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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Young American in Europe Wants to Buy a Car

I'm not actually in the market for a car (yet), but like anyone fascinated by the subject of cars, I continuously dream about what my first car would be once I get the chance to purchase one. I have some requirements:

1. The car must not be sold in the United States. I don't want a car I can get back home. In fact I want a car I can't get back home. I want something none of my friends will be able to purchase. Which brings me to my second requirement.

2. The car must not be from a brand sold in the United States. That means no Ford, no VW, no Honda, no Toyota, no overlap whatsoever. Some will argue that there are many models of cars from these companies that are not sold in America. My counter argument is that with rising gas prices, many of the smaller model Fords and Toyotas for example will soon be sold in America. I don't want to be ahead of the curve, I want something completely different.

3. Nothing Japanese. I just finished owning a 2001 Nissan Sentra for the past four years. Now this requirement is really mostly taken up with the second requirement, but there is Daihatsu which is sold in the UK and no longer available in America. And no I will not buy a Daihatsu.

4. The car must be cheap. That means I will not spend more than 10,000 pounds on the car, and probably not more than 8000. That means the cars I have to choose from will either be used or in the "supermini" class of vehicles. Right now the Chevrolet Aveo and Mini are the only two cars I can think of sold in the US that qualify for this class size.

5. The car will be a diesel. Diesels last longer than regular gasoline (petrol) vehicles, so if I decide to buy used, I will be more likely to have a car without engine trouble. Also gasoline is expensive over in Europe, and diesels are far more economical in this area. And though I grew up with a diesel car in my family, I'd like to see the improvements made by Europeans in this area.

6. No cars from Malaysia, India, South Korea. I just don't believe that cars from these nations have the reliability yet for Western consumption. South Korea is probably an exception, but that would only lead it to fall under the category of cars available in the US which is something I really don't want.

So what does that leave me with? It leaves me with not much choice, which is how I want things to make for a quick decision. I'll probably go with a small Peugeot or Citroen, or perhaps a Renault. The Renault Clio is supposed to be a fantastic car in the supermini segment, but I'm worried that I will be really buying a Nissan (since both companies are together) and I just came out of four years of Nissan ownership. I'm really looking at Citroen C2 or C1, or possibly Peugeot 207. The Peugeot isn't out yet, currently Peugeot sells the 206, which is a bit long in the tooth. If anyone has any other suggestions, let me know in the comments below.

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