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  #21  
Old 22.09.2014, 00:09
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Thank you and everyone else for their time in posting and insights.

My plan is to buy the car in about 3-6 months. I am just starting the preliminary stage for searching, information gathering, and getting a feel for the market.

I know what I need to look for now and in the future, but it will be hard not to reminisce.

The cars I liked are a generation ago and further down the past. The cars since the new millennium are increasing reliant on electronics and computer diagnostics. It has been good for car dealerships with specialized equipment, but hard for general mechanics to keep a diversified business and today's cars really aren't suitable for the "do-it-yourself-er".

I am going to miss the "you pick it, you pull it" junkyards, but I've noticed they have been fading out for sometime. That generation seems to be dying out with but will probably never go extinct for a market of select car enthusiasts.

For me, it wasn't about saving the money. It was more of a hobby, scavenger hunting, and the thrill going through the junkyard and finding all kinds of interesting odds and ends. It usually turned into an outing and an experience every time.

You may notice the average Swiss vehicle is not a fix-it-upper. They have strict regulations about registration requirements, after the car is a certain age. Actually, it does seem to make the whole driving experience safer....


I haven't seen the old metal coat hanger holding up a tailpipe and/or muffler here in Switzerland. Is that what you meant by making the "whole driving experience safer. . .

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Old 22.09.2014, 00:26
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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For me, it wasn't about saving the money. It was more of a hobby, scavenger hunting, and the thrill going through the junkyard and finding all kinds of interesting odds and ends. It usually turned into an outing and an experience every time.
To hijack that subject for a moment - what will the Swiss recycling / junk depots say if you knock on the door and ask if you can rummage a bit? I've been entertaining similar thoughts and eyeing a particular junkyard down near... um... well, down south/southwest from Basel, drive past it every single time we head for the Alps. Has anyone tried, or is it Just Not Done?
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Old 22.09.2014, 00:30
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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You may notice the average Swiss vehicle is not a fix-it-upper.
However, I, and others, have certainly purchased wrecks in CH and brought them back to life, so it is easily possible here.

Tom
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Old 22.09.2014, 00:33
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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To hijack that subject for a moment - what will the Swiss recycling / junk depots say if you knock on the door and ask if you can rummage a bit? I've been entertaining similar thoughts and eyeing a particular junkyard down near... um... well, down south/southwest from Basel, drive past it every single time we head for the Alps. Has anyone tried, or is it Just Not Done?
You'll probably be given some drivel about liability insurance. I've been to a few junk yards, and they all seemed to be organised around selling parts off the shelf (ie which they have already stripped off old vehicles).
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Old 22.09.2014, 09:10
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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You'll probably be given some drivel about liability insurance. I've been to a few junk yards, and they all seemed to be organised around selling parts off the shelf (ie which they have already stripped off old vehicles).
It is the model all junkyards are moving to. Buyers want to check for a part online - then either go and collect - or have it delivered. It is more cost effective for the yards and less time consuming for the customer. It also ensures that the yard gets best value from the car before it is crushed and the metal recycled. They can hold more stock in a smaller area.
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Old 22.09.2014, 09:13
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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The cars I liked are a generation ago and further down the past. The cars since the new millennium are increasing reliant on electronics and computer diagnostics. It has been good for car dealerships with specialized equipment, but hard for general mechanics to keep a diversified business and today's cars really aren't suitable for the "do-it-yourself-er".
http://www.autoscout24.ch/de/d/merce...4134&vehtyp=10
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Old 22.09.2014, 10:39
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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It is the model all junkyards are moving to. Buyers want to check for a part online - then either go and collect - or have it delivered. It is more cost effective for the yards and less time consuming for the customer. It also ensures that the yard gets best value from the car before it is crushed and the metal recycled. They can hold more stock in a smaller area.
Yes, even in the UK people are going this way, but I think it's a shame. I used to enjoy scrambling through teetering towers of Toyotas looking for any old bits which might come in handy. I also learned a lot about which parts of which cars are most likely to fail etc.

I also don't believe it's an efficient recycling model - it takes time and space to dismantle, catalogue and store a range of parts, when some of which will never be sold. And there are a lot of parts which people would buy, but which are too fiddly or cheap for the dismantlers to bother with.
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Old 22.09.2014, 10:45
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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Other rebadged american cars like Opel insigna (buick regal)
I think you will find that it is the other way around!
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Old 22.09.2014, 13:19
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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I think you will find that it is the other way around!
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Old 22.09.2014, 14:23
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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To hijack that subject for a moment - what will the Swiss recycling / junk depots say if you knock on the door and ask if you can rummage a bit? I've been entertaining similar thoughts and eyeing a particular junkyard down near... um... well, down south/southwest from Basel, drive past it every single time we head for the Alps. Has anyone tried, or is it Just Not Done?
Yea have done it and they said just take out what I wanted and bring up front, took some tools and found a few things I was looking for. My son was with and even asked for a part he found to sit on his shelf, they took him it was free.
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Old 22.09.2014, 14:30
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

www.car4you.ch
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  #32  
Old 03.10.2014, 00:37
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

