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Old 28.11.2015, 00:54
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Time to trade up...or drive for free?

Here's a "developed world" dilemma - but I'd genuinely appreciate informed advice, please:

When my family and I arrived in Zurich 2+ years ago for my new job, a company car was part of our deal. I was under the impression that I could work with a dealership to choose a vehicle, but it turned out differently. I was shown two leased vehicles driven previously by former employees and told to pick one of the two cars. I selected a 2012 BMW 5-Series diesel sedan with 15K km. On the plus side, I also discovered that the company paid for all operating expenses, including fuel (even for personal mileage), insurance and maintenance. Jackpot!

The lease is now expired. My company has told me that I will receive a car allowance, or I can extend the lease on current vehicle. If I choose the car allowance, I have to negotiate the deal, acquire the car as my own, pay for all maintenance and fuel. My employment contract currently ends in August 2017 (21 months) at which time we will have lived here for 4 years on B-permit. We would like to stay in CH on C- permit (5 years) but employment contact may not get stretched out that far. Uncertainty looms...

I have my eye on the new Volvo XC90, but wow...the sticker price in CH is 1.5X the price in the U.S.!

Any sane person (or a frugalista like me) would stick with the current car. After all, it's free (monetarily and hassle-free too)! Keeps the finances simple and cheap.

But here's the rub: our teenage kids, dog and ourselves barely fit in the sedan anymore. My son is nearly 6 feet tall. Long trips (eg we recently drove to Sicily and car ferried back) are tough. If we have visitors, we can't ferry them around. So, we had been looking at larger 7-passenger SUVs.

1. Should we move up to a larger vehicle, knowing that it will no longer be "free" (allowance will not be able to cover total of vehicle cost, fuel, insurance and maintenance) or stick with what we have?

2. If we move up to a different car, should we buy the car or lease it? Assume for now that we want to acquire a new diesel powered vehicle as described above (see above). Also assume that we would be here either for 21 more months -or- 33 more months (to get us to 5 years residence) or forever (if we luck out). Probabilities favor the first two possibilities. If leasing is your advice, how long should we lease, given residency situation above? Last year we drove 17K km. We have been a buy-it-used-and-hold-it-forever family for 25 years. Never leased before so know nothing about how it works. Can you lease a used car? My notion is leasing is never a good deal. I'm willing to be educated though.

3. If your advice is to buy this new vehicle, should we do so here in CH or elsewhere in EU? Buy the Volvo in Sweden and import it? And I'm not kidding about that (is it even possible?)

4. How difficult is it to exit a lease early in Switzerland, and alternatively, how difficult is it to sell a car here?

Welcome any and all advice that is offered in good faith or good humor!
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Old 28.11.2015, 00:58
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Re: Time to trade up...or drive for free?

Stick with the current car.
For holidays/guests rent a 7 seater.
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Old 28.11.2015, 01:28
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Re: Time to trade up...or drive for free?

Good suggestion by fishpaste, that's what i would do, you would end up saving money. I mean you have a free bmw 5-series with fuel insurance maintenance, it's such a good deal. You can rent a sharan or a multivan to enjoy your vacations.
For other things it depends how much this allowance would be, could it cover at least the leasing (say a 24-month leasing)? but i would not get into leasings and stuff if you're not sure of staying. How much it costs for exiting is written somewhere maybe look at leasing offers, AMAG has a nice calculator i don't know if volvo has it too.
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Old 28.11.2015, 11:41
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Re: Time to trade up...or drive for free?

Buy a used car.

Tom
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Old 29.11.2015, 12:20
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Re: Time to trade up...or drive for free?

request additional info on the Volvo expat program http://www.volvocarbern.ch/fahrzeuge...iplomat-sales/
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