Getting a Brand New Car in Costa Rica

The top of the line Kia SUV

The Kia Mohave SUV

Since 2006, we here at WheelsCR.com have helped our clients purchase reliable used cars from reputable dealers in Costa Rica.  If you’re reading this, you probably know that vehicles are a major investment here.  The import duties run from 30% for new cars, to 85% for cars that are more than 6 years old. No vehicles are manufactured here, so transportation and customs brokerage fees are always an additional cost.

In 2015 we had 3 clients that purchased brand new vehicles at dealerships with our assistance. While you might think that it should be fairly easy to walk into a dealership and pay cash for a new car, it isn’t necessarily the case.


First, the dealers don’t always have cars in stock. In fact, for popular brands and models, they often don’t have any in stock, the cars you see on display are actually ready for delivery because they were pre-ordered. 6 to 8 weeks is the normal time frame for delivery if you would like to select your color, option package and model.

Second, not all dealers have English speaking sales agents, so getting the information you need on the vehicles and the purchase procedure to follow can be difficult.

Thirdly, many people moving here don’t have local bank accounts, so there will automatically be a delay while the funds are wired internationally to Costa Rica.

Each of our clients was able to get advice on particular vehicle options that would be suitable, then get quotes on particular models and brands in advance. We were able to select a vehicle, arrange the payment, and arrange for immediate pick up upon their arrival in San Jose. Except in one case where our client wanted to pay only a portion of the price in advance and the remainder after seeing the car personally.

The new car PASS service is designed to allow you to pick up your vehicle upon arrival in Costa Rica.  We will work with you in advance to determine what models suit your needs and budget, then proceed to obtain quotes and confirm availability.  Once you’ve selected a car, we can then proceed with the reservation, payment information for the dealer, and assist with arranging everything for delivery.  Upon your arrival we will pick you up from your hotel in San Jose and take you to the dealer to get your new car.

The price for the new car PASS service is $400.  We currently have established contacts at the Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota dealerships.

Read the related section ( Buying New Vehicles Testimonials ) in order to find out how our clients viewed the process.

Contact us here ( New Car PASS Service ) to get assistance in purchasing a new car at a local dealer.

Read the article ( Should I Buy a New Car ?) to compare the advantages and disadvantages of buying a new car.

Read the article ( What Car to Buy and Dealer Procedures ) to find out how the dealers operate and what characteristics you may look for in a new car.

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2 thoughts on “Getting a Brand New Car in Costa Rica
  1. robert lamarch says:

    do I need a bank account to purchase a new car, since I don’t have the needed cash in Costa Rica?

    • Russ Martin says:

      With a new car you have the option of paying by credit card at some dealers. You may want to wire the money via the SWIFT system from a bank account outside Costa Rica to the dealer’s account here. The wire will also work at used car dealers, but would not be advisable in the case of a private seller.

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