Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

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Britkid
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Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by Britkid » Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:38 pm

As we have kids, and are living outside of the Santiago metro system (by some distance) and don’t find the local buses appropriate for young children (crowded, drive along with doors left open) we bought a car in the first week. You can buy a car in Iquique, which is a port with a special duty free zone. However for an around 1/3 saving on a 2-4M car it wasn’t worth such a long trip. Discussion here: http://www.allchile.net/chileforum/topic10869.html

To begin, I considered which brands to buy. Firstly I wanted a common car which mechanics would know, and replacement parts would be obtainable for. Easy to find market share online, e.g. http://focus2move.com/item/796-chile-ca ... cord-share (scroll down to see detailed table). Chevrolet is #1 in Chile with 15% market share, followed by Hyundai, Nissan, Kia, Toyota and Suzuki is 6th with 6%. Then a big gap. I discarded some brands that I would have considered in Europe like Volkswagen (only 2% share in Chile) and Honda (only 1%). I discarded Chevrolet after doing some research on reliability and overall customer satisfaction, and decided I would buy Hyundai, Nissan, Kia, Toyota or Suzuki.

8-10 year old used cars in Chile cost maybe double what they do in the UK, even though newer cars are cheaper in Chile. My theories to why this is: a) Higher labour cost in UK means higher cost of maintenance for old cars, driving down the price you would be prepared to pay to acquire one because the overall cost of running an older car for a year is higher. b) In the UK, people are richer so they can afford to ditch and upgrade, all these people ditching to upgrade will drive down the value of the cars being sold on. c) Restrictions on importing vehicles in Chile.

Went to Autoparque, a large used car yard opposite Plaza Oeste mall. When I couldn’t see a car’s assigned sales person nearby, opening a door (if left unlocked) was a good way to make them appear. I noticed my 3 million peso budget meant that only about 10-20% of the yard was in my price range. With 2M, you would be really scratching around, a few small old Fiats for instance.

Asking for test drive yielded varying results. As far as I understand it at this place, the sales person is the owner of the car. One guy had me pegged for a non-serious buyer and said he would let me drive the car if I was buying today. One guy said I could test drive it, but only around the car yard. Another said we could go out for a test drive, but he would drive it. Another let me take it out for a proper spin for 5-10 min. One tip I have here is plan to arrange this to avoid rush hour to enable decent speeds. My other tip is, even if you are buying in winter, ask them to put the air con on to test it.

I was with my wife and other family and they told me the Chilean way is to make a decision right there. But I went home instead with the favoured number plate noted down and checked it at the Registro Civil. This checks for outstanding fines and any other things. Didn’t accept foreign cards on the site so paid internet café to do it for me. Discussed here: http://www.allchile.net/chileforum/topic11243.html EDIT Feb 2016 : Use http://www.autofact.cl/ instead, it's great, I'll post more in the comments - check for Feb 2016.

We bought a Suzuki Aerio (also known as Liana and Baleno in other countries) 1.6 from 2005. The price was 3.3M, but she offered to do some paperwork for free on the registration for it and she also sorted out for me the TAG so it was ready when I got there. You need to make sure you have a new one not the old one registered to the old owner. Info on TAGs here: http://www.allchile.net/chilewiki/index ... ronic_tags I called her the next day and offered 2.9M or 3M at first but I only got her down to 3.2M, and I had to work hard for just that.

Next issue was how to pay for it. Just arrived in Chile and no local banking. Decided cash rather than international bank transfer (better rates, harder to get ripped off). Paid her 0.2M deposit that day, then spent about 3 days going to ATMs. I have about 5 accounts, with only 1 account this would have taken a lot longer due to withdrawal limits, about £300/$500 per day is typical.

I did have to return to the sales place once to pick up or sign some other documentation later. I needed a RUT to buy a car, however I am married to a Chilean, so we just made her the legal owner. The signing of documents was quite professional, and I liked the touch of adding a fingerprint. We were supposed to get the Padron (ownership proof document) in the post but has not arrived after 8 weeks, and someone told me you have to follow up directly at the Registro Civil.

When we drove off the car, we only had the obligatory third party insurance. Note this only covers bodily harm actual people not vehicle damage. I was told later that it is possible to get insurance from the moment you buy the car by having the car email the factura to an insurance company which will instantly insure the car giving you a few days to properly sign up for the insurance. My wife’s family tried to convince not to bother with insurance, as they say they never pay out, and cited several examples of this. I did wonder if that’s true here more than other countries that insurance companies would look to pay out or whether that’s because they had less comprehensive policies, didn’t read the terms and conditions as closely as I would, it was their own fault etc. Really don’t know.

To choose insurance, I found 4 companies recommended/mentioned on here: Automovil Club de Chile, Falabella Insurance, Mapre and BCI. I called them all and chose Falabella as the only one to accept me without a Chilean license. There was quite a bit of email back and forth with questions and scanning and signing contracts, so I was actually driving around mostly uninsured for quite a few days. Price was 34,000CLP a month with no deducible (ie “excess” in the UK) or 25,000CLP with about 3UF (ie about 70,000 CLP) deducible. Went for the latter as it seems better value.

