Auto show opens Saturday in Belize City

No matter where you look around Belize it’s hard not to notice the vastly increased number of vehicles on our streets, roads and highways. And while there’s a fair share of rustbuckets and junkers in the mix, there’s also a surprising number of gleaming new pickups and SUVs fresh off the boat from Japan, Korea and Detroit. And if the four business houses that sell those dreams have their way, there will be plenty more to come. News Five’s Stewart Krohn made the rounds this morning in our annual preview of this weekend’s auto show.

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Stewart Krohn, Reporting
Twenty years ago buying a new vehicle in Belize meant ordering from a catalogue and waiting six months. Today the motto is have money, will travel as over a dozen different brands from four major distributors are available at the signing of a cheque. And whether you’re ready to buy or just rekindling a dream, the place to be this weekend is the annual auto show.

Emil Torres, Sales Executive, Belize Diesel
“It’s the best time to get the hot deals. First and foremost you have all the dealers out there so instead of driving all the way up the road to compare prices and vehicles dah the best time fi come out because you have everybody out there.”

Ivan Lopez, Sales Rep., Belize Estate
“Nowadays, new vehicles the prices are going down. I mean you can go to a bank and get a vehicle finance fi forty thousand dollars, that’s the minimum price we can get you on a brand new vehicle. We can get you going quick, fast and in a hurry.”

Eddie Bouloy, Managing Dir., Bravo Motors
“That’s what we are telling people, come on into our dealerships, we can show you how to own a new car, it is within your reach.”

Alan Auil, Gen. Manager, J.M.A. Motors Ltd.
“More and more people are finding out once they have their home paid for or arranged for they are finding out that they afford a new vehicle.”

Ah yes, a new vehicle, just the smell is enough to make you want to visit the Marion Jones Stadium this Saturday and Sunday. And while owning a vehicle is no longer just for the wealthy, most Belizeans still wind up buying second hand...a habit that J.M.A. Motors, Belize Diesel, Bravo Motors and Belize Estate will try hard to make you break.

Alan Auil
“Before some of the other players came into the market our main competition was Miami and Houston and now because of the local competition with the other dealers the completion is local and so people who want to buy a vehicle, brand new, in Belize will look to buy it in Belize and keep the money at home.”

Eddie Bouloy
“We have vehicles starting at thirty-five thousand dollars; that turns out to be about seven hundred and fifty dollars a month financed. And a lot of time we all know when we first start out in life none of us or very few of us can start out with a new car. Life is like a ladder, you buy your first used car, you buy your second used then you move on to the new car when you get you family or your promotion or what have you.”

Ivan Lopez
“Getting a new vehicle is a dream like getting a new house. You dream about getting a new vehicle, you go, you do it, get it financed and, bam, there we have a brand new vehicle for you.”

Emil Torres
“Financing will be available. We will have mostly all of the banks out there. I know so far we have confirmed Scotiabank will be out there offering full financing, Atlantic Bank will also be out there, First Caribbean will be out there so financing in everything will be out there easily accessible.”

Indeed, with banks and insurance companies set up alongside the automotive displays it will take a strong will not to buy. But salesmanship apart, the dealers say that in many cases a new car actually save money in the long run.

Alan Auil
“Modern technology has enabled modern engines to be a lot more economical; gasoline engines are giving as much as thirty miles to the gallon and diesel engines even more than that. And if we start bringing in smaller vehicles with more economical, smaller engines you can get vehicles that give forty-five, fifty miles to the gallon.”

Emil Torres
“The overhead expense that’s the thing about it, a new car with full warranty and everything from Belize Diesel you now you noh have to worry about dipping into that pocket. Buying a used vehicle out there that a month, two months, a year time now you have to come out of the pocket fi do repair and fix and so forth and also the safety, the luxury, everything incorporated in one.”

Ivan Lopez
“If you buy a used truck especially the salvage vehicles brought in form the United States you have no warranty. You have thirty-six months warranty with us, a hundred thousand kilometres, bumper to bumper. Anything goes wrong we fix it up for you, for free.”

A service that is not available to those who choose to buy a late model vehicle of dubious pedigree, that is to say stolen from abroad.

Eddie Bouloy
“It gives the country a black eye. Stolen cars do cut into our business. We’ve, unfortunately, have to learn to live with them and they continue to pour across the borders and I believe until the powers that be take serious enough force and stamp it out it’s gonna be a continuing issue.”

And while there will be no hot cars on display this weekend, there will be some steals...if not now then later.

Alan Auil
“Even if you’re not ready to buy this weekend the planning really should start now. You can start to see and in one closed area where all the completion will be and you can compare, compare the vehicles, compare the functionality of them and the prices but for planning to buy a vehicle in the upcoming year this is the place to start.”

Ivan Lopez
“The special deals will be prices. We are trying to work as the lowest prices we can get for you guys so you can have two days and get have those special prices and you can go ahead and get your vehicles.”

Stewart Krohn
“So just for those two days you are going to give prices that you wouldn’t give normally, is that it?”

Ivan Lopez
“Not even for Christmas.”

Stewart Krohn reporting for News Five.

In addition to the cars and trucks there will be plenty of food and drink on sale, as well as games for the kids. Admission at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex is two dollars and the gates will be open from nine to five on both days.

Live and let live