GringoPost | Ecuador: The realities of auto purchasing and ownership in Cuenca

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The realities of auto purchasing and ownership in Cuenca

Now that things are beginning to settle down to normal again, it's time to turn again to issues of daily living. Here's some good things to know about car purchasing and ownership in Cuenca (which largely applies to all of Ecuador). This is of interest to prospective Cuenca expats, but there a lot of expats already living here that I find are surprised at some of these facts, like related to financing.

Statistics say that around 65% of expats in Cuenca don’t purchase a car. That for a lot of reasons, not just cost, but I'll limit this post to cost considerations.

Here’s a snapshot of auto purchasing in Ecuador as of today. If you want the latest details, talk to a good Ecuadorian attorney who specializes in such matters. Or talk to the likes of Cuenca Cars, which specializes in all things car-ownership, especially for expats.

-There used to be higher tariffs on new cars here. But since they’ve been reduced, a $30,000 car now costs in the neighborhood of $20,000.
Here's some auto financing facts a purchase facilitator shared with me recently:

-Purchasing a new car from a dealer will typically require 50% down, and the balance at 17% - 19% annual interest, with a term of 60 months.

If you bought a $30,000 car with new dealer financing, it would be $15,000 down, with a loan amount of $15,000, term 60 months: at 17%, your payment would be $373 per month. At 19%, $389 per month.

-If you purchase a car from a private party, they will rarely carry back any financing. You have to pay cash or seek a bank loan at 12 - 15%.

-New cars depreciate - in the first year at least - almost as fast as they do in the States. Then it gets better. Many people buy used cars for, say, $20,000, drive them three or four years, then re-sell them, if taken care of, for maybe $17,000 - $18,000.

-Auto insurance costs a rule of thumb of something like 7% of the value of the car per year.

-Registration, or matriculation, can be pretty pricy on expensive cars. It varies widely, depending on the poison you’ve selected. Just check out the cost before buying the car. Insurance too, for that matter.

-Regular gasoline here is still $1.48 per gallon thanks to the just-reversed removal of government subsidization, but premium gasoline has recently gravitated sharply upward into $3 plus territory. As the recent demonstrations illustrated, truckers, taxi drivers and indigenous people in general are not amused. But, the economic pressures being what they are, gas prices will inevitably go up at some point, in some manner (like partial subsidy removal and/or phasing-in over time, etc.)

-Different makes and models of cars and trucks here can vary greatly in original purchase cost as well as the availability of parts and service, from relatively cheap to the "What?" level. (I was informed recently that a loaded, high-end Jeep Renegade model can run $100,000 here)

Before purchasing, it's important to check out all the variables - insurance, registration, availability of parts, the price of parts, and the availability of trained service technicians for any given make and model. It may not eliminate price-shock, but at least it will eliminate surprises.

And don't forget the cost of parking at or near your home.

Learn things like the above and far more in the updated Kindle ($9.97) and softcover formats of my book "Relocating to Ecuador - Eyes Wide Open: All manner of balanced facts and insights that the author wishes had been available to evaluate and facilitate his own move to Cuenca, Ecuador five (now six) years ago." (Third Edition: updated July 2019 including some 200 pages of new topics.)

To find both formats of the book, just search "relocating to Ecuador" on Amazon.

Or just cut-and-paste this link into the address field of your browser:

The book author: Terry Dean Roberts

Terry Dean Roberts: .

City: Cuenca