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Gaining Entry Into the Mexican Credit System

The short answer? Own a house. Now, for the long answer.

When we first moved from Merida, where we didn’t need a car, to Progreso, where a car is absolutely mandatory, we began to explore the idea of actually getting a loan to buy a car. Up until this point in our lives, we have bought only cars that were worth as much as we had in our pockets. Needless to say, buying cars this way leads to a string of frustrations. When we lived in CT, we spent somewhere north of $5,000 repairing a $1,500 Volvo which we finally sold for $600. More recently, the Jetta we bought for $3,000 here in Mexico gasped its last breath here in our driveway in Progreso. Rather than sink any money into repairing it, we sold it that night for $1,800 US. With everything else in our lives beginning to take shape and line up properly, we decided it was time to get a respectable car. But how could we do that, if we didn’t want to pay all in cash?

It was time to dive in. While driving a rental car along Avenue Itzaes in Merida, past all of the used car lots, the Jeep we wrote about yesterday caught our eye. It was parked jauntily on the sidewalk at “Autos Cetina,” and at around 12k US, it was in the price range we wanted to pay…we just needed the financing.

We spoke with Freddy, he in his excellent Spanish, we mostly with gestures and single words. He gave us an estimate for what all of the up-front and ongoing costs would be for a loan term of 24 months (the maximum available at this particular lot). The requirements for getting financing at Autos Cetina are as follows:

1. $500MXP for the credit application
2. A copy of your escritura, or deed, showing ownership of property here in Mexico
3. Copies of your passport
4. 1/3 of the cost of the car down, in cash. No credit cards accepted.

And believe it or not, that’s it. No FM3 needed, though we did receive ours later that day. No verification of income, no copies of bank statements, no copies of utility bills. Actually, all of these things were requested, but our not having them didn’t seem to be a problem.

We submitted our application, and returned two days later to sign off on a ton of documents (entirely in Spanish) and drive the car away. If you have a bank account here, you can sign up for automatic deductions to make your payments. We decided instead to pop into the bank here in Progreso once a month, and make a deposit into the Auto Cetinas account.

Our experience with this dealership was particularly pleasant. We got a great car for a decent price (about $1000-$2000 US more than the car would Blue Book for in the USA, the norm for cars purchased locally), dealt with an extremely courteous and understanding staff, and best of all, got a 30 day warranty on the car. After it is paid off, they will even go to the Motor Vehicles department to change the car over into our name, a task that we somehow never got around to in the Jetta, since it requires getting to Merida at 6:00 AM. Freddy, and Autos Cetina, deliver on their promise to have clean, good, legal transactions, and we would recommend them to anyone looking for a used car. In the meantime, we finally have a car that we are really proud of. Life is good.

Autos Cetina is located on Avenue Itzaes, in Col. Obrera, Merida, Yuc.

There Are 3 Responses So Far. »

  1. Did you by any chance sign a “pagare”? basically that is a promissary note and if you don’t pay the debt, they sell your real estate, and give you the difference between the sale price and what you owe. So all the other red tape is not necessary since you are unlikely to default on the loan.I know about this thru my Yucatecan neighbor’s experience Also it is my understanding that Mexico has debtor’s prison, but I can NOT remember where I learned that.
    Theresa

  2. Mexico DOES have debtor’s prison. Not a concern, really though…just gotta get the car payment in on time. :)

  3. Happy birthday, Muffin!

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