A recent news story, published by Reuters, shares how Mexico is moving to allow unregistered used cars brought into Mexico illegally to be registered for a whopping $124. According to the article, Baja, California has as many as 500,000 unregistered vehicles alone. Many of these vehicles were brought into Mexico from the United States either to sell them illegally or for use in criminal activities. Overall, Mexico seems to want to use America as an inventory acquisition avenue. And this has fired up U.S. automakers.

According to the Washington Post, as many as 18 million vehicles have been illegally imported into Mexico since 1990, accounting for about a third of all vehicles in the country.

A used vehicle purchased in the U.S. doesn’t legally require that open recalls be repaired before sale. Hypothetically, a vehicle could be purchased in the United States, imported to Mexico, and, for USD 124, be legally registered in Mexico. At that point, it could be legally driven back into the United States. And on the roads, once again, threatening the safety of drivers and passengers.

The problem then becomes three-fold:


  1. Recalls –No legislation currently requires the repair of recalls in used vehicles before sale. If the majority of the vehicles imported to Mexico are older cars, chances are many of them have outstanding recalls. This not only presents a danger to the citizens of Mexico when they are resold, but it also means that, due to the lack of manufacturer facilities to fix them, many will go unrepaired for an undefined amount of time. If they do get reintroduced into the United States and are once again driving alongside U.S. citizens, those vehicles present a danger to other drivers.


  1. Information and Identification – We already have issues identifying and notifying second and third generations of vehicle owners with open safety recalls. This new policy would further complicate the matter. A vehicle purchased in the U.S., imported into Mexico and registered, then reintroduced into the U.S. roadways would make it even harder to identify and notify the owners.


  1. Inventory Acquisition – Car sales is a business. We can all agree on that. If Mexican car dealers are finding that it’s more profitable to purchase vehicles in the United States through dealers, auctions, wholesalers, or other avenues, and then sell them in Mexico and make a heftier profit (which has already been happening but now would be legal) that only introduces another competitor for inventory.


I’m not arguing that this new Mexican legislation is right or wrong. I’m simply saying that it further complicates our mission of making the roads safer for everyone. We’ll definitely stay on top of this and further work to protect all drivers.

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