Buying a Car in Norway: Full Guide

As an expat, owning a car in Norway makes life easier, as you’ll be able to get to places faster and won’t have to deal with public transport hassles. However, the thought of purchasing a ride in a foreign country can be intimidating if you don’t understand the process. The Norwegian car market isn’t that large, but prices and taxes are pretty high. This may increase the chances of breaking your budget if you are unprepared.  

Foreigners can purchase a car in Norway without any limitations. Buying a car in this Scandinavian country involves getting your Norwegian driver’s license, finding a dealer or a private seller, test-driving the car, and negotiating a price. You will also need to get car insurance, register your vehicle and pay taxes. 

This article breaks down the process of buying a car as a foreigner in Norway and discusses the taxes you’ll pay when purchasing a vehicle there. We’ve also listed the prices of new and used cars in Norway and suggested the best cars to buy. Don’t miss out on this article about the costs of owning a car in Norway every buyer MUST know.

Buying a car in Norway as a foreigner 

Buying a car in Norway as a foreigner is possible, but there are several requirements you must meet, including:

  • Having a valid driving license 
  • Providing proof of residence 
  • Submitting an identification card or passport 
  • Owning a Norwegian personal number 

If you have all the requirements ready, you can go ahead and purchase a car of your choice. Below are steps you should follow before settling on one. 

  1. Determine your budget – Norway’s cost of living is generally high. Therefore, you must create a car budget that reflects this to avoid disappointments when in the market. It’s advisable you include the maintenance and insurance fees in the ultimate cost. 
  2. Research – Before exploring the market, you must research the type of car you want. Narrowing down your car model choices will make selecting the best option in the market effortless and swift.
  3. Find a dealer or a seller – Norway has several car dealerships, and thus, it may be challenging to find a trusted and reputable one if new to the country. Read online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends to make the search easier. Check out Finn.no for the best car deals.
  4. Test drive – Test driving cars is essential as it helps you narrow down your choices. It’s advisable to test drive as many cars as possible to find the perfect one that’s comfortable and suits your needs and lifestyle. 
  5. Negotiate – You should always try and negotiate the prices regardless of the dealership. You might unexpectedly get a discount that will come in handy. 
  6. Pay for the car or get a car loan – You can pay for your car using cash or finance it using a loan from a Norwegian bank if you have limited funds. Note that to qualify for a loan in a traditional bank, you must have a Norwegian Personal number.  
  7. Register the car – read below.
  8. Pay one-off registration tax and VAT – A buyer pays taxes based on the vehicle’s weight which range from 1,200 NOK ($117) to 2,400 NOK ($234). If you buy a new car or another type of vehicle, the one-off registration tax, scrap deposit tax, and VAT are included in the purchase price you pay to the dealer. Electric cars are exempt from this tax.
  9. Change ownership – The next step is to change the owner of the vehicle. For this, both the previous and the new owner must sign the notification of sale. The previous owner is responsible for submitting the information of sale to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration within 3 days after the change of ownership.
  10. Pay a registration transfer fee – If you buy a car from a private individual, you must pay a registration transfer fee.

Things to check in a car

  • Test drive the car
  • Examine the car’s mileage and model year
  • Check all keys
  • Check that the vehicle is debt free
  • Conduct and sign a contract

Registering the car in Norway

After you have made the purchase, the car can be re-registered (for used vehicles). To register the car, you must have a Norwegian Personal number. If the vehicle is new, you must register it for the first time. In any case, the buyer is responsible for paying the re-registration fee.

Besides the fee, the car must already be under the insurance policy and be approved during the EU inspection, in order to be re-registered. You can pay the fee on this official website.

After you pay the re-registration fee, you will get a temporary registration certificate. A full registration certificate will arrive by mail within four to seven working days. Keep in mind, that you cannot drive abroad with the temporary registration certificate.

Generally, the vehicle registration certificate consists of two parts. Part 2 must be submitted in connection with a change of ownership. Part 1 must be kept in the vehicle. At the same time, part 2 must be kept separately from the car.

Car insurance

Although car insurance is a mandatory requirement when purchasing a vehicle in Norway, you have the freedom to select the coverage you want, provided you meet the minimum required by the government.

You could get liability insurance for your protection, theft and fire insurance if your car is expensive, or comprehensive insurance if you carry expensive equipment or gadgets in your car. 

Saving money when shopping for a car in Norway

Buying a car in Norway is expensive, but there are several measures you could take to reduce the payable amount. Some of them include:

  • Buying a car during winter. Most vehicles stay dormant in this period, and thus owners will sell them at throw-away prices to prevent them from wasting away. 
  • Make a thorough inspection of the car before signing the contract. This is because some dealers may hide if the car is on a bank pledge and perfectly cover up flaws on the car’s body. Identifying these inconveniences in time will help talk the dealers into reducing the price. 

How much is car tax in Norway? 

Norway has a VAT of 25% on all new cars. This is in addition to the registration fee, which is based on the vehicle’s weight and ranges from 1,200 NOK ($117) to 2,400 NOK ($234). However, both of these expenses are included in the price you pay to the dealer.

The annual road tax is also calculated according to a car’s weight and emissions and can cost anything from 200 NOK ($17) to 3,600 NOK ($352).

There is also the special carbon tax, which is levied on all cars that emit more than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer. The tax ranges from 1,000 NOK ($97) to 2,500 NOK ($244) and is paid annually. That said, the lowest payment for a carbon tax is around 20%. 

