I'm working for a company which will provide me with a car, but I will be working abroad for a couple of years. Can someone explain how the car should be registered (owner vs keeper) in order to avoid the foreign authorities demand the car be registered locally?
I've been trying to find a definite answer around this issue, but couldn't really, so anything below is mainly speculation, and assumes that by "the continent" you mean an EU state in mainland Europe. Norwey, Switzerland and other non-EU countries might be different, and there local laws will apply.
If you check the EU's site, they say the 6 month compulsory registration doesn't seem to affect company cars (see section Self-Employed Cross Border Workers), and even if the company is outside of the EU (even if they are Schengen countries like Norway or Switzerland) you should be able to use it for work related purposes.
In any case, if you have a company car registered outside of the country you are in, you should only use it for work. (If the company is outside of the EU personal use is illegal, if inside the EU occasional personal use is okay. If the UK decides to leave the EU this might be an extra concern of you).
Based on this I guess having a car registered in the UK is fine, especially if the company doesn't have a subsidiary in the country you'll be living/working in.
On the other hand there are a lot of other things a company might consider:
- Taxation: company car taxes might be more strict or more relaxed in the chosen country.
- Insurance: finding an insurance company that allows you to drive your car abroad for more than 6 months is hard in the UK, and they might be prohibitively expensive. On the other hand a local insurance company insuring a local company car is usually much cheaper
- The car itself: In the UK you'll probably can only buy a right hand drive car as a company car, which might be very annoying to drive on the continent itself long term (although you can use to it).
In any case both the owner and the keeper should be the company itself.
Anecdotally I know of a dual Hungarian/British company who all use Hungarian based cars in the UK (because the costs - especially insurance - are much much lower in Hungary), and they've been doing this for quite a few years now without any issues from the UK authorities. The cars are only used for work related purposes by the employees of the company though.