I am looking to rent a car in Germany and have been looking at Sixt and Enterprise. I will be taking the car cross borders to Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and back to Germany for drop off.

Anyways I noticed something that bugged me: Those countries are classified as Zone 2 and some specific car brands, noticeable VW/Audi/BMW/Merc. cannot be taken or else you loose all insurance.

That seems odd and I would really like to understand what is the logic behind that policy.

Thanks a lot.

  • 4
    Probably the risk of theft of those brands is too high. – Spehro Pefhany Mar 18 '17 at 0:46
  • 1
    While I assume this has to do with insurance and risk of theft, the overall vehicle theft rates (per 100,000 population and according to Eurostat) are far higher in countries like Italy and Sweden than, say, Poland. It is, of course, possible that this is more of a reporting problem, or that certain luxury rental cars are far more of a theft magnet in these countries than elsewhere. – Zach Lipton Mar 18 '17 at 0:51
  • 2
    Just to clarify, when I say VW/Audi/BMW/Merc I mean every model of those makes. A Volkswagen Golf or a Audi A3 or even a BMW 3 is not exactly a luxury car. – ddutra Mar 18 '17 at 1:02
  • 2
    Maybe not for you, @ddutra, but for people being used to Lada it is. Anyway, they get heavily stolen. – Aganju Mar 18 '17 at 10:51
  • In the USA, the most commonly stolen cars are typically ordinary low to mid-range Japanese sedans, things like Toyota Corollas and Honda Accords. These have high parts value. – Robert Columbia Mar 18 '17 at 13:04

Exactly the reason Sphero Pefhany mentioned: The risk of theft and loss of car is much too high.

The long time of the Cold War lowered the living standard in Eastern Europe, most countries in Eastern Europe have still very cheap living costs. Eastern Europe also joined the EU very late, so the income gap was still very high.

Therefore many organized and high-professional theft gangs exist; most of the cars are stolen in Germany (especially luxury cars), moved as fast as possible over the border and then worked over in workshops (For example: 64 % of all car thefts in Berlin and Brandenburg are committed by Polish gangs).

Some of the thiefs are capable to remove immobilizers, but they sometimes take several cars of the same type apart completely apart and exchange parts to make identication and recovery impossible.

After Eastern Europe joined the EU, the increasing wealth and the higher standard of living caused a steady decrease of thefts, but still the numbers are very high and the new EU members are still a transit land to the other, non-EU countries like Ukraine or Belarus with a high demand for cars.

ADDITION: In the comments it was asked why some brands can be taken over the border. That is easy to answer: It is not sufficient to have a car, you need also the whole infrastructure of spare parts, so you look out for brands which are widespread in Europe, have a high demand and are therefore easy to sell.


No Škoda (Czech), no VOLVO (Swedish).
Honda and Toyota build excellent cars, but they still are in the minority, are conspicous and have more a reputation for reliability than for projecting images (Except the ATVs/jeeps, they are also very much sought-after). Ford is mostly American.

Thiefs also try to maximize the gain, so they specialize in specific brands with high resale value where they know the security measures and how to manipulate/circumvent them. So even a reliable luxury car can be taken over safely if it does not match the target profile of the thiefs.

  • Thanks for the reply. Still some things are weird. Expensive cars like VOLVOs can be taken. Skodas can be taken. – ddutra Mar 18 '17 at 12:16
  • Very, very strange, I set the correct ranking, but if I format them as numbers, they are display consecutive as 9., 10., 11. .... So that is the reason I formatted the ranking the ugly way. – Thorsten S. Mar 18 '17 at 13:02
  • 1
    It might not be the theft from a real customer they fear, but theft by gangs who rent with false ID's and simply don't return the car. – RHA Apr 23 '17 at 10:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.