5 disadvantages of imported cars or chocolate cars

Businessman hand drawing an umbrella above a family car concept for car insurance, protection, security and finance

Perhaps you have ever thought of buying an American car, one of the famous chocolate cars.

And the truth is that it is something that is perfectly understandable and that we have all weighed at some point.

Think about it, if people in Mexico usually go to the United States and do the famous ‘ shopping ‘ for clothing, electronics, toys, perfumes, and various other items, why shouldn’t we do the same with cars?

If you consider it, buying in the United States usually the price of various items, including cars, is cheaper.

Unfortunately, after painting this scenario, it’s time to tell you that reality is not as simple as it seems.

You can buy an American car without any problem, but to use it in Mexico without restrictions, you must process its legalization.

This is because driving an American car without having it regularized can bring you certain risks.

Among them, is the difficulty in contracting auto insurance, which is mandatory to circulate in various states and federal highways.

So, let’s break it down, first, let’s understand why it’s so tempting to buy items in the United States.


One reason it’s cheaper to buy in the United States (imported cars or chocolate included) is the size of the market.

Being a market with high volume and competition, profit margins are lower.

This, however, is balanced precisely by the high volume of sales.

Imagine it this way, it is like having a merchant who sells 100 apples for $5 pesos.

If the apples cost $4 pesos, he has a profit of $100 pesos.

On the other hand, one with 25 apples to sell has to sell them 4 pesos more expensive to have the same profit.

That is one of the first reasons why it is cheaper to buy in the United States.

One more example: while in Mexico the number of vehicles is estimated at 30 million, in the United States it is estimated that this number in 2015 was 263.6 million cars.

Automobiles, a separate case

In addition to the size of the market, other factors such as taxes, tariffs, and other withholdings come into play.

If you followed the news about the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations, you will understand this.

Many of the parts that caused tension had to do with tariffs on cars made in Mexico.

Or the other way around, they imposed minimum percentages of parts made in the US for the assembly of cars in Mexico.

In the differences in car prices in Mexico and the US, you also have to take the cost of transportation.

Finally, take into account that imported cars or chocolate, that is, Americans, do not pay import taxes.


As you can see, this question raises several questions about chocolate cars, and we have to separate them.

We have to start by seeing if it is simple, then if it is economical and finally, review its convenience.

YES, IT IS VERY EASY TO BUY CHOCOLATE cars to buy a car in the United States you just need to agree with the previous owner and pay for it.

According to the Mexican Association of Automotive Distributors (AMDA), last year the import of used cars increased by 24.5%, mainly due to the evasion of the control norms in the rules of entry into the country of this type of automobile.

This happens especially in the states and cities that border the United States.

  1. Economic is also, but with its restrictions

On average, buying an American car is between $15 and $20 thousand pesos cheaper than buying it in Mexico.

However, you must take into account that this is also the average price of legalization procedures.

Therefore, you have to calculate what the final price will be to see the convenience of buying a car in the United States.

However, as those who respond to this thread on Quora say, you can find real bargains in bazaars.

And if they are in good condition, we can say that it is much cheaper to buy an American car.

However, the Quora respondents also mention some of the downsides of chocolate cars.

Disadvantages that we’ll review in more detail a few paragraphs later, but include limited mobility and increased police scrutiny.

Therefore, let’s move on to see the most important issue regarding chocolate cars, the drawbacks.

  1. Inconvenience: what are the disadvantages of chocolate cars?

This is where the charm of chocolate cars breaks because convenience is definitely what suffers the most.

For starters, we can take the example of the Quora thread we mentioned before, where they mention:

Increased scrutiny by police

Driving in American cars provokes more scrutiny from the police, who can stop you more frequently.

It is more likely that the car will be impounded, especially if it does not have papers such as a circulation card or temporary permit.

Doubtful quality risks

A warning that the AMDA has launched against the acquisition of chocolate cars is that they are more unsafe.

According to the Association, many of the American cars that enter Mexico were total losses in the United States.

Several of them belong to the salvage group, that is, cars that were involved in accidents and were repaired or rearmed.

However, due to the lack of quality inspection, they can be purchased by Mexicans and brought into the country.

This with the consequent risk of driving with a vehicle that is not in optimal conditions.

Similarly, they may not pass the environmental emission conditions of your State, as they are not manufactured with the specifications of the Official Mexican Standards.

You do not have access to agency service

Due to its status, you cannot go to the agency in case of imperfections or if they need a repair.

It’s like with electronics, where if you buy a cell phone outside of Mexico, you can forget about the warranty.

You have no knowledge of the history of the vehicle

One of the main risks is that the car you want to buy has a report of theft in the United States.

Or, another scenario, that has been involved in criminal acts.

In both cases, the new owner, crossing back into the United States for something as simple as getting gas, could be detained and involved in a lot of unnecessary trouble.

The car is not manufactured for the weather conditions of Mexico

This might surprise you (it surprised me), but it’s true.

Vehicles are built for specific markets and take into account the characteristics of those markets.

Those characteristics include the height of cities, road conditions, and even the manufacture of gasoline.

For example, it is not the same to drive through the streets of McAllen, Texas, as through those of Nogales, Sonora.

These types of issues can accelerate wear and tear on the car faster than expected.

If that happens, you will end up with more expenses and a higher cost than if you had bought a car in Mexico.

You drive without insurance

If you buy an American car to circulate in Mexico, you most likely do not think about car insurance so clean.

However, remember that driving on federal roads without insurance is prohibited.

And that in several states of the Mexican Republic it is mandatory to have auto insurance.

Therefore, it is mandatory that you take into account how you are going to insure an American car if you plan to acquire it.

So that leads to our next question…


The quick and easy answer, regardless of context, is yes. Yes, you can purchase auto insurance.

However, this insurance is not the same auto insurance that you can purchase for cars purchased in the country.

Several insurers have a ‘Tourist Auto Insurance‘, which covers and certifies them to circulate throughout the country.

This type of insurance is specialized for vehicles with foreign license plates, and usually has the following characteristics:

  • Makes foreign cars comply with all regulations in Mexico (for example Civil Responsibility )
  • The validity is variable, according to the length of stay of the vehicle
  • Premiums and sums insured are usually in dollars

In this way, imported cars or chocolate can be insured without the need to legalize them, however, you must take into account that hiring this insurance for a year would be much more expensive than doing it for a resident car, in the same period.


Now that we’ve seen all the downsides of chocolate cars, it’s also worth looking at how you can legalize them.

If you want to buy a car in the United States, there should be no problem as long as you follow the rules.

To help you, the National Institute of Migration published several tips for the legalization of vehicles.

Among the most important, is that you need to hire an authorized customs broker.

Also, confirm that the agent has a patent granted by the SHCP to perform this function.

Finally, you must take into account that you can only legalize imported cars with a minimum of


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here