Hi Joe, my name is Sicheng, I'm from Singapore but lived in CA for 4 years. Had a Subaru Outback there and loved it. My wife and I moved here a few months ago and bought a mid 2009 VW Golf 1.4 tsi DSG with 55k km for 14.9k CHF. My quick advice:

1) No KBB here. But dealers are actually generally honest (I think most of them are salaried) and there is no haggling at all. If you don't like the price just walk away and they won't haggle it down. Strange, but makes car buying easier. In fact when I moved here I was advised by the company that helped me settle in here to always buy from a dealer because they tend to be more honest than individual sellers. O_O Based on our limited experience with dealers, this could well be true. All but one dealer we went to were very friendly, patient, non-pushy. Best car buying experience I've ever had. Also, make sure you set up an appointment. Much harder to just random walk onto a car lot like you would in the US.
2) What the no-haggling culture means is that you can actually take advertised prices as an approximate indicator of what the price should be. What we did in lieu of the lack of KBB is to scour autoscout24.ch (very good site but you may need to use Google Translate) for cars near us that matched our criteria, and whenever we found one we were interested in we did another search for that specific model and see what the prices were like with different features/kms on it, and just judged whether the price of that car looked reasonable based on that.
3) If you are interested in a manual transmission car, you have tons of options. Autos are harder to find and require more homework, and possibly more travel to go further outside your city.
4) In general, 4 doors command a significantly higher price than 2 doors, people like station wagons, diesels fetch a premium (more economical and last longer), cars that are originally not swiss cars (e.g. imported to Switzerland) fetch VERY low prices (a friend of mine could only sell his Italian VW Passat for less than half of what the equivalent Swiss car would cost - the Swiss I think are suspicious of how well a car has been maintained if it's not Swiss).
5) The Swiss are highly meticulous about maintenance schedules and doing the MFK (roadworthiness checks, not necessary in first few years of a car's life), so if you find a car that didn't have regular maintenance as scheduled, it's a warning sign.

I love cars (all types) and would be happy to share any other info that would be helpful to you to get to know the local car market (it's a very different market from the US! although for a European market, Switzerland has a remarkably large number of large gas guzzling American cars and trucks). Drop me a PM if you'd like to chat more but I hope this helps as a start.
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Old 03.10.2014, 02:22
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

Trouble sleeping so I thought I'd might as well pen down a few further thoughts on brands in Europe:

German - generally true IMO that they are well regarded and easy to resell. VW Golf has been the best selling car in Europe for years and being an owner of one I can say it's an awesome car - relaxing when you're relaxed and fun when you want it to be fun. Audis and BMWs command a premium (Audi, VW, Seat and Skoda are all part of the volkswagen group - this means they share parts and technology but retain the automony to do their own product design at the same time). Skoda is generally cheaper than VW with the same engines and transmission. Seat (Spanish) is also cheaper than VW and tries to be more stylish while using the same engines and transmission - the price is often more limited headroom in the rear in favour of a more sweeping roofline. VW is generally I think considered one of the most reliable European brands. Reliability for Audi Seat and Skoda should be similar to VW as a result of sharing engines and transmissions. The VW Group is also known for its automatic transmission called the DSG. Fantastic technology, one of the most advanced automatics around which other companies have since caught on to. Mercedes is also German and has a fantastic reputation of lasting forever (not quite like Toyota... more like a tank...). The downside - they tend to not be the most economical and their diesels can be loud. BMW has some of the most economical diesel engines anywhere and great resale values but also fetch a premium as do most luxury brands in Switzerland. I've heard a variety of reports on how reliable they are, but generally they are well regarded in Switzerland. One thing though - unless there is an 'x' in the model name (indicates all-wheel-drive), BMWs are all rear wheel drive which isn't ideal for snow. (Mercedes too.)

French - These are Renault, Peugeot and Citroen. The latter two are part of the same company but their cars are more different than a Dodge would be from a Chrysler. Generally all 3 companies don't have great reliability records. But they are also known for producing very refined small diesel engines so if you get something that's a bit newer/lower mileage and diesel (which tends to live longer than petrol) they should be fine. Peugeots are also incredibly comfortable to drive (based on a very short test drive) - lots of glass and feels very roomy despite their not-huge size. All 3 companies are better at producing small cars than large sedans, although all 3 also produce good minivans.

