A new government app that aims to lighten the bureaucracy around buying and selling a used car in France is now available to download nationwide.
Simplimmat.gouv was released after a successful trial period. It enables buyers and sellers of used cars to follow the necessary steps to legally exchange the vehicle. Users can do this through their smartphone as long as the seller and buyer are both physically present.
Image: Screenshot / Apple
What is the selling/buying registration process in France?
In France, anyone selling their vehicle to another private individual must declare the administrative transfer of the vehicle within 15 days after the physical transfer of the vehicle to the buyer.
This means that any offences committed by the new owner (the buyer) are registered to them and not to the seller. The buyer is also required to have a ‘carte grise’ (vehicle registration document) issued in their name within one month of the vehicle transfer.
Read more: How do you sell a second-hand car in France?
What does the new app do?
The app replaces the need for physical paperwork and the process can reportedly be completed in 10 minutes. It is recommended to follow the steps at the same time as the keys are handed over.
This means responsibility relating to the car, subsequent driving offences etc, is transferred immediately.
The buyer can also apply for a new carte grise at the same time, which they should receive within three or four days to their specified address.
To use the app, the buyer and seller must both be physically present, and have 4G coverage to their smartphones. Each must have the app downloaded and have their vehicle paperwork to hand.
Using the app avoids problems later. For example, before the app, the seller had to fill in and co-sign a paper Cerfa form, and then register the transfer on the ANTS (Agence nationale des titres sécurisés) website. If they failed to do this, the buyer could be blocked from registering the vehicle in their name.
Improved vehicle checking
The app also enables users to check the vehicle's administrative status, giving the buyer extra security.
If there are any problems with the status (for example, if the vehicle is reported as stolen), Simplimmat blocks the sale.
Successful app trials
The app was successfully tested in 2021 in the Centre Val de Loire and Normandy regions as well as in the Yvelines department. Testing continued in 2022 in the Brittany and Ile-de-France regions.