That Time I Went to Sweden to Buy a Car

July 17th, 2011

A few months ago, my husband Chris and I realized that it was time to get a new car. His reason being that our old car was out of warranty, my reason being that it was cheaper than paying someone to vacuum out the five metric tons of cracker crumbs in the backseat. So, we did what anyone would do when buying a new car: we flew to Sweden.

Some of you may have heard of Volvo’s European Delivery program before, but for those of you who haven’t, it’s kind of unbelievable. (Note: I know that sounds advertise-y, but Volvo didn’t ask me to write this post about them because, let’s face it, nobody ever asks me to write a post about them.)

The way it works is you go to your local dealership, pick out the new car you want (any model or price counts), then ask for the EDP. This automatically saves you some percentage off the sale price (it varies, but we  saved 12%) and includes two round-trip tickets from wherever you are to the beautiful city of Gothenburg, Sweden. Once there, they put you up at the nicest hotel in town, then a Volvo limo takes you to the huge Volvo factory where you sign some papers, take a factory tour and eat a nice Swedish meatball lunch. Then finally, the huge garage doors open and your brand new car rolls out ready for you to claim.

Here’s Chris with our new baby:

Five miles on the odometer and not a single freaking crumb. My kids will not be allowed to touch it.

Once you take possession, you’re free to do whatever you want with the car. Some people put it on the ferry to Germany, then drive around Europe. Some (like us this time) just drive it for few hours then turn it back in. No matter what you do, Volvo will ship it back to the US at no charge (but a 4-6 week delivery time) when you’re ready to let them have it.

We also did this new car adventure four years ago, but that time we drove up the Swedish coastline to the breathtaking Norwegian fjords. (Since I’m 3/4 Norwegian, I thought I was entitled to free beer and lutefisk, but no dice. Those Vikings can be totally mean when you call them “Thor the Bore.”)

Anyway, here’s me four years ago with our Volvo in Norway:

I’m a lot thinner now. That was after a week of meatball eating.

And here’s the view out our hotel window in Norway:

It looks just like Texas. If Texas had mountains and water and no jet skis.

There were many, many things I loved about our trip, not the least of which was that 100% of the Swedes thought I was a local and spoke to me in Swedish. It was amazing to be around so many blondes—I felt like I was either at a family reunion or the Playboy mansion. (Also, the way you say hello in Sweden is “Hej,” pronounced “Hey.” Very similar to the Texan “Heyyy, gurrrl.” I felt completely at home.) I’ll be sure to write more this week about the countries we went to after Sweden and some of the amusing things we saw, like 5,000 Scandinavian Metallica fans and a one-armed German lady selling thongs, so stay tuned.

But all in all, we loved our experience with Sweden, with Volvo and with all of the wonderful people we met along the way. It was an amazing trip and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Maybe in four more years when the crumbs are back.




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Add your own

  • 1. Alison@Mama Wants This  |  July 17th, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Very nice!! So buy a Volvo, go to Sweden? All car manufacturers should offer that option of a European trip. I’ll be headed to Italy if I had my way.

  • 2. Becky  |  July 17th, 2011 at 9:57 am

    My sister is married to a Swede and he has never mentioned this option for car purchasing to us. I can’t help but think it’s his way of keeping Sweden pristine…by keeping his in-laws out. Smart man.

  • 3. Denise Hinton  |  July 17th, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Is that thong as in flip flops or thong as in crack panties?

  • 4. Nancy Davis Kho  |  July 17th, 2011 at 10:49 am

    We’ve been talking about doing that for years but our trusty 2005 Volvo station wagon (aka my urban pimp mobile) refuses to die. Damn the swedes and their vehicle quality. Will be looking forward to reading more. Last time I was in Sweden the booze was so expensive that my boyfriend and I had to take turns having a single beer with dinner, alternating nights. So in some ways I don’t really ever want to go there again.

  • 5. Ivan Toblog  |  July 17th, 2011 at 11:59 am

    When you said lutefisk the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I almost lost my breakfast.
    You should post warnings when you’re gonna do that.

