Import Cars to Panama

Is it feasible to import cars to Panama!!

Should cars be imported to Panama – In clear words “NO”. It turns out to be very expensive. You will have to buy a container to carry it which will cost you in thousands of dollars. Moreover, you will not be allowed to pack anything around your car for safe parking purpose other than placing things inside. Nobody will work for such exotic cars in Panama and you will never get its parts there too.

Need of a Clear Title – the car cannot be legally imported unless you own the clear title for the car. Even a registered owner cannot import it unless he shows that he owns the car and also has a transferable title in his own name. A leased or a financed car/motorcycle cannot be imported. A car with corporation to its title also becomes fussy to import as it needs to be proved that the import has been allowed by the corporation.

Missing Parts – The American cars made for the Latin American market usually lacks several safety and smog items like motors, intake systems, dashboard, exhaust system, airbags, doors, transmissions etc. It will be too expensive to get a 22 pound part to Panama from Fed Ex. The turbo diesel cars in panama are not even sold in North America and Europe. Korean, Chinese and Japanese cars are sold at a much cheaper rate in Panama than in Europe or North America. But these Japanese cars are itself Mexico or Guatemala made. The original cars from Japan like Mitsubishi and Honda do sell their models in North America with all required smog and safety items but this may not apply to all models. Hence, a check with the dealer is suggested.

Luxurious Cars - Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Lexus, Audi and BMW are the kinds of cars sold in Panama. Rolls Royce or Bentley is hardly seen. Maserati and Ferrari dealership is found but they are not big shots. SUV’s and small compact cars are found in abundance. Trailers and Motor homes are very rare. Trailer parks are non-existent.

Motorcycles – Big bike dealers like Harley are there in Panama.

Auto finance – Cash is the only way in Panama to buy cars. An established person can get finance but with 33% down payment while a new comer to the place has to make 50% down payment. Financing is quite tough in Panama with 0% interest loans or no down payments completely missing.

Used Cars – A 3 years used car with low mileage is easily available in Panama but you need to be careful before plunging to buy it. Though dealers charge a little more but they offer a guarantee. Repairing such a car is quite cheap if it not done by a dealer but this needs to be dome with utmost care and through a right person.

Tax Implications – A tax is implied to the car being imported to Panama whose amount can be known through a customs broker. Only a Pensionado can avail a duty free car every 2 years.

Buy Cars – The general thumb rule is to sell your car and buy a new one, once you are there in Panama. New cars come with a 3 years warranty. Only a reasonable inventory goes to the dealers and any of the parts will not be a problem.