If you are tired of taking a tram, trolley-bus, or of paying exhorbiant rental car prices, but think a new car is just a little outside your price range, the time to act is now. Just brush up on your Slovak and head to one of the many used car lots scattered around the capital.
All together, there are 22 used car lots in Bratislava, of which we chose nine reccommended by the Slovak Auto Association as legitimate and geographically dispersed. Most lots offer the same old thing - dealers eager to sell their cars fast, and with as little hassle with the customer as they can manage.
One of the first things these guys will tell you is that they can get any kind of car you want, from a cheap Lada to a luxurious Mercedes, but that you might have to wait. Some cars may take up to two or three months to get, while the cars on the lots are ready to move out.
Most of the lots offer a range varying from cheap old Škodas - older than three years - for as low as 16,000 Sk ($ 457), to big-name marks like BMW or Mercedes for 700,000 - 800,000 Sk ($20,000 - $22,000). All prices are, of course, subject to negotiation. Most dealers either speak English or German, and if not they will find you someone who does (see chart). These car salesmen tend to be rather gruff over the phone, but their manner changes miraculously if you come to the lot and show real interest in spending money.
To buy a car, you need a Slovak identification card (for Slovak citizens an Občiansky preukaz, for foreigners a green card known as a Slovensky preukaz), or a Slovak passport. If you do not have Slovak ID, you cannot register the car in Slovakia. The police will issue a temporary licence plate so that it is possible to take the car outside of the country, and get it registered in your own country. If you are a foreigner with no green card, get a Slovak friend to register the car for you.
All of the lots will register the car with the police for you, so that you can have a licence plate. Autobazár B.O.A.T. and Charlie do not require ID at purchase time, but will need it before registering the car with the police. And then there is the question of money. Cash is the medium preferred by all of the dealers. However, Autobazár Charlie, Henrich Kurth, Aster, Auto - Kali and Euromobilex accept payments by bank transfer. If you pay by bank transfer, you can only pick up the car after the money is in the dealer's account. Buyers do not have to pay any VAT on used cars, which is one nice perk.
Most lots have their own mechanic, but it is recommended that you have the car checked out by a mechanic you trust before putting down any cash.