  • 6. Sophie@Fabrications  |  July 17th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    So you buy a Volvo, get a 12% discount and a round trip to Sweden?
    This is so wrong. I hope you get peanut butter on them crumbs.

  • 7. OHmommy  |  July 17th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Are you serious? Sounds too good to be true. I think my next car will be a Volvo. I’m demanding that my kids eat all of their meals inside my car from now on.

  • 8. Jill @BabyRabies  |  July 17th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Of to total my Jeep!

  • 9. Deb Rox  |  July 17th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I can imagine you absolutely at home there. Fabulous!! Did you eat open-faced sandwiches and polske too? Dang, I want to go now!

  • 10. Mandy  |  July 17th, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Um, WOW. That is amazing.

  • 11. Christina  |  July 17th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Sister!!! I totally forgot that you guys were doing this. Dan will be very jealous to read this. Do you think I could rent him to take Dan to lunch to convince him to partake in the EDP? Glad you guys had fun!

  • 12. Samina  |  July 17th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I’m so jealous! I’ve wanted to do European delivery on a vehicle for ages. I wonder if Jeep does EDP? Is Detroit in Europe or does it just seem like it’s a foreign country?

  • 13. Karen in KS  |  July 17th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Gee, I just told my husband I wanted to buy a Volvo – he just laughed at me. I guess the fact that I just bought a car last month might have had something to do with that. :(
    I better remember about this when I buy my next car!!

  • 14. M Long  |  July 17th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    If you lease,Can you still do this?

  • 15. Elise  |  July 17th, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    What do you mean no one wants you to write a post about them?!?! That’s crazy talk! I think it would be freakin’ awesome to have a post about me written by you but please note I can’t pay you in cars or fly you to Sweden for fjording and Swedish meatballs. But that doesn’t matter much since you already have those things! Sounds like a winning proposition, no?

    And I’m glad to know where you were on your “vacation.” It sounds like a fun time. Looking forward to the pics of granny thongs and such.

  • 16. Marinka  |  July 17th, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    That sounds fantastic. And congratulations on the new addition to your family.

  • 17. Savannah  |  July 17th, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Just curious, did you have to pay a ton in taxes when it was shipped back to the US?

  • 18. Jill  |  July 17th, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    That. Is. Awesome!

  • 19. Lady Bren  |  July 18th, 2011 at 12:11 am

    well now don’t we all want a new volvo

  • 20. susie@newdaynewlesson  |  July 18th, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Wow-loved that picture!

  • 21. Muffintopmommy  |  July 18th, 2011 at 5:49 am

    No. way.
    My Suburban was made in Te-jas and what did I get?
    Not even a pair of cowboy boots, y’all!

  • 22. Brandi  |  July 18th, 2011 at 5:54 am

    That is too funny. I actually studied Swedish in collage just so I could do the same thing, but forgot that you actually need money to do so. I did learn to say “var ar tocken?” which will be handy if I do ever make it to Sweden and need to ask what time it is…

  • 23. Brandi  |  July 18th, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Eek, typo in college. Dang iPad and the autocorrection…

  • 24. MommyLisa  |  July 18th, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Wow – what they won’t do to sell a car and get tourists too!

  • 25. Jessie  |  July 18th, 2011 at 6:22 am

    never heard of this! so cool! just told my husband the next car i buy is from sweden.

  • 26. Wendi  |  July 18th, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I don’t think so, M. I think it has to be purchased.

  • 27. Wendi  |  July 18th, 2011 at 6:25 am

    No, just the regular taxes you would if you picked it up in the US.

  • 28. Fragrant Liar  |  July 18th, 2011 at 7:03 am

    The Universe, and the Swedes, do things in wondrous ways. I’m so getting a Volvo next time.

  • 29. Julia  |  July 18th, 2011 at 7:55 am


    My husband (also a Chris) has been yammering about getting a C70 for a few years now. Thanks to his recent mid-life crisis episode which resulted in us moving to Kansas, we can’t afford it at the moment. However, I see a trip in our future.

    I wonder if anybody repairs Volvos in Kansas….


  • 30. Diane  |  July 18th, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Awesome! Too bad the Swede’s aren’t breeding machines like me. When they make a vehicle that seats 6+, I’m so there.

