If you’re on a limited budget and can’t afford the shipping and import costs associated with buying a car from the USA but you also can’t find the car you’re looking for in the UK, all may not be lost.
Sweden may not sound like an obvious place to look for an American car but this sparsely populated Scandinavian country is a veritable smörgåsbord for the American car enthusiast. It’s also a member of the EU so it’s more than likely that any import tax has been paid.
Buying an American car in Sweden isn’t going to be easy for a number of reasons. Firstly, eBay hasn’t arrived in Scandinavia so the obvious place to start looking doesn’t exist but the Swedes do have their own very popular classifieds site called Blocket ( click here ).
Blocket is a great place to find some real gems but it’s a Swedish language site so you’re going to need to know what to look for.
In Sweden the word for a car is Bil (pronounced beel, plural is Bilar) and while that information may help you find the right section on the web site, your best friend for reading descriptions etc.. is Google Translate ( click here ).
Sorry, the car has been sold!
I’ve bought many cars in Sweden and I’ve tried to buy many more but by far the biggest obstacle I’ve come across is that many Swedes like an easy life and if their English isn’t great or if they’re unsure about export laws, you’ll often find they’ll say the car has been sold or not even reply.
In the past when I’ve encountered this problem, I’ve contacted Swedes that I’ve done business with before and asked them to buy a car on my behalf and that’s worked well.
You’ve done the deal, what next.
Finding a car is the easy part, the hard part is travelling to collect it. The shortest way to get to Sweden is the freight ferry run by DFDS that sails from Cleethorpes to Gothenburg. The ferry takes around 24 hours and you should check prices because they can be quite expensive
There are many alternatives, Harwich to Esbjorg in Denmark, Hull to Zebrugge etc.. but I’ve always travelled the long way, which is Eurotunnel to Calais and then up through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark and into Sweden.
If you choose the same route that I take, consider these costs. There’s a ferry or Eurotunnel ( click here ) to get you out of the UK, you then have two options for getting from Germany to Denmark, one is the Scandlines ferry from Puttgarden to Rodby ( click here ) which can get quite expensive with a trailer or the alternative is to drive via Odense which adds around 100 miles and a toll at the Storebaelt Bridge ( click here ). Finally there’s the impressive Oresund bridge ( click here ) that gets you from Denmark into Sweden.
The best way to make savings is to book in advance but you don’t usually have that luxury when you’re doing something so spontaneous as buying a car.
Don’t underestimate the journey.
One thing to keep in mind is that Sweden is a big country. From its southern border with Denmark to the far north is around 1500 miles and travel can take a long time. The roads are very quiet in comparison to the UK but they’re often only single or two lane. The Swedes as with rest of Europe drive on the right.
It is a long journey to the top of Sweden but it can be a very rewarding one. Why? well they don’t grit the roads in the far North and it’s not uncommon to find cars from the 60’s and 70’s with little or no rust, there really are many hidden gems up there
Consider the weather.
Sweden is a country with a varied climate and in winter it’s not uncommon to see temperatures below −40 degrees in the far North. Unlike the UK, Sweden doesn’t strive for clear roads when it snows, they simply plough the snow and fit winter tyres. Driving in these conditions on summer tyres is not only very dangerous, it’s also illegal between 1st December and 31st March.
It’s definitely worth a try.
I hope this gives some of you an insight into buying a car in Sweden. It’s not the easiest place to get to but as I’ve already said, there’s some real gems in Sweden and you could always make a holiday out of your trip.
If anyone has any questions or needs any advice, feel free to drop me reply.