Our long term lease on our little Peugeot was coming to an end, so we needed to get moving on a replacement. It was the beginning of May and we had not received our Permesso di Soggiorno yet, a key necessity in buying car. Fortunately, our document came through (after a call to the Questura where we discovered it likely had been there for a while, but they just never sent us the text to collect it. I’ll talk about that in another post).
In addition, a Carta di Identità is needed. This is your registration at the Commune where you live and establishes your residence for tax purposes. Lucky for us, we are in the Commune of Casalanguida, and the office is only steps from our front door. It took two trips. The first one was to fill out the paperwork, and we were instructed to return the next week with photographs to get the finished documents.
Finally, armed with those vital documents we went to the Fiat dealer in Vasto. The process was pretty straightforward. Even with our limited Italian, we were able make ourselves understood on what we were looking for. Being in the hills, where snow is likely for a couple months of the year, and the roads can be a bit, shall we say, interesting, we wanted four wheel drive and a higher ground clearance. It may have been the first time in my life a car salesman steered us toward a less expensive car. We rejected the Jeep as way too big, and were thinking about the Fiat 500x, when he took us to the back to show us a new Panda 4×4 that we could have for 17,500 EU. About 7,000 less than the 500x with the four wheel option would have cost us.
Next step is drawing up the sales papers, just like everywhere else. What is different from the States is that you don’t plunk down the money and drive it home. Also different is that it is only in my name. They said that to put it in both names would take more time and not really be worth it. They then have to file the registration with the State, which takes a few days. This was fine as I had to arrange to have the purchase price transferred to the car dealer. A few days later, when the registration was complete, they gave me documents with the information necessary to arrange insurance. (I have seen other posts where the dealer wants to see proof of insurance before turning over the car, but this was not our experience).
A couple more days pass, and our car is ready to be picked up. Pepe the Panda. Now back in the States you might think our car is just beige. In Italy, it is Cappuccino!
The diesel engine is pretty peppy. We had to rent a car for a week while waiting, and got a 2wd gas engine version, and we found that version a disappointment.
Couple of final notes. In the States, when you get a new car, you get a full tour of all the features and a full tank of gas. In Italy you get the keys and they point you towards the nearest gas station. You also have to pay the Bollo, or car tax. In the States, you just assume the dealer has done this as part of the registration, but in Italy is is a separate payment, and the salesman did not bring it up. Overall, it was a positive experience, and we are happy with our little Panda. The web site link below is a good resource for the process of buying and details how to pay your Bollo.