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Buying a car in Sweden

Hey dear readers,

Time to share my perspective on another experience that differs quite a lot between the US and Sweden – buying a car! I’m sure most of you have personally, or through a family, experienced the car purchasing process in the US and how painful it can be. You never feel like you’re getting a good deal because it almost always feel like an adversarial negotiation.

I remember the very first car I bought in the US: the redesigned 2004 Acura TL. It was a new model year and in such high demand that dealers were able to move them quickly at MSRP. I went to 2 or 3 Acura dealerships in NorCal to get a sense of the pricing and realized that if I was able to get it under MSRP, it’d be a good deal. If I recall correctly, I ended up paying $1000 over invoice and got a few things thrown in (mud guards, winter mats) so it turned out to be an okay deal. But just the same, the entire process was harrowing and I didn’t feel like I was going to come out of the process intact.

Let’s fast forward to 2020 in Sweden. My wife and I moved into a newly constructed apartment complex and one of the features was that it had a garage for the vast majority of its residents. We decided to put ourselves on the list for a spot. We didn’t have a car when we moved in, but my in-laws were kind enough to let us borrow their Mercedes station wagon so we could run errands (read: IKEA runs) during the first few months of the move.

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