Costa Rica News – When I traveled around Europe I used to call the little cars that people were driving “meep meep” cars. I picture the scene from the movie “Just Married” when he is driving the little car and says we could really use a Dodge right now.
The vehicle brand from China, Fulu, first entered Costa Rica in 2013 with a clear objective to be the “cheapest cars in the Costa Rican market.” This would be quite a feat considering the import taxes on the vehicles that Costa Rica imposes.
Initially they will offer the public two models, both with four doors and four passengers. The FLC5, with an engine of 150 cubic centimeters (cc) and a price of $ 6,990 (¢ 3.5 million colones) and the FLC3, with a 600 cc engine, which you can buy a $ 8,990 (¢ 4.5 million). The vehicles are gasoline, although the agency expressed interest in importing electric versions later.
The idea is to attract an audience that does not have access to a vehicle for the high costs involved. “We want to reach people who have never been able to have car because you do not have sufficient liquidity to meet a monthly bank payment,” said the Fulu representative.
To accomplish this, the agency stated that the payments are deemed equivalent to the approximate cost of the users to use public transportation.
“It is intended that the share of the bank is more or less what a person spends on bus tickets per month,” said the Fulu rep. The fee for FLC5, for example, is $ 81 a month, through a financing agreement with Banco Cathay.
While this is great for those people that are residents in Costa Rica and can get bank financing. A lot of cars in Costa Rica are financed for like 10 years. It would be interesting to see the bank financing that they are offering. If you divide $6,990 by $81 you get 86 months or a little over 7 years. My guess would be the financing would be for 10 years making these vehicles valued at $9,720 for this vehicle.
Is a 150 cc vehicle work close to $10,000? Is this just another way for China to get another foothold in Costa Rica?
Why don’t we address the real problem; the import taxes that Costa Rica is charging on vehicles. This is what causes most people to not be able to afford cars here. It would be one thing if Costa Rica actually made cars here and it was to boost the economy, but instead it is just a way for them to get extra money on a required fee that they are charging the public.
Taxes for vehicles for the current year and 3 years back pay 52.29%, 4 to 5 years back pay 63.91% and 6 or more years back 79.03%.
But although this seems high I would rather import a vehicle I know the past from the USA than buy a used one here. You have no idea where the car has been here and if the mileage has bee rolled back. I found a 95 Toyota 4 runner for about $2000 in the USA, cost of shipping, registration and taxes was $3500. I saw the Carfax and knew the history. That $5,500 car would sell for $8000 plus here and you would not know its history. Whether you ship your car or not depends on the car and your budget.
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