Selling Oscar

How to sell a car in Zona Franca? Zona what?

Chile has two tax-free import/export zones called Zona Francas. One is in the South in Punta Arenas and the other one is from Iquique up to the border with Peru, including Arica. Unfortunately, Lothar did not have this on his radar when deciding to sell the car from Arica.

So what’s the problem? Well, all cars – used or new ones – are sold tax-free and hence much cheaper than in the remainder of Chile. Now Oscar has to compete with this cheap and supply-side driven market – dooohh! However, cars from Zona Francas have one little disadvantage: If they leave Zona Franca for the rest of Chile they are give only 90 days per year and the owner has to run through painful paperwork to get this approved. And here lies the chance of Oscar.

First thing was the renewal of the permiso de circulacion at the Municipalidad de Arica. Next, Lothar posted the car in multiple traveler Facebook groups, on chileautos, yapo, lilalist, mercardo libre, vivastreet and economics. Furthermore, Lothar left a car advertisement in a handful of hostels.

Last but not least, Lothar drove to six or seven different car dealers in Arica which he found googling. The majority was not intertested at all in buying – only in selling. Two dealerships offered their help. The first one (Arica Motors) offered a rediculous low price at least 40% below market value. Since the second dealership (MT Irani Motors) offered an alternative deal Lothar rejected the first offer.

The guys from Irani Motors offered to sell the car for a commission of 5% plus a parking fee of 1,500CLP/day for every day the car is unsold. Since this was Lothar’s only option he went for it. To get all the proper selling rights and conditions established Lothar went with a representative of the dealership to a notary to set up a power of attorney (“Padron”). Lothar asked for two clauses to be included: A minimum selling price and an expiry of the power of attorney. The dealership was fine with both. Apparently, the padron can be cancelled anytime by the owner of the car.

In addition, we signed a selling contract specifying the commission, the parking fee, Lothar’s bank account and the company to be used to do the money transfer. Lothar decided to use AFEX Arica since they transfer money for a flat fee of USD 25. Their USD exchange rates are though much narrower than the Euro ones.

After the paperwork was done Lothar drove with Oscar to the beach to watch the sun set. Hopefully, their last sun set together 😉 Then he parked the car at the dealership and said with a said face goodbye to Oscar. Muchas gracias, Oscar! You were a great and reliable travel mate. Hope you find a new lovely owner.


For the next morning Lothar booked a bus to La Paz, Bolivia. In case Oscar is not in new hands in 3-4 weeks Lothar has still the chance to travel back to Arica and get the car as he will stay in radius of 1000km from there. In this case plan B would be to get the car and drive towards Colombia and promote the car on the road via Facebook to other travels. With Suzi Santiago’s remote title transfer service ( this would give Lothar still the chance to sell Oscar legally . But let’s cross the fingers that plan A works out well! Keep you posted…

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