(qCOSTARICA) An interactive special by La Nacion provides an insight into the new and used car imports to Costa Rica between 2008 and 2014.

During the seven-year period, a total of 324.878 vehicles were imported into the country, of which 51% (164.409) were new and 49% (160.469) used.

As we navigate the interactive, we learn that Japan is the leader in new vehicle imports, while used cars arriving in Costa Rica mainly come from the United States.

In new vehicles, 37% (69.690) of the imports came from Japan, followed by South  Korea 25% (40.650); Mexico, 9% (14.640); the U.S., 7% (12.310); and India, 4% (6.620).


With respect to used cars, 38% (60.329) arrived from the United States, followed by Japan, 29% (46.560); South Korea, 20% (32.140); Canada, 9% (13.880); and Mexico, 22% (3.380).

We also learn that cars from Asia (Japan and Korea) typically are unloaded at the Puerto Caldera (Puntarenas), with each container ship unloading an average of 397 cars; while from North America (includes Mexico) and Europe, they are unloaded at the Puerto Moin (Limon), on average between 150 and 250 cars per trip.


The report also reveals that Japanese and Korean brands headed the list of imported vehicles.

Toyota (69.530), Hyundai (60.1500) are at the top of the list, followed by Nissan (35.050), Honda (29.400), Suzuki (26.640), Mitsubishi (22.110), Chevrolet (18.860), Kia (12.600), Diahatsu (7.090) and BMW (4.600). The rest (38.850) are of varied brands.

The preferred brands by customers were Toyota and Hyundai for both new and used cars.

We also learn that, starting in 2012, new car imports outweighed new, with three out of every five imported vehicles being new.

The report also breaks down customer preferences by brand. The Hyundai Accent (29.680) is the most popular, followed by the Toyota Rav4 (18.390), Mitsubishi Montero (16.270), Toyotoa Corolla (14.850) and the Honda Civic (13.970).

When it comes to brand equity, 66% of imported luxury cars are German brands: BMW, 33% (4.600); Audi 18% (2.450), and Mercedes 16% (2.270).  The rest is Landrover 15% (2.100),  Volvo 6% (790)  and other brands (not specified).

Overall, Costa Ricans rank Toyota number one overall and Hyundai as number two.

The Nissan brand takes 3rd overall, 3rd place in new and 4th in used.

Honda ranks 4th over, 6th in new and 3rd in used.

Suzuki is 5th overall, 4th in new and 7th in used.

Mitsubishi is 6th overall, 7th in new and 5th in used.

Chevrolet is ranked 7th overall, 8th in new and 6th in used.

Kia is ranked 8th overall, 5th in new and 12th in used.

Daihatsu is ranked 9th overall, 9th in new and 35th in used.

BMW is 10th of overall ranking, 10th in new and 9th in used.



Using the interactive you can find out numbers for your favourite brand (if imported during the period). For instance, when it comes to Americas luxury vehicles, the Cadillac there were 78 imports (10 new and 68 used), ranking 49th overall. In the same period, 30 Lincoln were imported (5 new and 25 used) and has an overall ranking of 62.  Click here to go to the interactive page (scroll down to the bottom).

Sources: La Nacion from vehicle import data from the Ministerio de Hacienda (Revenue Ministry) and consultations from JAPDEVA (Limon port authority), Sociedad Portuaria de Caldera (Caldera port authority) and the Lanamme.

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