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Paraguay becomes S.America's used car paradise

Paraguay has become the main destination in South America for used cars from Japan, the US and other countries, thanks to new regulations aimed at making it easier to import automobiles so low-income consumers can purchase vehicles.

Used cars are all the rage in Paraguay, where vehicles that have been shipped from thousands of kilometers away are put to use as soon as they are repaired and made fit for the road.

"No one is dumb and everyone knows that the prices we have are good," used car dealer Francisco Lopez told EFE.

Lopez's Asuncion used car lot features vehicles from Japan, South Korea and the US, with prices starting at 20 million guaranies (about USD 4,700).

Paraguay imported 3,248 used cars, vans and light trucks in 2003, with imports of used vehicles climbing to 35,048 in 2008 and more than 55,000 last year, said a customs service spokesman.

Imports of new vehicles totaled 28,887 units in 2012, down 1.72 percent from the year before, the Automotive and Machinery Distributors Association, or Cadam, said.

Paraguay imported 23,334 automobiles in the January-March 2013 period, of which 16,161, or 69 percent, were used, the customs service spokesman said.