How does the vehicle registration scheme work in practice and what does it cost?

Our scheme involves creating a simple company structure in order to register your vehicle in France. The company is created by our English speaking, French Chartered Juridical Service.

The company structure is called a “Societe Civile” and it is designated by the French government specifically to house assets. It is not a trading company but is simply used to hold assets such as property, vehicles, machinery etc. The company can be set up by anyone, regardless of where in the world they are domiciled and the shares in the company can be owned by two or more shareholders.

You are the sole owners of the company and the share capital (the value of the company) is a minimum of €1 so there is no cash shareholding deposit to be made.

The company must have a “Domicile” address in France (one where the owners can be contacted) and we provide that address for you at our hire depot in Burgundy, it is included in the Storage fees if you store your vehicle, but you will have to pay annual fees of around 150€ if you just need our address. The only function of this address is to receive official documents on your behalf and unlike us claiming that you are “resident” here, it is 100% legal for us to host any number of companies at our commercial address.  We will provide you with a copy of our terms and conditions of hosting your company at our address before you submit the application to our accountant but if you would like to see them beforehand, please do not hesitate to ask and we will email a copy of them to you.

Once the company registration formalities are complete you will be issued with an “Extrait d’enregistrement au Greffe de Commerce” (known in France as the “Kbis”) which shows you as the owner of the company and allows you to register the vehicle in the company’s name. As sole owners of the company, you have full legal title to your vehicle and you will have a vehicle registration certificate in the company name to keep in your possession.

The vehicle registration certificate (called the Carte Gris in France) is THE proof of ownership here. You cannot buy or sell a vehicle without being in possession of a registration certificate so by virtue of the fact that the certificate is in the name of a company which you own and control, you are by default the fully legal title holder and owner of the vehicle.

The creation of the company is a complex procedure and must be carried out by a professional so we work with French accountancy firm to handle this procedure. They will contact you directly to complete the formalities following our introduction.

Company registration usually takes around a month but once you have started the process, there is nothing to stop you finding and buying a vehicle and starting your trip. The formalities can be completed at a later date.

There are no tax implications for this company structure and just one simple declaration to make each year which is handled by the Accountants as part of their initial fee. There are no further fees to consider on an on-going basis.

In order to secure a vehicle from our stock, we require a 30% deposit to hold a vehicle pending collection but the balance is only payable once you are ready to actually take delivery of the vehicle. The deposit is non-refundable, except where the vehicle has undisclosed faults (which is never!). We would not, for example, refund the deposit in the event you simply do not like the colour or changed your mind about the layout but this situation has yet to arise!

Likely ownership costs and costs associated with using our scheme

All costs detailed below are inclusive of tax.

Purchase, registration and insurance

Vehicle purchase price – we have a selection of new and used vehicles available, usually ranging in price from €25,000 to €100,000 depending on model and age.

Company registration fees, professional fees payable to the Accountants and other administration costs to establish the company structure (payable directly to our Chartered Account at the outset): €1800 to 2000€. The company must have a “Domicile” address in France and we provide that address for you at our hire depot, it is included in the Storage fees if you store your vehicle, but you will have to pay annual fees of around 150€ if you just need our address.

Vehicle registration fee, approximately: €650 (one off fee, NOT repeated annually).  When registering a new vehicle (one which has never been registered before), the manufacturer charges a fee to provide the documents which prove European compliance so you should add a further €275 to 1500€ to complete the registration process. You also need to know that to keep the registration off the vehicle in France and prove that is is roadworthy, you’ll need to have a security inspection “Controle Technique” (the UK calls it M.O.T) that can cost 100€ to 300€ every 2 years if the vehicle is less than 3500 kg and every year if it is more.

Fully comprehensive insurance (annual premium) between: €750 and €1500 per year for a vehicle worth €30000 to €50000 . You can obtain a discount if “no-claims” status in your home country can be proven. Insurance is explained in greater detail on this page

Likely ongoing costs of ownership

Like all vehicles, motorhomes and campervans depreciate so it is inevitable that you will lose money over the course of a long-term trip. The precise level of depreciation is difficult to calculate accurately because market conditions could play a part in the rate of depreciation but generally, a well-kept vehicle with a popular layout will resell easily and maintain its price well.

In our experience, the likely cost of vehicle depreciation can be calculated as follows:

Based upon a purchase price of €30,000 to €45,000:-

  • Age related depreciation is likely to be €4,000 per year of ownership
  • Mileage related depreciation is likely to reduce the vehicle’s value by around €1000 per 10,000 kilometres added to the odometer reading.
  • Hence, a vehicle with a purchase price of €30,000 sold one year later having covered an additional 20,000 kilometres is likely to be worth around €24,000.

Disposal costs

As explained in our vehicle selling option page, you are free to sell your vehicle in a number of different ways. If you sell your vehicle directly to a buyer that you have found and carry out the handover yourself, no cost is incurred. If you want a completely hassle-free sale, we will handle the disposal of the vehicle for you on a commission basis at 10% fees included or if you find a buyer yourselves but need us to handle the sale and handover to the new owner, we charge a fee of 8% (taxes included too).

Visit our page outlining other likely trip costs to help arrive at your whole-trip budget

We would be delighted to help you get started on your motorhome adventure here in Europe so please get in touch if there is more information you need or you would simply like to talk to someone based here in France with a wealth of experience to share.

Latest Blogs

New arrivals of vehicles for 2022 !!

We have good news for motor-home users :In sum, we have recently added 8 new camper-vans on our website, […] Read more

Take in the Vendée Globe yacht race on your French motorhome trip

The legendary yacht race ‘Vendée Globe’ has just kicked off this week. It is an un-assisted, solo navigation of the […] Read more

Podcast Episode #004 with Sebastien from Movera

A few days ago Sebastien from paid us a visit to talk about his catalogue and shop. As part […] Read more


“I bought a motorhome and peace of mind”

First photo from Daniel and Denise's motorhome trip after buying from Euro Camping Cars

I bought a motorhome and I especially bought peace of mind by doing business with Phill and his team. When… Read more ““I bought a motorhome and peace of mind””

Daniel and Denise

“I’m now part of the family”

Debrah's motorhome testimonial

Do you want to own and store an RV near Paris? Think of the freedom! For me this was the… Read more ““I’m now part of the family””


“Dreams Do Come True!”

Motorhome testimonial from Todd & Sharni

Just the other day, parked up in our camping car at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in southern Spain,… Read more ““Dreams Do Come True!””

Todd and Sharni