How to sell a car in South America (?)

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#1 Fri, 06/25/2010 - 09:31

How to sell a car in South America (?)

Hi All

We are driving a Ford Explorer bought in Maryland down to South America at the moment and would like to sell it somewhere in South America sometime next year.

We have read so many forums on how to do this, however I have actually not found any really concrete helpful info. We would love to sell our car to foreigners, because we have converted the car into a semi camper and have all the equipment with it. What we do not understand is people saying, just sell it to a foreigner because that is no hassle. If we were to sell our vehicle, in any case we would have to take the license plates off and send it back to the Maryland DMV! If we do not do this, then our names stays attached to the vehicle and we would be liable to pay late fees for vehicle emission inspections and such. The actual sale is not a problem, because we just write that all on the back of the title, but what are you going to do with a vehicle without license plates?

I was wondering who has actually done this? And whether they were happy to live with the liabilities? Or is it possible to sell to an American who then, even though they are in South America, transfers the title to their name and get the number plates sent to them (first to America and then forwarded to South America). Would this be possible?

Now also, in which country is it really easiest to import a car (both paper and money wise)? So far, what I can make of it, it seems to be either Paraguay or Chile. Although I have read that you cannot import a car older than 10 years into Paraguay. Is that true?

Any help is very much appreciated!

Aisha & Gregor
(p.s.: we are from the Netherlands and Austria. If you need any info on buying a car in the USA as a foreigner, which is easy, then please let us know!)

Mon, 04/15/2013 - 22:29

Hi Aisha abd Gregory,

Hi Aisha abd Gregory,

I actually stumbled upon your question, because I am trying to do the exact same thing :/  I know you posted this awhile ago, but I'm wondering if you were ever able to sell the car, or if you found a place/person who could help?

Any info is helpful.  Thx so much.



Thu, 04/09/2015 - 14:24

Same problem



We have the same questions/problems, did you get any answers on this matter? 

Thank you for the help! 

Kind regards

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 23:06 (Reply to #3)

I'm currently in Honduras,

I'm currently in Honduras, same questions, anybody who can help?

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 12:09

Costa rica /panama

IM after the same info has anyone done thins in costa or panama ?? Must be some way around this? Other wise this site wouldnt work ??

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 17:15

Yes, there are ways around

Yes, there are ways around each particular set of circumstances, but the first thing to realise that it is illegal to just "sell" your foreign registered vehicle in almost any country in the world regardless of whether you are selling to another foreigner or a local.  You brought it into that country under a special permission that requires you to take it out of the country before your TIP expires or cop a big fine. That is it.

Yes, possible to draw up a legal document that allows another party to drive your vehicle out of the country, but then what. Not all countires recognise a Poder from another country.

No, there is no one size fits all advice as to how to go about it simply because there is no standard circumstance. For instance, there is no way a non-EU citizen can transfer vehicle ownership of an EU -registered vehicle. Same goes for many states in the USA and a couple in Canada, BC being one, and a couple in Australia. So with those vehicles there is little chance that the new "owner" will ever be able to get legal title to that vehicle so what happens when their travels are finished. Their PODER, the legal document I mentioned, can't be transferred to the next purchaser. So then out comes Photoshop and the illegality deepens while as pointed out by someone in this thread, the original owner may in fact end up having to accept legal and financial liability for anything subsequent "owners" have done. How do you get insurance for a vehicle that is not legally registered - and while on that topic, realise that unless a vehicle IS legally and currently registered back in the home country, it should not be driving around overseas because international treaties require current legal registration.


Yes, of course, what about Joe Blow and Fred Nerk who are driving around S America in vehicles that have been here for 15 years blah blah blah and have photoshopped documents blah blah blah.


I have copies of documents drawn up by one Customs post giving it the power to confiscate a particular vehicle. And they did. I know of a couple of others and have emailed or talked with them so have the stories reasonably first hand.


Have a look at  you will need to use Chrome or use Google Translate.


Couple of similar topics on other forums.


Yes, it can be done but there are risks attached.


Another story on relates story of someone driving a vehicle into Ecuador and being stopped because under a previous owner, it left but the TIP wasn't cancelled and Customs now wanted US$14,000 penaly for not leaving the country in the specified time.


etc etc etc


But it can be done.