What do you need to buy a car in Mexico?

This month I will be writing an article less about tech and more about transportation in Manzanillo. For the past seven years we have taxied, bussed, and walked around Manzanillo. The walking was beneficial to our health but limited where we could explore. Luckily we purchased our condo in a central area of Salagua on the beach. Groceries, movies, doctors, dentists, and restaurants are all within a few minutes walk. But to see the sites, we needed an automobile.

Three years ago we landed in Manzanillo, with the intent of acquiring our permanent residence visas. A week after we landed, the rules changed and we were informed that the process now had to be initiated outside Mexico. We were told by a number of people that we needed to have either a temporary or permanent residence visa to setup a banking account, buy a car, or register for Mexican health insurance.

When we returned in the spring, Calgary city centre was flooded, and so the Mexican Consulate was closed. We were unable to get an appointment before our return to Manzanillo. So we thought we would start the next year. We were given a meeting time in August, but had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict. They setup another meeting in mid October and we thought that we were set. Then in October 2014, Calgary city centre was again closed, due to an electrical fire in the electrical cables that fed electricity for the downtown area.

We were beginning to think this was a sign that we were not destined to get visas for Mexico.

We have survived many years without a vehicle, but we wanted a car to travel. The Manzanillo rental car industry had not served us well. One year, we arrived at ZLO airport with friends expecting to pickup the rental I had booked and reserved a month earlier. At the rental desk, we were told that they had rented our reserved car because someone paid for it first. I asked what a reservation meant and the clerk politely smiled and said they didn’t have any more cars. We have had other bad experiences, but the spring of 2014 was the last straw. I reserved a car at Thrifty (don’t let the name fool you) for 10 days. The cost was supposed to be $230.00. Our homeowner’s insurance provides

$1,000,000.00 CDN liability coverage for auto rentals outside Canada or the USA. Manzanillo Thrifty rentals said that their insurance is required for car rental. Total cost of the rental was over $600.00. We had friends arriving for a visit so I didn’t have a choice but to pay. By the way, all Manzanillo car rental agencies operate the same. This policy is not Mexico wide as I have rented cars in Guadalajara without the need to purchase their insurance.

But I digress. On our return to Manzanillo, we decided to go to the Nissan dealership and see if there was any way to purchase, lease or rent a car with a tourist visa. I asked our sales man Juan Carlos, what was required in order to buy a car in Mexico; his reply ……. Money. Another lesson learned, do not listen to rumours, find out for yourself.

I now take perverse pleasure driving by the auto rental shops.

I don’t want to use this space as a personal soapbox, but if you can avoid renting a car in Manzanillo, please do so. At least until the rental agencies, discontinue their anti-tourism tactics.

I also wanted to give some kudos to Nissan. Part of the purchase service includes registration of plates, and free covered parking for the first 6 months. The plate registration saves a day standing around the motor vehicle branch. When we dropped our car to be stored while we were home in Canada, Juan Carlos (our salesman) drove us to the airport. I will write a followup when we return to Manzanillo in November.


Manzanillo Sun’s eMagazine written by local authors about living in Manzanillo and Mexico, since 2009

Manzanillo Sun Writer

Manzanillo Sun's eMagazine written by local authors about living in Manzanillo and Mexico, since 2009

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