Costa Rica’s Expomóvil fair has been going on for longer than Carlos Aguilar, general coordinator of the event and executive director of the Vehicle and Machinery Importers Association (AIVEMA), can remember. While the event used to happen every two years, he said, in 2006 Expomóvil became an annual event and has been growing ever since.
Thirty automobile companies will participate in this year’s 10-day Expomóvil, which was set to begin yesterday at the San Antonio de Belén fairground, about 30 minutes northwest of San José near the highway to the airport. More than 45,000 people are expected to attend, making it the largest fair in the country.
The following automobile companies – 21 selling cars and nine selling motorcycles – will be present at Expomóvil this year: SAVA, Vetrasa, Autostar, Motores Británicos, Cori Motors, Craisa, FACO, Grupo Los Tres, Great Wall Autos, Motores Franceses, Citrocar, AESA, NASA, Automotriz, Tecnoagrícola, Bavarian Motors, Motos Suki, Hnos. Lutz, United Motors, Moto Desmo, Motosport, Motocicletas Bavarian, Grupo Q, Motortec, Autos Xiri, Veinsa, Subaru, Disitali, Agencia Datsun and Purdy Motor. Twenty companies that distribute car accessories and navigation and tracking devices will also set up stands at the fair.
Additionally, representatives from four Costa Rican banks will be there – BAC San José, Banco Nacional, Scotiabank and Lafise – along with the National Insurance Institute and Mapfre, a new company in the opening Costa Rican insurance market. Attendees can anticipate discounted autos, special packages that include auto accessories and insurance deals.
“The [car] agencies offer special promotions, and many lower their prices,” Aguilar said. “In addition to that, banks give preferential rates for financing or more time [to pay back loans]. Also, in many cases, what they do is give a special promotion where they give you a vehicle accessory.”
All of the automobiles and motorcycles sold at the fair are brand-new. Aguilar said the idea behind the event is that buyers receive something more than what they could usually expect when investing in a car.
Víctor Morgan, commercial director of Purdy Motor (Toyota), said the company has been attending Expomóvil since it began and considers the event to be one of the most important automobile fairs in the country. “Because of that,” he said, “we always present the best of our portfolio and offer the best packages and discounts, plus a full consultation.”
Purdy Motor expects to sell 1,000 cars at Expomóvil 2011, surpassing the 800 cars it sold at last year’s event. Morgan said the company will also introduce a new Toyota sports car model at this year’s fair. In addition, they will have four stands set up at the event: Efficient Performance, Adventure, Premium and Purdy Trabajo.
Aguilar said the event draws a mix of Costa Ricans and foreigners, and explained that nonresidents are eligible to make purchases. “Any person that’s here in the country can buy a vehicle and write their passport number [in the public registry],” he said. “That’s no problem, even if they don’t have residency.” But, he said, if nonresident buyers want to finance part of the price, they must go directly to the banks to see what the requirements are.
The admission price for the event is ₡2,500 ($5). Hours are as follows: Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The San Antonio de Belén fairground is in La Asunción de San Antonio de Belén, from the EPA hardware store (diagonal from Plaza Real Cariari), 400 meters west and 800 meters north. Parking is free.
For more information, call AIVEMA at 2201-5705.