The insurance seems very comprehensive except that it only covered up to 500 UF (around 11M CLP) in collision with another car so it doesn’t cover writing off a very expensive and new car. This is very standard in Chile car insurance policies although you may be able to negotiate an increase, perhaps by paying more, according to some. Another thing that seems standard in Chile is that they come out and take photos of the car. I noticed was that unlike in the UK, where they ask for your address, profession, number of years no claims discount, and various other things, here they did not ask me for much of that, and seemed to have a more standard price. Also, here in Chile they seem to insure the car not the driver. More discussion on auto insurance here: http://www.allchile.net/chileforum/topic2783.html

Petrol wise it seems to be 800 CLP and something per litre, I think it’s more like 1200 CLP in the UK, but then petrol is very high in the UK, so I imagine Chile is probably in line with many other countries.
In 2014/2015 I blogged about my life in Chile. http://web.archive.org/web/201601121940 ... age_id=268

bert.douglas
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Re: Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by bert.douglas » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:54 pm

Great post !
Thanks for taking the time to write about your experiences.

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JHyre
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Re: Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by JHyre » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:45 am

Very nice post, thank you for taking the time.

John Hyre

jamie_m
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Re: Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by jamie_m » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:18 am

Nice work BK. quick quesstion, you stated that Falabella took you on with a UK license, does your chilean wife have a chilean license?

Britkid
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Re: Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by Britkid » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:47 am

She does not have a license, because she never learned to drive, although she is starting to learn this week. She is the lead person on the policy though. I just wanted to clarify with Falabella that they would still pay out if I was driving with only a UK license and had an accident. Which I clarified over the phone and then got them to send me an email.
In 2014/2015 I blogged about my life in Chile. http://web.archive.org/web/201601121940 ... age_id=268

jamie_m
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Re: Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by jamie_m » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:07 am

great thanks mate. I am in the same situation. my chilean wife had one 25 years ago but now she has to go through the testing process again, apparently. like me, she has an australian license though.

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zer0nz
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Re: Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by zer0nz » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:42 pm

Britkid wrote:She does not have a license, because she never learned to drive, although she is starting to learn this week. She is the lead person on the policy though. I just wanted to clarify with Falabella that they would still pay out if I was driving with only a UK license and had an accident. Which I clarified over the phone and then got them to send me an email.
On a tourist visa' and then once you got a temp visa the same rule would apply?

BCI seguros only does on tourist visa!

Britkid
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Re: Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by Britkid » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:52 pm

Should still be OK, according to the email chain with Falabella.
In 2014/2015 I blogged about my life in Chile. http://web.archive.org/web/201601121940 ... age_id=268

HybridAmbassador
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Re: Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by HybridAmbassador » Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:56 pm

Congrats in your new acquisition of the Suzuki make. Weren't you initially looking for a 7 passenger vehicle?
HybridAmbassador. Toyota Hybrid system for helping climate change.

Britkid
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Re: Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by Britkid » Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:42 pm

Yes, we have 2 kids, so the current vehicle size is perfect for us, but is severely limiting when we have more than 1 person visit us or need to take other family to other places. Although my wife's family like piling 10 people into the car and having them run around the car and hang out the windows without seatbelts, I will not allow it, which causes some friction. Also if we had my parents visit from the UK one day, we would be paying for taxis, dumping people on public transport etc. A lot of people from outside of Chile would find driving in greater Santiago quite stressful and daunting, and, when visiting us, would not consider it, then there is the cost of running 2 cars vs 1.

The reason we did not buy a 7-seater was a combination of the lack of time we had available to search for cars AND the lack of availability of cars. Because those cars are less common, we would have had to spent longer looking for one. Also, for such a car, the price would be higher or we would have had to settle for an older and less reliable model for the same budget. 3M budget is pretty limiting for a 7-seater. Or 6 seater, one we test drove was more a 6-seater but I did not like the sound of the engine, and the air con was weak. I can't remember the model but I have seen the same model a few times and it's an older one not quite as nice looking as the 7-seaters you get in the UK, which are more modern. They only had one in the large car yard out of hundreds of cars, so they are not very common, and I did not want to spend days searching around multiple places or scouring ads. Likewise I don't see many on the road.

For the time being I want to stick with this car but when I am less busy we might still buy a 6/7 seater in the future. Either if I do well out here financially and our budget increases or if more of these cars start to filter down into our budget slowly over time.
In 2014/2015 I blogged about my life in Chile. http://web.archive.org/web/201601121940 ... age_id=268

Britkid
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Re: Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by Britkid » Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:52 pm

So I was thinking of doing a few more topics like this one, could include for example my experiences of:

renting a house
sending personal possessions to Chile by shipping container

either of these anyone need to see soon (?), or other ideas for experiences I might have been through in moving to Chile recently

Did the last sort of article seem OK in style etc? Wasn't too long? I guess these kinds of articles are probably more use for the lurkers than the regulars, and could be more use to someone that googles the article in 6 months than now, still just thought I'd ask what you all think before I head off excessively down a wrong tangent.
In 2014/2015 I blogged about my life in Chile. http://web.archive.org/web/201601121940 ... age_id=268

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JHyre
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Re: Buying a Car (A Personal Experience)

Post by JHyre » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:40 pm

It was excellent. More would be good.

John Hyre

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