Becoming a used car dealer in Santo Domingo

PeterInBrat

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May 29, 2006
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Short answer. No. There are two main types of cars in the DR: pickup and sedan beaters that would sell for scrap in the US, and new SUVs worth over $25K. There is very little market for anything in between.
 

playacaribe2

Well-known member
Jan 9, 2004
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And what about the first plates??? Are they included in that 4K? I think we paid $1500-2000USD for those
First plates are included using that back of the envelope 50% of value calculation....18% ITBIS, 17% first placa, and the other 15% for shipping, insurances, port fees, bribes, etc.

Unless of course you bring a vehicle in using residency or returning Dominican exceptions (like you did)....then and only then are taxes less.


Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
 

Garyexpat

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Sep 7, 2012
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Is it possible for someone to move to Santo Domingo and start a used car lot there. I am a car dealer who currently lives in Columbus Ohio and I plan to move in the next couple of months. Is it possible to import used cars from the US? If so can someone point me towards the right directions where i can find the correct information.
-Michael
It would take you a lot of time and money. It isn't true as someone stated that a few connected families control the auto industry here. There are a few families that own a number of the new car franchises but not all the many used car dealers. I did some consulting for one of the new car families and they themselves told me that because of money laundering prices on the used side gets negatively effected. I myself looked at the opportunity because I could buy cars through auto auctions and other contacts in the states however without a wholesale license here (hard to get even for a Dominican with $$) the price of the car goes up by, I think it was 36% after Aduanas (tariffs / import fees).
Having said this, good luck if you really move forward on this venture.
 

kapitan75

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Jun 3, 2005
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Just an Idea...

I have flipped used cars in the states. I wonder if the concept will work in the DR.

Basically pick up a used car, with a clean body, needing high mileage repairs. So, as i am mechanically inclined, fix what is needed, like timing/waterpump, brakes, ball joints, full fluid change, whatever... after a quick buff and wax, re sale as mint, with advertised high mileage maintenance completed. These older Japanese cars with proven track record of reliability do sell themselves. honda, acura, toyota, nissan, 4 doors or jeepetas. I usually make $1500 to $2000 profit per car, for a weeks work. With the way the law works here in the US, I could sell a limit before I am considered a used car dealer, so I get over.

Would a concept work like this in the DR? Even if I were not mechanically inclined, what is the hourly rate of mechanics in DR?
This is a concept that can take off for the non pro car dealer. What can one expect to get for a "mint" 03 honda CRV or an acura rl with a fresh lease on life?
 

Garyexpat

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2012
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Just an Idea...

I have flipped used cars in the states. I wonder if the concept will work in the DR.

Basically pick up a used car, with a clean body, needing high mileage repairs. So, as i am mechanically inclined, fix what is needed, like timing/waterpump, brakes, ball joints, full fluid change, whatever... after a quick buff and wax, re sale as mint, with advertised high mileage maintenance completed. These older Japanese cars with proven track record of reliability do sell themselves. honda, acura, toyota, nissan, 4 doors or jeepetas. I usually make $1500 to $2000 profit per car, for a weeks work. With the way the law works here in the US, I could sell a limit before I am considered a used car dealer, so I get over.

Would a concept work like this in the DR? Even if I were not mechanically inclined, what is the hourly rate of mechanics in DR?
This is a concept that can take off for the non pro car dealer. What can one expect to get for a "mint" 03 honda CRV or an acura rl with a fresh lease on life?
You could make some money doing this. A few things to think about would be, Dominicans (yes I am generalizing) typicallyl think that what ever they are selling is worth a fortune, more so on the whole than you experience in the states. You would need the time to get someone to accept an offer that allows for profit in a reasonable amount of time. Obviously you need to have the vehicle running ok but forget about high miles being as much of a factor. It is the physical appearance of the vehicle that will interest most Dominicans. I have sold quite a number of vehicles to both wholesalers and independent buyers and was amazed that they barely looked, if at all, at the mileage. I learned early on that sending the vehicle to one of the body shops I used having the car "looking" new would ensure a quicker sale for more $$. By the way here for body work you pay by the part i.e. quarter pannel, hood and not by the hour. Mechanical work is still by the hour or quoted up front for completed job.
 

LTSteve

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Jul 9, 2010
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So what you are saying is that I couldn't make money selling a 2010 vehicle there when I am buying it for $3000 here in the states. I am almost tripling my money here. Why couldn't I do something remotely close to that there when the prices seem to be even higher there?


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Yes you are buying it cheap, than you have to pay the cost of shipping and then a very high import tax on the vehicle. Prices are considerably higher in the DR but it is not the profit margin. It is the high import taxes paid on vehicles being brought into the country.
 

playacaribe2

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Jan 9, 2004
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Just an idea.

What can one expect to get for a "mint" 03 honda CRV or an acura rl with a fresh lease on life?

You cannot import a vehicle of that vintage. Current law is no older than 5 years. Dealers have proposed expanding it to 10 and there is some talk it may be changed to 7......in the future.

Licensed/Registered dealers receive a small reduction on import taxes, but not enough to be a windfall. It is, in spite of appearances, a difficult business here. Observe that cars sit here on lots for what seems like an eternity. The DR market is over supplied due to the money laundering that takes place involving the importation of used cars.

But, an 03 is not allowed to be imported and would be held at the port and charged storage....until the owner shipped it back.

One accurate point, mileage is not an issue here.....the appearance is everything.....as odometers are regularly rolled back by most, but not all dealers.

Best cars to import are of course Honda, Toyota, Hyundai.....and almost any Jeepeta.