Japanese - you'd already be familiar with them (Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki etc). They tend to be pretty cheap here so you may find a good deal but also means you have to sell cheap later. Also, lots of hybrids around (especially Toyota ones that don't exist in US - I'm not familiar with these). The Swiss will pay a premium for fuel economy. However, check engine sizes, many Euro spec Jap cars are smaller engined than US ones (eg Toyota Corolla is 1.8L in US, I think it's 1.4-1.6L here) so you may find them lacking in power. Some Jap models are different for Euro vs US too, e.g. the USA Acura TSX is actually Honda's Euro-spec Honda Accord (more sporty than the US Honda Accord) and the regular US Honda Accord doesn't exist in Europe. They also sell a Honda Accord estate here (quite ugly IMO) that doesn't exist in the US. ALSO, if you're looking for automatic, many Jap car makers sell a different type of auto in Europe vs the US. Instead of using a good ol' torque converter (which Europeans don't like so much), they sometimes use an automated manual (i.e. regular gearbox and a single clutch, but the clutch and gears are automatically controlled) which means a 1-1.5 second delay in every gear shift - can get annoying. You see this more in smaller cars. Examples are the Honda Jazz hybrid and the Mitsubishi Colt.

Others:
Opel is owned by GM and built in Germany. Generally reliable but one level lower than VW and usually a little less 'nice' feeling in terms of quality or interior layout. I don't care for them much but don't let that stop you from trying them (I haven't tested that many).

Ford Europe is quite different from Ford America. I tested a Ford Focus Estate here, it had incredible handling (better than a Golf). My first car in the US was a Ford Focus sedan - horrendous handling, couldn't do much in a corner. Fords depreciate fast here which means you could find a 3-5 year old Ford for pretty cheap. They also have good diesels and a very good automatic called Powershift (essentially same as VW's DSG) but Powershift has only been available since 2010. Generally Ford's reliability here is fairly good although I don't know if it's better or worse than a VW. E.g. the Ford Mondeo (larger than a Focus, similar size to a Passat) is constantly rated one of the best large-sized cars in the UK. FYI, up until 1-2 years ago Volvo was owned by Ford, so you will find the same engines, transmissions and platforms in a Ford and Volvo up till something like 2010 or 11. Notably the current generation Ford Fiesta is a fantastic small car that is constantly rated one of the best small cars you can buy (so much so that they started selling them in the US!).

Lancia and Fiat are Italian - Lancia was a defunct Italian brand that is now trying to make a comeback (bought over by Fiat I think?). Generally very cheap but IMO strangely designed cars with unproved reliability. I would personally avoid Lancia. Fiat doesn't have the best reliability ratings either, with the exception of their new-ish Fiat 500 which has fantastic ratings and is great if you want something small. Some Fiats are also rebadged Chryslers/Dodges - I have no idea about those. Alfa Romeo is italian too and fun, but horrendous reliability record. If you're ever going to own an Alfa though, Switzerland might be the place given how well they maintain their cars here.

I highly advise against Smart cars unless parallel parking in a tight city is your biggest concern above everything else. Even then, a Fiat 500 would work almost as well and be much nicer to drive.

Korean - you can get a brand new Hyundai for 15k CHF, I kid you not. Hyundai is making a big comeback in Europe and they tend to be pretty cheap. Quality is close to the Japanese but perhaps a small step behind. Resale values tend to be lower too though. Kia is one step behind Hyundai but not by very far. They too are gaining traction in Europe quick. I personally am a bit more wary of Kia's quality than Hyundai's. Many Chevrolets in Europe (as already mentioned by someone else on this thread) are actually Korean (GM bought Daewoo). I don't personally care for them much and would prefer Hyundai over Chevy in terms of quality and reliability.

No Consumer Reports here in Der Schweiz, but you can use the wide range of UK car review sites (carbuyer, parkers, car magazine, autoexpress, whatcar, honest john) as a proxy as UK spec cars tends to be broadly similar at least in terms of engines, tuning etc to what the rest of Europe gets. The UK also has reliability surveys similar to what Consumer Reports does. The UK sites/market was my primary tool for getting used to the car market in Europe.

A few more generic things - many car dealers will sell you a 1 or 2 year 'guarantee' that's basically like an insurance product that covers something like 80-90% of any repair costs you incur in the period. Sometimes this is included in the price of the car, sometimes it's not. Worth asking whether a guarantee is included, as well as the MFK if it's required. Also, car plates here follow the individual not the car, so don't be surprised to see a dealer's lot full of plateless cars

If I can help further let me know. =) All the best!
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  #34  
Old 03.10.2014, 04:26
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

Anyone think Saab will make a comeback?
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Old 03.10.2014, 09:17
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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Anyone think Saab will make a comeback?
Only as an electric car - if they can get the financial problems sorted out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_Au...12.E2.80.93.29

For the OP, don't forget to check at dealers for their used cars offers too. They often have ex-demo models and those will have low mileage. They'll also have older models on offer as well.

