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importing a car

Discussion forum for expats moving to or living in Costa Rica.

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importing a car

Post Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:05 am

i'm curious how much a crapshoot it is, with regards to passing inspection.

with the import tariffs, i assumed that car prices are higher there. a quick look in the Tico Times as well as www.edmunds.com seemed to indicate that costs are significantly higher:

Tico Times Edmunds
96 Suzuki Sidekick $6000 $3800
89 Mitsubishi Montero $4900 $1500 (for 1990 model)
99 Toyota 4Runner $21k $14k
93 Jeep Cherokee $5300 $2700
98 Land Rover $28k $12k

i also read somewhere that cars that have been caught in floods can be sold in a different part of the country with no mention of the submersion. i'm guessing that a service like Carfax is not available (at least judging by the lack of good hit for 'carfax costa rica' in Google). this makes buying a used car there sound like quite an expensive & risky proposition.

on another list, it was suggested that a car may not pass inspection, and i am assuming that would be more likely with a 20 yr old car. since i won't know a good mechanic or a reliable source for buying a car, i'd feel more comfortable bringing something like a 5 yr old certified pre-owned vehicle that i've had checked out by my own mechanic. is the inspection something to be concerned about? what could someone find wrong with a well-kept, nearly new car?

additionally, how much would it cost to ship a car? i assume i'd have to use a container, so perhaps that would be how we'd ship whatever we needed to? we weren't planning on bringing anythng like furniture since we want to rent initially.

thanks,

arp

 

puthupa
Regular Poster
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Re: importing a car

Post Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:07 am

ps i just read that cars over 5 yrs can't be imported? but that does not apply to SUVs?

 

puthupa
Regular Poster
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Re: importing a car

Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:44 pm

I recommend buying a car here, here is a complete article on the subject:

Buying a car in Costa Rica Top Tips to a Successful Purchase

When you buy from an agency they will take the car to the technical inspection for you and make sure it passes. Unless the car has recently passed it. You can also look at cars from agencies who import them. If you buy a car that is just entering the country, then you could check it out on the Car Fax service.

You won't save any money importing the car yourself, or you will save very little. There is no limitation (currently) on the age of cars that can be imported. The difference in prices is due to the import duty, which is 30% - 85%, depending on how old the car is with older cars paying the most.

The 1996 Suzuki Sidekick for example: (96 Suzuki Sidekick $6000 $3800)

Take the $3800, add $600 for shipping and insurance and multiply by 85% duty = $ 8140 would be your total cost more or less. $6000 - $ 6500 would be what you would pay at an importing agency in all likelihood.

I wouldn't say that buying a flood damaged car is a big risk either. The topography of the country prevents widespread flooding. The majority of flooding recurs in particular spots, so most people would drive their car to higher ground. Not that it couldn't happen, but not too likely IMHO.

The technical inspection isn't so hard to pass anymore. The first year it was implemented most cars probably did not pass, since nobody really knew what to expect. Now you take your car in for a wash, tuneup and alignment first. Your mechanic will check for any repairs that might be needed like replacing the shocks or tires and most cars should pass on the first try. If not, you get a specific report with what repairs you have to make and you will pass on the second try.


_________________

Russ Martin
American European Real Estate Costa Rica
www.american-european.net

 

AE_Russ
Frequent Poster
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Re: importing a car

Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:50 pm

You can see some importer's car prices here:

Costa Rica Autos for Sale

AutocarCR Site


_________________

Russ Martin
American European Real Estate Costa Rica
www.american-european.net

 

AE_Russ
Frequent Poster
Frequent Poster
 
 
  
Re: importing a car

Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:53 pm

thanks for some straight-up info. i seem to have had the tariff thing wrong - i figured that older cars would have less tariffs involved, not more, but it makes sense now.

 

puthupa
Regular Poster
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