Best (most popular) colors are white, black, and silver. The other colors will sell.....but those three dominate.....just do a casual observation.


Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
 

kapitan75

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Jun 3, 2005
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Wasnt talking about importing an 03 crv, but sourcing the car on the island in need of repair. Getting the parts to refresh an old car like new, are parts hard to get?

I just prepped an mdz, 04, i bought it cheap! The previos owner didn't want the old body style, didnt want to make repairs, would not have gotten much on trade in, win win for me. I put in under $500 in parts, and charge myself $40 per hour on labor. I know that $500 in parts would face a tax if imported. If parts are reasonable in the DR, it would be a breeze to make it happen.
 

Contango

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Dec 27, 2010
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if you know how to "roll back odometers" you will fit right in with the rest of the used car dealers in this Country.. I have never ever seen a used car in this Country without a tampered with odometer...
 

the gorgon

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Sep 16, 2010
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if you know how to "roll back odometers" you will fit right in with the rest of the used car dealers in this Country.. I have never ever seen a used car in this Country without a tampered with odometer...
that is because the only ones that do not have a rolled back odometer are the ones brought in by foreigners from their home countries. anything you buy off a lot has been doctored, without a doubt. any kid with a laptop can do it.
 

playacaribe2

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Jan 9, 2004
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Wasnt talking about importing an 03 crv, but sourcing the car on the island in need of repair. Getting the parts to refresh an old car like new, are parts hard to get?

I just prepped an mdz, 04, i bought it cheap! The previos owner didn't want the old body style, didnt want to make repairs, would not have gotten much on trade in, win win for me. I put in under $500 in parts, and charge myself $40 per hour on labor. I know that $500 in parts would face a tax if imported. If parts are reasonable in the DR, it would be a breeze to make it happen.
My error. Based on the OP's posts and most responses, I was responding to your post from an importation perspective.

If you can buy older stuff and refurb it, you may have a nice niche market.

My clients regularly send containers of parts to the DR, both new and used......taking full advantage of DR/CAFTA when applicable.


Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
 

playacaribe2

Well-known member
Jan 9, 2004
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that is because the only ones that do not have a rolled back odometer are the ones brought in by foreigners from their home countries. anything you buy off a lot has been doctored, without a doubt. any kid with a laptop can do it.
Dominican buyers to some extent have become more sophisticated about car buying. Lots of dealers here are now supplying Carfaxes/AutoCheck with their US imported cars.....and while these services are not always perfect, they are becoming more prevalent as other dealers adopt supplying their clients with another level of assurance in the process.....however, while many provide them they are still only a minority of dealerships.

Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
 

the gorgon

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Dominican buyers to some extent have become more sophisticated about car buying. Lots of dealers here are now supplying Carfaxes/AutoCheck with their US imported cars.....and while these services are not always perfect, they are becoming more prevalent as other dealers adopt supplying their clients with another level of assurance in the process.....however, while many provide them they are still only a minority of dealerships.

Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
that works fine when you are the first buyer off the ship. once the car starts rolling locally, Carfax is useless.
 

playacaribe2

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Jan 9, 2004
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that works fine when you are the first buyer off the ship. once the car starts rolling locally, Carfax is useless.
And that is true.....but there is at least one major insurer here looking to create a database of information on accidents, including the type and nature of the damage.

Small steps.....and further opportunities for some.

Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
 

the gorgon

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Sep 16, 2010
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And that is true.....but there is at least one major insurer here looking to create a database of information on accidents, including the type and nature of the damage.

Small steps.....and further opportunities for some.

Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
i applaud the idea, playa, but, as you know, a database is only as good as the facts reported. since 75% of all accidents in the DR are purportedly hit and runs, that complicates things.
 

playacaribe2

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Jan 9, 2004
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i applaud the idea, playa, but, as you know, a database is only as good as the facts reported. since 75% of all accidents in the DR are purportedly hit and runs, that complicates things.
It is not whether it is a hit and run, but rather if the insurance pays a claim and the vehicle is repaired with insurance money and the damage they paid for is entered via a database.

Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
 

the gorgon

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Sep 16, 2010
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It is not whether it is a hit and run, but rather if the insurance pays a claim and the vehicle is repaired with insurance money and the damage they paid for is entered via a database.

Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
that is true, but very often guys involved in hit and run accidents do not report the event, for fear of negative repercussions having done so.
 

windeguy

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2004
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Cars can be no older than 5 years.

The chief complaint by the used car dealers is that the government has not adjusted the price of the used car values on which the dealers pay tax.....to actually reflect their real value.

Of course any downward adjustment as to value.....would mean less tax money for the government.

By way of example, a 2011 Toyota Camry has had a valuation of 619,000 pesos for so long....I stopped looking to see when Aduana would actually revise their valuation. That is the chief complaint of the used car guys. The taxes are so high it is difficult to buy, ship, pay taxes, and make a profit.

That of course, and the fact that so many cars are imported here to wash money.



Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
Read what PC2 said above about taxes and fees. Do you have money to wash? Your competition is on every corner in city areas. You might as well be opening another bad pizza restaurant.

Doing business here is anything from straight forward. Earn your money in the US, expand that business if it already works so well for you, and come here to vacation.
 

playacaribe2

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Jan 9, 2004
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that is true, but very often guys involved in hit and run accidents do not report the event, for fear of negative repercussions having done so.
And Carfaxes, whether in the US....or any future DR equivalent....are just one of many tools that buyers should use when purchasing a used vehicle.

Respectfully,
Playacaribe2