**UPDATE ON RESIDENT STATUS**
Buying A Car In Ecuador
If you are planning on living or Retiring In Ecuador you might want to eventually consider buying a car in Ecuador. Recently we purchased a brand new Chevrolet Sail($16,490) car in Manta. For us, we are full time residents of Ecuador now, so a car just made sense for us. Our home is near Puerto Cayo, so we have to either go to Puerto Cayo to shop for small items, or go to Manta for the larger grocery items. So for us buying a car in Ecuador was an absolute necessity. If you live in some of the cities in Ecuador, then you might be able to get away from not having your own vehicle, and just using public transportation. That would certainly save you some “dough” to spend elsewhere.
So you are wondering how difficult can buying a car in Ecuador be? Well I am going to answer that and give you my reason why I think it is a good idea to buy new and not used.
Buying A Car In Ecuador
Buying the car in Ecuador was actually the easy part, the difficult part is getting it registered. Let me tell you it required some running around and paying for this and that, going to this place to pay for that, and then going somewhere else to register this….One thing for certain about Ecuador is that they don’t have a very good logic or efficiency when pushing around paper. Instead of getting things done in one or two places like we are used to, Ecuadorians need to run all over the city getting things signed, paid, copies made for documents and the list goes on. Sometimes it takes nearly a half a day just to do something that should take an hour. But this is another country and if we are to live in it, then we must also have the tolerence that the Ecuadorians do when they need to get things done. You really appreciate an efficient and convenient run system like we have in the United States or Canada. Sure we have our complaints, but let me tell you, when you experience what some other countries do, you quickly have an appreciation for what you have and know.
So here’s what we needed to do when we were buying a car in Ecuador.
- Go to the dealer of your choice and pick out your vehicle you want. There’s not much of a discount available when you are buying a new car in Ecuador. This is just the way it is, so forget about getting much taken off the sticker price. In fact we just got a little more then $300 taken off, and that was part of the salesperson’s commission.
- Make sure you have the funds to pay for the vehicle in an Ecuadorian bank account. Wire transfer from an international bank would be excepted but it would take longer, give you more red tape, and it would cost you money to do the transfer.
- Once your bank in Ecuador transfer’s the money to the dealership, go to the dealership and tell them that you just came from your bank and you transferred money to them for the amount of the vehicle. (The bank in Ecuador you deal with will give you the copy of the withdrawal showing the name to whom it was paid to as proof you did the transfer to the dealership. Show the dealership the slip, and then they will verify that the funds were put in their account.)
- You will have to get your vehicle registered with the local Police. This is called SOAT (Seguro Obligatorio Accidentes Transito) The information provided to the police comes from the dealership when they took all the information from you, your address, passport number, VIN number of the vehicle, make and model etc. They give the information to the police, and then the police will give you the SOAT sticker that goes on the inside of your windshield, and SOAT id card that stays in your vehicle glove box. Basically you just wait as it will be delivered to the dealership you bought the car from, and then they notify you when it comes to them. This process took about 10 business days. ( So you basically drive around with no license plates on your car until you get this.) A strange concept, but that is normal here. When they receive the SOAT you have to go to the bank to pay for it. $21.72 (with the assistance of the salesperson where you purchased the vehicle.)
- You do have insurance though. After the dealership receives confirmation that they have received the money for the vehicle from you, the salesperson who sold us our vehicle, promptly took us to purchase insurance for the vehicle. You have a choice of full or partial coverage. They have different options for insurance, and is similar to that of the United States. We opted for the full coverage, as we were advised that being a “gringo” you want to be fully insured to protect yourself. Full coverage for 12 months is $725.45 with a $200 deductible.
- After you purchase your insurance you need to go back to the bank with the salesperson to pay for the Matricula. This essentially is the vehicle’s license plates registration. The cost for this is $104.50. You receive both the SOAT and the Matricula at the same time which is delivered to the dealership. Like I said earlier it was around 10 business days.
The reason I would buy new when buying a car in Ecuador
- Unlike what we are used to, vehicle in Ecuador hold their value and don’t depreciate that much. You would pay only two or three thousand dollars less for a vehicle that is 2 or 3 years old with low mileage.
- Don’t buy someone else’s mechanical problems, or neglected and hard driven vehicle.
- Warranty is good.
- Resale value.
- This one is the biggest for me…The dealership and salesperson take care of all the red tape and paperwork needed to register, license and insure your vehicle. The salesperson takes the responsibility to assist you in the process.
If you were to buy used, you would need to do it all yourself, with maybe the assistance of a translator. Also when you buy used you have to go to the police to make sure there is no liens on the vehicle, or outstanding money owed on the insurance and registration. If you don’t check the details properly you need to pay this out of your own pocket. Also the process takes much longer as you get “hung up” in red tape. The dealerships seem to have priority over regular citizens purchasing vehicles used and privately.
So what are you waiting for, go purchase that vehicle and go do some sightseeing around Ecuador.