If you are a modest person and you are happy with a sedan, you could bring in a car for US $12,000. There are several car dealerships in Belize, but they are limited to particular car companies, such as Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Chevy, Mitsubishi, to name a few.
Then there is a local car dealership that the Mennonites run that is cooking up a storm and doing pretty good as competition for the other car dealerships that have to import vehicles in Belize.
If you are a traditional person and you want to buy a vehicle that you only understand, such as Toyota, and you want to go to the Toyota dealership to buy a vehicle, they don’t really sell Toyota sedans. They sell Toyota pickup trucks and Toyota SUVs. So if you wanted a small car, you would have to go and deal with one of the smaller operators because there is a bunch of people that do bring in vehicles as their main business. Or you could yourself buy it overseas and make arrangements to have it shipped directly to Belize and then you would have to go through the paperwork through customs and you cut out with a middle man.
Buying a car in Belize will be more than buying a car in the US. As soon as you drive the car off the lot, it’s used, so if you could get a vehicle in Belize with less than 5 years on it and low mileage, you would save yourself a pretty penny. People have different needs to sell. It could be that they have extra vehicles on hand, their kids have moved away, they may be downsizing, whatever. There are many deals like that are constantly being advertised.
To get a used car in Belize costs slightly more than it would cost in the US because the parties who actually have the car in the first instance would have had to deal with the expense of the shipping and the handling and the freight and the duty and the importation of the vehicles. This causes the price to be a little bit more than in the US, where it is directly manufactured. Just think about buying wholesale versus retail. Buying cars in the US would be like buying wholesale and buying it in Belize would be buying in retail because you have the added extra cost of the importation and so forth.
When you get mass production, you get a better price. The population in Belize is very small so how many vehicles would they import? So you save more by buying a vehicle in the US if you could purchase through auction or some other means.
(Lola using her car to advertise her shop, Lola's Art in Seine Bright, Belize, pictured.)