Saturday, March 09, 2013

Renault Buyback Program in Europe

Travelling around Europe by car is not the first choice of most visitors, but it does have some advantages. A car enables you to penetrate out-of-the-way corners where few other tourists venture, and to find lodging and restaurants in small towns and rural areas that can be significantly cheaper than large cities.
I have driven around much of Western Europe, but not in recent years with much greater volumes of traffic. It was an interesting experience, but fairly isolating except for the times when I travelled with friends or my parents. In general, renting a car on your own is not the cheapest way to go. For two or more people, though, it can compare favourably to travel by train or bus. And, in a pinch, you can always sleep in or beside the car.
One interesting option is the buyback program offered by the French car manufacturer Renault ( This program is available for a minimum of 21 days, and offers pickup and drop locations in several European countries other than France, as well as many in France. The trick is that non-French locations usually have an extra fee. The price includes complete insurance, roadside assistance and the help, should you need it, of 17,000 authorized service places in Europe. There are age requirements--any driver 18 or over can rent. The cars are brand new.
I checked a 21 day rental for what seemed to be the least expensive car, with manual shift, and it came to $1,030 U.S., $300 some dollars per week. This is not a huge bargain, but compares favourably to many car rentals with their added fees.
My friend Pat McDougall and his wife Marie used this program to travel around France and Switzerland a few years ago, and were mostly pleased with it. The program is available only to non-residents of Europe.
If you choose to go with Renault, it might be easier on your nerves to pick up the car in a city smaller than Paris. Facing the Peripherique of Paris with jet lag after an overnight flight is not an experience I would wish to have.
I will regale you with some of my tales of adventure and mishap while driving in Europe at a later date.


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