Economical car-buying options for STX
My fiance and I are relocating to STX in August. We plan on staying in St. Croix for 3-4 years. We are looking into car-buying options offered by local STX dealerships. Please let us know what our best relative options are on a new, economical vehicle with $1,500 to $2,000 down. What I mean by economical is the lower-buyer end cars such as Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, or Kia Spectra. I understand there is a Ford dealership on the island, but what are my other options in buying, and, therefore, financing, a new vehicle in STX?
I would buy a good used car on island. In the class of cars you mention the auto rental companies regularly sell their used cars at discount. I just noticed some for sale the other day on Centerline's website www.centerlinecarrentals.com
The auto dealers have used cars and financing is easier with them. Other people might recommend that you buy a car in the staes and ship it to stx, that could be a problem if it is financed. It is a hassle and has other hidden costs but it can be done.
Cars are not a status symbol in the islands. They take a beating and show their age very early.
Metro Motors has Fords and a few other brands. Caribbean Auto Mart has about a dozen brands they carry. You can get financing at either place pretty easily if you have income and the down payment. There are also a few smaller dealerships with one or two brands. You can also probably get financing on late model used cars at the main dealerships in their resale lots.
Do not buy new unless you know you are staying forever or at least as long as your financing is. My last set of renters (husband hated it here, she loved it) left after six months to go back to FL. He bought a brand new pickup from Caribbean Auto Mart and financed it locally here. They (financiers) would not let him take it stateside and he was unable to sell it before they left. They ended up leaving it in the bank parking lot when they left. You can buy a fairly dependable island beater for 3 to 5k. A new corolla or focus here is going to be alot more here then stateside. The have to pay customs and then make their profit. A would get a bank loan and buy a cheaper island car. Buy something you can easily resale if it doesn't work out and your insurance will be cheaper that way too if you only have to pay liability. The bank (on a new car) will want you to carry more.
I would never buy a new car on-island no matter how long I planned to live here, well maybe if I had a garage, but not if my car was going to sit outside. The climate here kills cars. The driving speeds are slow and no one cares how your car looks. Find a good used car and save your $$$.
and insurance rates for new cars, even with much less coverage, seem to be about 3-4x what I would pay in he states....although I hear AARP might be getting into the car insurance business on the islands, if you are old enough to qualify. Not sure what their rates will be.