The industry has bounced back since the end of pandemic-related restrictions. Imports for parts and accessories have increased to supply the market, returning to pre-pandemic levels. The only category that has not recuperated includes new car imports, due to the worldwide scarcity of chips, resulting in car manufacturers not being able to meet the demand in Guatemala. For example, new car dealerships mentioned that if they make an order for 100 cars, they will be lucky if they get 20, and even then, they are not able to offer their clients color choices due to vehicle shortages.
On average, Guatemalans keep their automobiles for five to seven years before purchasing a newer model. To supply the demand for those who wish to purchase a new vehicle at a lower cost, an important number of informal importers purchase damaged cars at auctions in the United States. These importers repair the automobiles and refurbish them locally for re-sale.
As of January 2023, the total number of vehicles in Guatemala was 4.7 million units - including motorcycles. This number represents over 75% increase in the last ten years.
Imported parts and equipment are sold to local mechanic shops, service stations, and gas stations. The significant volume of used vehicles in circulation and the poor conditions of the roads have contributed to the need for repair equipment and parts.
The United States is the source of 37% of all automotive parts, accessories, and service equipment with the remaining percentage of imports coming from South Korea, Mexico, Japan, China, Brazil, India, and Europe. A significant number of Asian manufacturers are represented in the market selling a large volume low-priced product. It is estimated that almost 75% of the cars circulating in Guatemala are manufactured by Asian brands. According to the Guatemalan Customs Office, 39% of the cars in Guatemala are Toyota, 10% Mazda, 9% Honda, 7% Nissan, 5% Mitsubishi, 4% Hyundai, 4% Kia, 3% Chevrolet, 3% Ford, 2% Volkswagen and 14% others.
Imports from the US
(Total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)
Units: $ thousands
Source: SIECA Guatemala, Central America Data Express
The most promising sub-sectors for U.S. products within the industry include aftermarket products such as: hydraulic brake fluids, liquids for hydraulic transmission systems, lead-acid, piston engines, used pneumatic tires or rubber, parts and accessories for suspension systems, oil and fuel filters, bumpers, spoilers, tail lights, wheels, sound systems, alarms, radial tires, batteries, suspension kits, mufflers, air filters, chips, exhaust systems, brakes, windshield wipers, spark plugs, wheel covers, and steering wheels.
Other promising products are service equipment such as: lifts, tire repair, electronic diagnosis, tire balancing, compressors, and equipment and tools for service stations.
To supply the large demand for aftermarket products, service tools and equipment, there are more than one hundred spare parts and service agencies in Guatemala. Most agents and distributors, whether they are large companies or small entrepreneurs, are continually looking at new alternatives to offer their customers.
It is very important to note that this market is price driven and that Asian brands are well-positioned in the market and offer counterfeit “copies” of lower quality and price. Innovative, unusual products present a good opportunity for U.S. manufacturers if the prices remain competitive.
Market Size: 4.7 million vehicles (January 2023)
Impact of Tariff Reduction: Under CAFTA-DR, U.S. manufactured automotive parts enter Guatemala at 0% import duty. U.S. companies can take advantage on these cost savings by applying to benefits under CAFTA-DR when exporting to Guatemala.
Origin rules in CAFTA-DR allow remanufactured parts to qualify for duty free treatment, potentially expanding the market for these products in the CAFTA-DR region.
Official website for Government Tenders https://www.guatecompras.gt/
Interested parties may contact Commercial Specialist Antonio Prieto at firstname.lastname@example.org