  • 31. dusty earth mother  |  July 18th, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I went to Sweden many a moon ago (in the halcyon days before jet skis were invented) and just loved it. So extremely cool that you got to do this! Now I think you need to drive your Volvo to BlogHer, leap out gracefully and recite your Voice Of The Year selection, and jump back in while we all throw tulips. Oh, sorry, that’s Dutch.

  • 32. The mama bird diaries  |  July 18th, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I want to buy a car in Italy!! How do I do that? I’m so glad they didn’t make you drive that car home to Texas.

  • 33. Tara  |  July 18th, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Did you get to wear a sweater? Were you ever cold? Besides the fjords that HAD to be the best part….Yesterday my mulch almost started on fire.

  • 34. Tonya  |  July 18th, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Oh my god oh my god oh my god!!! I MUST do this! We lease a car at the moment so I will have to put a brick on the gas pedal and force it into the local lake/pond. Perhaps, I can earn a few extra bucks if there is anyone out there who wants a “passenger” in the car?

  • 35. Gail  |  July 18th, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Very cool. Closest I’ve ever gotten is riding the Maelstrom in Norway at EPCOT. Guess I should be paying closer attention to the commercials.

  • 36. Issa  |  July 18th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    My dad has a Volvo/Saab shop. I have never known this. I’m going to call him tonight and yell.

  • 37. Suniverse  |  July 19th, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I am buying a Volvo. I AM.

    PS How do you deal in the Texas heat with all that Scandanavian blood?

    I can’t wait to hear about your adventure!

  • 38. Missy @ Wonder, Friend  |  July 19th, 2011 at 11:49 am

    There’s a one-armed thong seller in Germany? I’m buying a Volvo now, just to get me one ocean closer to seeing that. Sold.

  • 39. Peajaye  |  July 19th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    A friend said Chrysler had that same deal, but you had to go to Detroit to pick up the car. Sadly, we never heard from him again.

  • 40. deborah l quinn  |  July 19th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    wowowowow. And the US auto makers wonder why people stopped buying American? Seriously? Shee-it. I don’t even like meatballs and I totally want to go! (plus the car is awfully pretty.)

  • 41. Cait  |  July 19th, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Glad you had a good trip! I think I might just have to buy me a Volvo. You can come pick it up with me and I can take you to all the good bars in Copenhagen :)

  • 42. Sans Safety First.  |  July 19th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Not only are you brilliant Wendi, but you’re smart as well!

  • 43. sparkling74  |  July 20th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    That is astounding. You would think US dealerships would let on to this little gem so they’d SELL MORE CARS! This way too good to be true! A round trip to Sweden would be worth it, let alone a 12% discount. I feel like if I went into our local Volvo dealership they would just fall down laughing because they’d say it’s not true. I think you need to broadcast this!

  • 44. Jennifer  |  July 20th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    That is completely cool. Did you have to pay cash or was it financed? Sorry if that is too personal of a question.

    Followed over from Kelley’s.

  • 45. Just Jennifer  |  July 20th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Really? You can really take a trip to Sweden to pick up your new Volvo? Really?

    We have a Volvo….

  • 46. Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him  |  July 20th, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Texas without jet skis! You’re gonna get evicted.

    This is really pretty awesome.

    I’m going to have to tell my friend’s Swedish nanny that Sweden has totally been redeemed and she can just forget all about that Swedish post I wrote.

  • 47. The Flying Chalupa  |  July 20th, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Dammit, we just bought a Volvo and you’re telling me I could’ve gotten a trip to Sweden out of it? Four more years and I am THERE! Do you think I’ll offend with my Finnish jokes?

  • 48. 23PinkElephants  |  July 21st, 2011 at 1:38 am

    My S40 and I were made for each other, but when he dies or needs to be upgraded to a bigger vehicle (my dream SUV XC90…totally jealous by the way) I will have to remember this.

  • 49. Jen  |  July 21st, 2011 at 6:21 am

    I want to do that when my Volvo wagon finally kicks the bucket. Part Swedish I feel it my duty to see the motherland. And, I want some good meatballs.

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