They are made in Germany (in Cologne), so I guess it's ok. My friend Matthias and I looked at alot of cars in the last 2 weeks, and this is the one that fit our criteria the best, regardless of make (we mainly looked at VW and Opel, this was the only Ford).
The important things that we looked for and what the Ford has:
Style: Kombi (stationwagon)
Low kilometers: 96000km (60,000 miles)
Current smog and inspection reports
Single owner (older guy)
Detailed maintenance records
No major body damage
It runs great
...and the best part is the price...1100 euros!!
There is nothing fancy with the car...no auto windows, no A/C, nothing special inside, but it is perfect for our needs. It has a sunroof even (hand crank style, but whatever)! The muffler vibrates loudly at about 2800 rpm's but it's tolerable. There is a tear in the seat. We had seen some cars that were 1700 euros that were not as nice, so I am happy. We will need some luck for sure to get through 2 years of travelling and driving without it breaking down, but thats the case with any old car. Gotta get the AAA equivalent so we dont get stranded anywhere (better learn "help, we are on the side of the autobahn" in Deutsch).
I could never have done this without Mattias' car knowledge, german and people skills, this guy has gone way beyond in helping us out. I gave him some gas money :)
I do not have my german drivers license, but I can use my Oregon one for up to a year. I dread the beauracracy invloved in getting a new one. I have to take a theoretical test and pay a bunch of money.
Car insurance is 181 euros a year! That blew my mind. Why is it so expensive in the US? I was thinking maybe because everyone is covered with health insurance over here that the insurance companies dont have to pay any medical bills. I bet that is it.
There is a law over here that you must have a first aid kit, one of those orange triangles for the road to put around your car when it's injured, and a bright orange saftey vest. So we got all that tonight at the German Wal-Mart (Real its called, but its just like Wal Mart). We had never been there because it was in the boonies and away from public transport, but now we can! Lots of cheap stuff. You should see the beer, chocolate, meat, and yoghurt aisles...I must take pics next time. I did get one pic of the 5L mini keg stand:
So now we have wheels. I am daydreaming of another pilgrimage to Westvleteren. Need some belgian beer back in my life. Jenna's parents are here in less than a week, so we will do some travelling around, for sure. It will be nice to have the car, but we will still be using our bikes, the trains and busses for short journeys and to work and school, etc. Makes no sense driving around Stuttgart. There are some lakes in the black forest that are perfect for swimming, so i hope to hit those in the near future. I feel free again! Just pile the kid and the dog and all our crap in the car. EASY.
I dread the "our car is broken" blog posting :)