It is a tale of two cars–or several cars–depending on how you want to think about it. But for me, right now, it is primarily a tale of two cars: the one I just sold, and the one I will be driving for the foreseeable future.
While John and I were in Denmark for our house-hunting trip, we were like, “Hey, why not buy a quick car while we’re at it?” To decide which car lot to visit, we applied a very scientific method: which car symbol did we like best?
The Peugot won hands down:
John admits to a longstanding fascination with Peugot, primarily because its symbol looks like a “Zombie Lion”. Do you see it?
Anyway, we rolled up to the Peugot dealership in our rented Audi station wagon, wandered about until we found an older gentleman who appeared to work there, and then told him we were looking into buying a car. Actually the conversation must have gone more like this, which follows the template of all of our conversations thus far in Denmark:
Taler du Engelsk? (Do you speak English?)
Ja, lidt. (Yeah, a little.)
Oh good! Could we look at a few cars?
Generally when the Danes say they only speak a little English, they are being modest, and their English is quite good. This time I think the gentleman was actually telling the truth. He was older and must have not had the rigorous exposure to the English language that his younger compatriots have had, so he passed us along to the manager, Jan. This pattern of us wandering into an establishment, being identified as non-Danish speaking Americans, and being subsequently pawned off to the resident-best-English-speaker-of-the-group, has also proved to be quite standard.
Jan (pronounced “Yon”…I think…) was such a cool guy, very helpful, and his English, spoken with a British accent, was excellent. We told him we needed a 7-seater, which is rare in Denmark (and all of Europe for that matter). Jan got a bit of a worried look and told us that he had exactly two 7-seaters on the lot.
The first was this beaut, known as the “Peugeot Partner Tepee”.
Yes the name on the car is in English, and yes it is hilarious. “Tepee”, really?
The Peugeot Partner Tepee is actually quite popular in Denmark and is affectionately nicknamed, “The Mailman Pete Car”, for obvious reasons. Well I guess the “mailman” part is obvious; I don’t get the “Pete” part, but whatevs.
We did indeed test drive the Tepee. John thought it felt top-heavy as we rounded a corner, but I’m inclined to believe he was just biased because of its appearance. I actually was willing to consider buying the Peugeot Partner Tepee, if only for its comedic value. John, however, told me in no certain terms that we were definitely not going to get it. In hindsight I must concede that he may have had a point since comedic value is probably not the number one trait one should consider when purchasing a car.
And thus we moved on to the second 7-seater on the lot, a trade-in called the “Renault Scenic”:
We drove it, we liked it, we bought it.
The resulting irony is that we picked the Peugeot dealership based on liking the Peugeot symbol and then walked away owning a car that didn’t have the coveted icon, but c’est la vie.
After doing a bit of research, we were aware that cars in Denmark cost more because of the infamous “MOMS” tax, wherein the buyer of a new car pays the original sale price plus an additional 80%. If, for example, you were to purchase a new car at the manufacturer’s recommended price of say $22,000, you would wind up paying a whopping $39,600 after MOMS was included. Considering this as well as the cost of gas being 3x what it is in the States, it is easy to see why the bicycling culture has become so pervasive in DK. The MOMS tax is not re-added technically when purchasing a used car, but it does wind up being passed down to some extent, inflating the cost of even older vehicles.
The Renault Scenic we purchased is a 2009 with about 140,000 kilometers (84,000 miles). We paid $17,500 USD plus a bit more due to currency exchange rates and the cost of a wire transfer fee. This price was in the realm of what we were expecting to pay for a reliable 7-seater but still considerably more expensive than any vehicle we’d ever purchased in the past.
Although I was feeling a bit anxious about the cost (as well as the rapidity with which we made this car-purchasing decision) my spirits were brightened when, after the paperwork was signed, Jan disappeared briefly around the corner and then returned, presenting us with a giant pepper mill. Evidently Peugeot began its life as a humble pepper mill manufacturer before moving on to bigger and better things.
All I can say is they are serious about their pepper mills in Europe. This thing was 2 feet tall and at least 10 pounds.
It will be cherished for years to come I’m sure.
Side Note: Since we are planning on the Renault being primarily my vehicle for hauling kids around, we also had John test drive this Peugeot 108:
If our finances permit it, this funny little guy may be in our future, but for now John is committed to the environmentally conscious, economically sound, health-promoting and Danish-culture-embracing option of cycling to work.
Step 1 accomplished. Now on to Step 2: Sell both of our current vehicles to help cover the cost of the Renault.
Here is my 2008 Toyota Sienna, cue the heavenly music:
She is fabulous (or as fabulous as a minivan can be, lol), with all the bells and whistles a gal could ask for, including power sliding doors, power rear lift-gate, leather, DVD, navigation, back up camera. Sure, she’s not brand new, but hey, I’m not royalty, I don’t need a *new* car. This minivan has been perfect for my needs as a mother of four, and just old/high-mileaged enough to keep me humble ;).
I have felt genuine sadness at the thought of letting it go. I’ve been told it’s usually guys that get attached to their cars, but I guess I’m the exception… We did of course look into bringing the Sienna with us to Denmark, but were told that to bring it into the country, it would be taxed at the value of the car. So that means we would first pay shipping costs (at least $2,000 USD) and then be taxed another $10,000 upon bringing the car into the country. Danish taxes strike again! Bringing the van with us was cost prohibitive. We did also consider leaving it here in Colorado so it would be waiting for us for when we returned, but decided that this didn’t make sense either for plenty of reasons.
To explain my love for my Toyota Sienna this tale must go back a few years to the time of my prior vehicle–a 1998 Dodge Durango which I drove for 6+ years and sold in 2013. It had problems numerous and sundry, (to give an example, the seals on the doors were messed up so it was not uncommon for me to become frozen INSIDE my vehicle during the winter). It was with relish that I sold it for under two grand to a couple buying it for their son’s first car. John and I have discussed that it is telling about the age/condition of our vehicles in that when we sell them, invariably it is parents buying them for their teenage son’s first car, or in the case of John’s 1995 Acura Integra (a red that had faded to a lovely shade of pink) a teenage daughter’s first car.
And so, given my history of owning old and usually problematic cars (a proud tradition imbued in John and me not only from my parents, but also from John’s), one can begin to understand how excited I was a mere three years ago when I traded up for my lovely Toyota Sienna XLE Limited. Just getting a vehicle this side of the year 2000 felt like quite the New Age luxury. We looked up the Sienna’s approximate value and listed it at $10,900–a steal, IMO ;).
And here is John’s 2006 Mazda 3. I must admit that I’m not quite as inspired to wax poetic about John’s car, but it’s been fine I guess. We listed it originally at $5,500.
After a few days, we didn’t have any bites on either cars, so to make a quick sale and get on with our lives, we slashed the price on the Sienna to $9995 and the Mazda to $4,500. Both sold just a couple days later–on the same day actually, so that was a weird feeling.
So both of our primary vehicles are gone forever, but fortunately we are still left with the giant work truck to get around in, as well as as John’s literal fleet of motorcycles, so we should be covered transportation-wise until move out day a week from now.