this defect at a commercial car dealer and ask him for repair
  • If you found out, there are chipped wood shavings in the oil of the gearbox (e.g. dealer tries to hide a gear wheel defect) or you found out the mileage is manipulated: those issues a are a case of cheating. In those cases, you are entitled to reduce the price afterwards or even to do redhibitory actions: cancel the contract, give the car back to the dealer and ask for compensation

Mileage manipulation, how often is that?

Of course, these numbers can just be estimated. However, ADAC and German police estimate that every third sold used car in Germany has manipulated mileage!

It’s because the mileage (amongst the condition) impacting the price strongest. Based on the fact that 9 million used cars are sold in Germany, it's obvious there is an extremely high number of cars having manipulated tachometers.

In past it was necessary to open the instrument cluster. So, you could recognize if someone left one’s mark. 

Today it’s easiest to manipulate with diagnosis. So, you just need to connect a computer and you can change whatever numbers.




What’s COS’ recommendations?

You should be aware, that some used cars are sold as company car, whereas they truly are former rental cars. You should be aware, that the most cars are sold as accident free. The fact of so many crashes per year, shows about a third of all cars actually had a crash. You should be aware it’s easiest to manipulate the mileage. There are specialists even manipulating the documents and databases.

Not everyone is a cheater!

But it is necessary to be critical. Don’t close your eyes, be brave and challenge the seller.


Rule number 1: only do business with reliable people.

Car must be safe and reliable. Buying a car from private seller Is ok, if you oversee the whole story and situation. An absolute must for that is having an expert with you.


Rule number 2: only if all evidences are shown, you will get a true picture.

Having right for rectification of a defect can reduce the risk for very cost intensive repairs. However, this right does not protect you against plodding nerve-stretching disputes. 


Rule number 3: take the better car, instead of focusing the price

Taking the potential repair costs into account, in most cases the car with higher price is more economic, compared to the cheaper one. Please do your decision based on facts, not based on emotions.


Rule number 4: Only written words in contract count. Not the words of a well-spoken-salesman

Car salesmen are well grounded and experienced. They know how to convince; they know which buzzword are to be said. They try to build up a relationship to make a customer trust them. However: only the written word counts.




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Based on experience from COS and official statistical data „Mietspiegel“ of 2018, the Stuttgart house and flat situation is like:

-Concerning real estate costs, there is a big gap between reality and expectation by non-local people (they expect high rates for big famous cities, but not for a globally unknown town, however in case of Stuttgart the opposite is true)

-comparable to Silicon Valley, since last century, Stuttgart attracts the most innovative companies and talented people, resulting in enormous real estate costs and the highest yearly increases of rent prices in whole Europe

-the costs published in newspapers differ from reality. Reason is the German law “Mietpreisbremse”, which is a political measurement to limit this dramatic cost explosion. However the numbers written in contract differ from published information. So there’s a difference between “official price” and “real price”

-about 50.000 flats are missing in metropolitan area Stuttgart, leading to a bull market resulting in petrified applicants

-for buying a new flat, costs between 6.100€/m2 (normal) up to 15.000€/m2 (luxury) are to be expected

-rents in buildings later October 2014 (exception “Mietpreisbremse”) are between 17€/m2 and 20€/m2, plus additional 2-3€/m2 for variable cost

-there’s an extreme competition on market for applicants. About 200 people apply for an attractive flat per week. So the chance to get one, is very low. Depending on costs it could last very long, especially if you haven’t got private connections to get a flat. In average you need between 6 and 9 months to success.

-by increasing the distance to Stuttgart to regions like e.g. Aichtal, Waldenbuch, Remstal,  Strohgäu, Neckarteilfingen, etc. costs can be decreased

-However the infrastructure for public transit is very bad outside of Stuttgart. Therefore people go by car to daily work. Consequence is that there are every day crazy traffic jams

-this aspects are the reasons, why Stuttgart is the city with most traffic jams in Germany.


COS Services Stuttgart is your relocation and real estate specialist having deepest local knowledge and experiences for decades. As local “Swabian” we can realize results, other relocation and real estate services can’t do.