Around 20 years ago, ageing motors were the norm on Malta’s roads. Even today, apparently, the average age of vehicles on our roads is 14 years. However last week, a red Ferrari swung past me on a roundabout. For all its polish and untarnished paintwork, it probably wasn’t new. Because now’s the time for the return and rise of the second hand car in Malta – in the more luxury end of the market this time. In fact, as we’ll see, there’s never been a better time to go about importing a car to Malta, so long as it’s used.
The past few years have seen a surge in used car imports from the UK by both private individuals and dealers. In parallel, importers of new cars have seen their sales nose dive despite a string of government budget measures to encourage us to buy new cars locally. For instance, we’ve seen new cars cheaper to register than second hand ones. More recently, in November 2010, we saw the introduction of a scrapping scheme open to private individuals which pays a rebate of 15.25 per cent of a new car’s cost up to a maximum of €2,000 in return for a vehicle that is at least 10 years old. The aim is to make Malta’s road stock more environmentally friendly.
But it doesn’t take much of a head for maths to work out that rebate aside, it can be more worthwhile to opt to import a ‘good as new’ secondhand vehicle, especially in the mid- to high-end of the market, with around 20,000 miles or so on the clock than buy new locally.
Judging by the number of UK plates around, in cars that seem to be driven by locals not newly-arrived expats, it is a trend that’s on the up. I know of several individuals who’ve searched the internet to source their own secondhand import to drive down. Note that if an individual purchases more than two vehicles from the UK, he won’t be able to sell them on before at least two years as he is considered a car trader under Maltese law.
For those who find going it alone a hassle, there are firms that offer a one-stop solution and do the whole thing for you. We spoke to Mark Gauci at Gauci Automobiles about why the time is right and what the middleman can do for you:
It’s the perfect time to purchase your used car from UK at the moment because you save approx 25 per cent on new in the medium and luxury sector. We calculate that we can supply the medium and high end cars in excellent condition at very good prices compared to brand new. The time is better now also as the registration tax to be paid on used secondhand imported cars has dropped by 40% compared to what we use to pay with the old system of the registration tax. Yes, we do still have a registration tax system which depends on the registration value of the car unlike in the majority of EU countries. But thankfully with the revision, the RVs are now reasonable! When it comes to the cost of importing your used car from Gauci Automobiles, there are no hidden charges; we ensure up front that you know the total cost of your car on the road in Malta.
What the dealer does for you
At Gauci Automobiles, we can take care of the whole chain. We have our reliable and reputable suppliers who take full responsibility for choosing the car. We vet them carefully as our local reputation relies on ensuring we do deliver on promise. Besides having cars in stock for clients to see what they are purchasing, we can get cars specifically on order for clients who have defined needs as to colours and specification. We guarantee all the cars we import come with certified mileage, in excellent condition and with a complete check, electrically and mechanically. The whole process of registering your car in Malta is very time consuming… it would approx take 2 full working days! But, we take care of all the registration procedure… you just pick up the car from our showrooms ready from everything.
Photo: Gege Gatt