We often get asked what is the differences in price for buying cars in Mexico versus the price of cars in the United States… and whether it is best to drive one down or buy one here. For people thinking of making a move to Mexico, this can be a big factor in the move itself – driving down through Mexico can present different challenges than flying down, and at the same time provide more advantages.
The exchange rate is really the biggest factor in the cost of cars for expats. Four years ago, our answer would have been very different than it is today, but back then the exchange rate was roughly 10 or 11 pesos per US Dollar. As of January 12, 2017, the exchange rate is roughly 21 pesos to the dollar. Four years ago, you could expect to pay roughly 20% more for a car here in Mexico than you would pay for the same car in the United States. Of course, with the drastic change in exchange rate, that is no longer the case and it is now much more advantageous for expats to use their US Dollars (exchanged to pesos) and buy in Mexico.
Here is a chart that will give you an idea of the difference in prices in several popular models. There can be some variations in prices throughout the regions of both the US and Mexico, so these are just an average from our research of current sticker prices. The first column is what the car would cost if you were to buy it here in Mexico with pesos. The second column is what that price would be converted to US Dollars. The third column is the sticker price in the United States. The difference in prices between the second and third columns is the savings you would get by purchasing here compared to in the US. All models are based on 2017 suggested retail.
(2017) Mexico USA
Honda Civic EX ($14,706.34 usd) $20,375 usd
Toyota Camry LE ($16,595.77 usd) $27,175 usd
Toyota Corolla ($11,488.32 usd) $23,545 usd
Volkswagen Golf ($13,285.35 usd) $19,895 usd
Ford Focus ($12,403.16 usd) $19890 usd
Hyundai Elantra ($12,273.52 usd) $18,985 usd
Honda CRV ($15,993.55 usd) $26,045 usd
Honda Civic ($13,832.88 usd) $19,575 usd
Toyota Camry ($16,595.77 usd) $27,655 usd
Toyota Corolla ($11,782.54 usd) $20,200 usd
Volkswagen Golf ($13,285.35 usd) $20,715 usd
Ford Focus Sedan ($12,403.16 usd) $16,775 usd
Hyundai Elantra ($12,273.52 usd) $17,985 usd
As you can see, the current exchange rate offers foreign buyers a distinct advantage in terms of how far they can stretch their money. This is key for retirees looking for a lower cost of living. Even if you aren’t a retiree on a budget, getting a car for $6-$7K less than you can at home is never a bad thing. This combined with the fact that converting a foreign car to a Mexican car is fairly expensive AND a giant pain in the butt, gives a pretty clear answer as to which is a better choice economically speaking. Of course, everybody’s situation is different so use this info to help make the choice that is right for you.