One of the first things you’ll want to think about if you’re planning a move to Lanzarote is transport. Whilst you can get a good deal on long term car hire, it is effectively throwing money away to keep on hiring. So let’s have a look at what the options are for purchase:
New Versus Used
We have a strange anomaly here in that used cars are quite expensive, whereas new cars are quite cheap, due to our low VAT or IGIC. It means that, if possible, it pays to buy new if you can afford to, as the car will retain a lot of it’s value.
New Car Dealers
Most of the mainstream makes are represented on the island, including Opel (Vauxhall in UK), Ford, Mercedes, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Mazda, Toyota, Renault and Nissan. All the showrooms bar one are in Arrecife, the exception being Opel who are based in Playa Honda. Most dealers here don’t run demonstrators, so road tests are quite hard to arrange. You are better off choosing a car that the dealer has in stock either here on in Las Palmas, as factory ordered vehicles can take a long, long time to reach Lanzarote.
Used Car Dealers
There are several of these, in Arrecife, Playa Honda and San Bartolomé. Many offer ex hire cars, which can be a good buy if you’re simply looking for a runaround hatch back. With the exception of the three British owned used car dealers, the stock isn’t prepared very well for sale. You’ll often find cars on sale with dents and scrapes and that haven’t been cleaned properly. This may not be a bad thing though, as at least you’re seeing the car for what it is! Warranties vary considerably, so check what’s on offer. Some give a truly comprehensive one year warranty, others simple parts cover for a few months. Almost without exception, used dealer’s prices include the cost of transferring the car to your name.
You’ll find cars for sale advertised in both the English language and the Spanish language magazines and newspapers. As always when buying privately, proceed with caution, there is very little come back of you end up with a lemon. Also remember to agree who is going to pay the transfer costs. This will be just over 4% of the purchase price of the vehicle, so can be substantial.
Most dealers and all the banks offer finance schemes, but you will need to prove your earnings. Schemes of up to five years are available. Some banks also offer a leasing scheme for business users, and UK Autos offer their own “rent to buy" scheme, where you rent a car for three years and it becomes yours at the end of the period, with them looking after the maintenance during the rental period.
What Car Should I Buy?
Although there are more and more exotic cars on the Lanzarote roads, practicality is still more important than style, and cars are simply not treated with the importance here as they are in some countries. Most people go for something practical. Remember to allow for collecting friends and family from the airport, so boot space is important, and remember there are still many dirt tracks on the island, so ground clearance is useful. We don’t have that many convertibles here, as they’re too hot in summer! Air conditioning is almost essential.