Guatemala - Country Commercial Guide
Automotive Aftermarket and Accessories

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-08-10

Overview

In early 2020, the market forecasts were very positive; Guatemala had estimated projections of 5% to 10% market growth for the sector. On March 2020, the Guatemalan Government Imposed mobility restrictions and a very long lockdown to prevent the spreading of  COVID-19 pandemic that according to the Guatemalan car importers and distributors, affected the industry and sales dropped 57%.  The industry witnessed for the first-time layoffs of employees at car dealerships and spare part stores with declining sales, as mobility was limited for several months. Since then, the industry Is trying to bounce back as the country witnessed a slow but steady economic recovery.

However, because of Covid-19, the market saw a reduction in sales of new and used cars and as the pandemic has diminished demand in 2020 hoping to bounce back in 2021,  but a worldwide shortage of chips is affecting the industry of car manufacturing around the world therefore car manufacturers are sending to Guatemala limited number of cars as their production cannot meet the current demand.

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 later re-sale.  

As of January 2021, the total number of vehicles in Guatemala was 4.1 million units - including motorcycles. This number represents over 74% 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 U.S. 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. 

Guatemala Trade Data 2018-2021

 

2018

2019

2020

2021 est.

Total Exports 

17,626 

17,874 

17,921

18,852

Total Imports 

555,470  

571,224 

576,574

588,362

Imports from the US 

130,271  

138,627 

142,477 

155,334

Exchange Rates 

7.50 

7.50 

7.50 

7.50 

(Total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports) 
Units: $ thousands 
Source: SIECA Guatemala, Central America Data Express 

Leading Sub-Sectors 

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. 

Opportunities 

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. 

Impact of Tariff Reduction:  Under DR-CAFTA, 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 DR CAFTA 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. 

Resources 

  • U.S. Commercial Service in Guatemala:  www.buyusa.gov/guatemala   
  • Government Tenders:  Sistema de Informacion de Contraciones y Adquisiciones del Estado
  • Tax information:  Superintendencia de Administracion Tributaria (SAT)
  • Customs Vehicle Park Statistics:  Superintendencia de Administracion Tributaria (SAT) (select vehicles tab)
  • Statistical information:  Sistema de Estadisticas de Commercia de Centroamerica (SIECA)
  • Guatemalan Chamber of Commerce