Today I am setting out to buy a car in Panama. I’m not exactly sure what I will be buying yet but through my research, which requires extensive leg work compared to Canada, I have almost decided. A few more stops today and I hope to swipe the credit card.
I began a few weeks ago by looking at used. I searched high and low on the internet for some sort of organization similar to Autotrader in Canada and the USA, but the closest I could find was www.encuentra24.com. Great classified site, but there is really not enough dealerships using it and hence it comes out a little like the olden days in Canada where people just ask what they feel the car should be worth, not its actual value plus good will. This left me trying to pick between cars like a 1998 Civic with 120,000 city km for $5000 or a 2008 Yaris with unknown mileage and a mis-colored door panel for $5000. I have heard that many people can’t afford or don’t have the time to even do regular oil changes so it becomes a risky business really.
My next step was to drive up and down the main streets in the city and just stop at the corner dirt lots. Their inventory was vast too, but still, they were asking even more for the same junk and a ton if it wasn’t junk. Still no guarantee on the maintenance history but most dealers would offer a small guarantee. Not enough though.
The rental companies selling the ex-rentals was a better deal because at least the cars were probably maintained and less than new, some still with factory warranty, but still quite high priced for used. If you can’t afford new, this is the option I would advise. The cool thing is that this is Panama! Things are cheap here right?
Right!! Out of frustration and a tight wallet, I decided to see what a new car might cost. Just a super-mini. That is all I need to bomb around this country. So far, I have found the Chery QQ, $6999. The BYD F0, $8500. There are others in the 10 – 12 range, way higher quality but out of my range. I love the Kia Picanto and my favorite as far as eye appeal goes is the Peugeot 107.
Anyway, today I will try to grind on the price of the Chery and the BYD to see just how low I can get them to go. In Canada, a Focus or a Fiesta has 600 dollars markup, but in Canada they actually have MSRP stickers in the windows. Here, no! Only one Chery dealer, only one BYD dealer, so it’s a monopoly. I figure they are trying to make 3000 on both, I will try to get a $1500 dollar discount, free window tint, and wizzy wheels and tires.
I'll write a better blog about my shopping experinces later, after today I will have a lot to say I'm sure!!
Have fun today! I think I will :)