My first piece of advice for anyone who is thinking about becoming a permanent expat in Mexico is leave your foreign plated car behind and buy one in Mexico.
I have explained my reasoning in several previous articles, but just in case you missed all of them, you can check out Moving to Mexico: The One Thing that Many People Wish They Had Done Differently.
This article is for those folks who followed the advice and are now looking to buy a new car in Mexico.
Many soon-to-be expats start looking at possible new cars online before they move down. This is a great way to narrow down the options but it’s important that you’re looking at the manufacturer’s Mexican site because the available models and equipment options vary from country to country.
Here are a few of them to get you started:
Chevrolet México: http://www.chevrolet.com.mx/
Ford México: https://www.ford.mx/
Honda México: https://www.honda.mx/
Hyundai México: https://www.hyundai.com.mx/
Nissan México: https://www.nissan.com.mx/
Seat México: http://www.seat.mx/
One thing that I love about the prices in Mexico is that by law, the displayed price must be the total amount to be paid to obtain the item, including all taxes, fees and commissions. This will make it easier for you to calculate the cost of a particular vehicle as you look through the sites above.
Some car manufacturers will list two different prices: one for credit (crédito) and one for cash (al contado).
Registering a vehicle in Mexico is not considered part of the purchase and the responsibility of doing it falls on the buyer. That means that those fees are not included in the displayed prices.
The Art of Negotiation
In the U.S., very few prices are negotiable but the price of a new car is definitely the exception to the rule. Some people love the negotiation process, while others absolutely loathe it. If you’re in the latter group, you’ll be happy to hear that new car prices are generally non-negotiable in Mexico. In other words, the price is the price.
There are always exceptions, such as negotiating a lower price for a model that was used as a demo. You can also ask them to throw in some free floor mats or services as an incentive not to go to another dealership.
I’m not talking about your credit card either — I’m referring to your immigration status.
Generally speaking, a non-citizen cannot register a vehicle unless they have either a temporary or permanent resident visa. This is a source of frustration for many Americans and Canadians that enter the country with just a tourist visa.
I used the term “generally speaking” above because the rules are not consistently enforced across the country. There will always be certain dealerships and government offices that forget to ask about immigration status.
Let’s Wrap This Up
If you do decide to buy a new car and you don’t speak Spanish, you might want to ask one of your bilingual friends to go with you to verify what you’re actually signing. You don’t want to end up buying an entire fleet of minivans by mistake.