Cars here tend to be better specc'd than the American ones so though you might pay more you'll get more too.

Don't always think you need a big engine for more power. We swopped our Nissan Qashqai 2.0 litre petrol model for a 1.6 litre diesel and the OH was worried that it wouldn't be powerful enough, but we've found it much better overall than the petrol one. If you're not going to be doing a lot of kilometres though then a petrol will be a better buy. Diesel cars tend to be more expensive to buy and although they need less maintenance and can last longer diesel is more expensive here than petrol, usually around 10-15 centimes a litre - though around my area at the moment there's only a 3 centime difference.
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Old 03.10.2014, 09:33
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

What you are feeling is not the power but the torque. On average a diesel will have approximately 50% more peak torque than the same "power" petrol engine. For example a 200ps diesel will produce around 400nm torque. A petrol engine with a similar amount of torque will produce around 300ps.

Theoretically - the more torque you have lower down the rev range the more fuel efficient the engine will be - especially in the EU tests - and also on long motorway cruises - more torque = longer gears = lower revs = better economy.

An engine's performance is far more than just the torque curve - although many are now torque plateaus - rising rapidly to peak torque at 1800rpm and then holding flat (both petrol and diesel). Things to look out for are:
- how broad is that torque band - the wider it is the more flexible the engine will be
- where are the gears placed - there is nothing more annoying than having a car where the gear spacing isn't quite right - 4th gear feels too high, 3rd gear too low.
- how does it actually feel like to drive - 500nm of torque at 1500rpm might sound fantastic, but if it can't be transferred efficiently to the tarmac it will feel horrible.

Unless you chase the red line, top end power figures aren't anywhere near as important as the torque.

(Anecdote time:
Back in the day we BMW racers were split into classes based on power to weight. The cars would go along to a rolling road - measured for power and torque (actually the latter with former being derived). Although there were cars with the 3.2 engine making less power than than the 3.0 engine (and hence having a lower power to weight) - the 3.2s had to go in a higher class because their torque curve was "thicker".)
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Old 03.10.2014, 09:41
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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Unless you chase the red line, top end power figures aren't anywhere near as important as the torque.
They are in the pub
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Old 03.10.2014, 09:45
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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Old 05.10.2014, 12:16
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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What you are feeling is not the power but the torque. On average a diesel will have approximately 50% more peak torque than the same "power" petrol engine. For example a 200ps diesel will produce around 400nm torque. A petrol engine with a similar amount of torque will produce around 300ps.

Theoretically - the more torque you have lower down the rev range the more fuel efficient the engine will be - especially in the EU tests - and also on long motorway cruises - more torque = longer gears = lower revs = better economy.

An engine's performance is far more than just the torque curve - although many are now torque plateaus - rising rapidly to peak torque at 1800rpm and then holding flat (both petrol and diesel). Things to look out for are:
- how broad is that torque band - the wider it is the more flexible the engine will be
- where are the gears placed - there is nothing more annoying than having a car where the gear spacing isn't quite right - 4th gear feels too high, 3rd gear too low.
- how does it actually feel like to drive - 500nm of torque at 1500rpm might sound fantastic, but if it can't be transferred efficiently to the tarmac it will feel horrible.

Unless you chase the red line, top end power figures aren't anywhere near as important as the torque.

(Anecdote time:
Back in the day we BMW racers were split into classes based on power to weight. The cars would go along to a rolling road - measured for power and torque (actually the latter with former being derived). Although there were cars with the 3.2 engine making less power than than the 3.0 engine (and hence having a lower power to weight) - the 3.2s had to go in a higher class because their torque curve was "thicker".)
Thanks for the explanation. As you probably gathered I'm not mechanically minded.

Also it might be worth looking at the Dacia range of cars. Not as well specc'd, but seem to be good, reliable models. Prices range from just under CHF9,000 up to CHF16,000 for new ones.

http://www.dacia.ch/fr/index.jsp
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Old 05.10.2014, 14:09
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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Anyone think Saab will make a comeback?
They may not be making new cars anymore, but they are great value as used cars. Here are two with under CHF10k, with less than 100k km, leather, navigation, all the toys, and new MFKs. They've got the 2.3l Saab-designed engine, much more reliable than the 3.0l GM-designed engine.

Great cars, very comfortable.

http://www.autoscout24.ch/de/d/saab-...lng=de&tabid=0

http://www.autoscout24.ch/de/d/saab-...8647&vehtyp=10
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