Additionally, there is the NOX tax, measured according to the amount of Nitrogen oxides your car emits. The average pay for this tax is about 2.02 USD per kilogram of Nitrogen Oxide.

In this regard, a car with a greater engine power will pay more than that with a smaller one. Other smaller taxes you could pay include weight and car scraping taxes. 

It’s advisable to pick a car with a low emission level to reduce the tax amount. An electric car is the best car to buy if you want to save up some coins on tax. These cars have nearly zero emissions and are also the cheapest, as you won’t pay for ferry rides or other incentives. 

Moreover, you pay less taxes on smaller, lighter vehicles.

Car prices in Norway 

Norway is the second most expensive country to buy a car in Europe. The average cost of buying a car in this country is about 42,872 USD. High tax rates in this country are the main contributors to these high prices. 

Buying a new car is only suitable for wealthy Norwegians as the prices are outrageous. However, If you buy a new car, you can save money on the one-off registration tax, scrap deposit tax, and VAT because they are included in the purchase price.

Here are prices for some of the most common new cars in Norway:

Car modelAverage price
Nissan Leaf$40,000
W Golf$45,000
Tesla Model X$115,000
Mitsubishi Outlander$60,000
Volvo XC60$105,000
Tesla Model S$90,000
Toyota Rav4$60,000

You can see the full list of prices on the official website.

Moreover, the cost for a BMW ranges between 51,752 USD and 109,247 USD, depending on your preference. 

New Chevrolets’ prices in Norway stretch between 24,334 USD and 81,058 USD. You can find a wide selection of Honda cars in Norway, with the cheapest going for 26,350 USD and the most expensive costing 53,366 USD. 

If you’re a Ford fan, you need a budget between 8,527 USD and 109,528 USD to purchase a new one in this country. Conversely, new Cardillac prices stretch between 51,514 USD and 100,879 USD. 

You could find a new Chrystler in Norway for 58,028 USD, while Mercedes Benz prices range between 51,927 USD and 131,753 USD.

Used car prices

Buying a used car in Norway is a good deal as the country is currently pushing for the disposal of vehicles manufactured before the 2000s. In this regard, most owners are in a rush to sell their cars and thus could let them go for anything close to pennies. This is beneficial for car buyers in this country. 

Prices of second-hand Volkswagen cars range between 3,806 USD and 32,096 USD. On the other hand, the cheapest Volvo used car goes for 5,633 USD, and the most expensive costs 41,102 USD, depending on the year it was manufactured. 

You could get a second-hand BMW for between 9,571 USD and 49,533 USD. The price of a used Mercedes Benz ranges between 642 USD and 1,072 USD, while Audis go for prices between 6,697 USD and 95,803 USD. 

Finding a used car in Norway that fits your needs and budget is manageable, as there’s a wide range to choose from. That said, the table below shows the prices of various used cars currently in the Norwegian market. 

CarPrice (USD)
2012 Volvo XC70 2.424,814
2011 BMW 5 Series17,340
2013 Mercedes Benz GLS-Class 63AMG 60,350
2006 Lexus GS 450H16,286
2020 Jeep Compass 1.3 47,713
2012 Volvo XC60 2.4 D514,364
2018 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI DSG16,766
2016 BMW 3 Series 340I XDRIVE49,533
2016 Suzuki Vitara 1.4 17,724
2009 Toyota Prius 1.86,607
2022 AUDI E-TRON 17,751
Source: OOYYOO.com

Keep in mind that if you buy a used imported vehicle or another type of vehicle not previously registered in Norway, you have to pay a one-off-registration-tax and scrap deposit tax before you register the car.

Best car to buy in Norway 

An electric car can be a great investment for someone living in Norway. You will enjoy lower taxes and will save a decent amount on fuel. Below are the best cars to purchase in Norway. 

Volkswagen e-Golf 

Volkswagen e-Golf is an electric car with zero CO2emissions, which significantly reduces its maintenance cost. This car has lots of cargo space and is hence quite flexible; you could use it comfortably when going for a getaway. Additionally, Volkswagen e-Golf has a spirited acceleration and is thus fun to drive. 

Audi e-Tron 

Despite Audi e-Tron being a small car, it has a high-power engine, and thus you can easily manage high-speed merges. This car can connect to your smartphone. Therefore, you can use your phone’s navigation, which is quite convenient. 

Hyundai Kona 

Hyundai Kona is another good option as it uses a small amount of fuel, thus reducing the amount of tax you pay. This car also has a nice and stylish interior. In addition, Hyundai cars have turbocharged engines, which give them a kick and thus make them enjoyable to ride. 

Nissan Leaf

Nissan leaf is an electric car; thus, buying it means you won’t have to pay emissions taxes in Norway. In this regard, you can opt for this car if you don’t have enough cash to purchase a Tesla. Nissan Leat also has smart driving features hence convenient and reliable. 

Skoda Octavia 

Skoda Octavia is the best car choice if you want an expensive car’s features at an affordable price. This car is also comfortable as it has soft suspensions. It also has six airbags hence safe.  Skoda Octavia is the best family car as it has lots of space.

Moreover, this car has many cubby holes that come in handy to hold your phone or store the kids’ toys. 

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y has the best charging capabilities compared to other electric cars, which could explain why it is a best-seller in Norway.

Tesla superchargers are spread throughout the country. This means you won’t have difficulty trying to power your vehicle. These cars are the definition of luxury, with advanced technology applied to all their features.

Read our guide on the cost of car ownership in Norway.

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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