Ask Bajan Mom: Buying Cars in Barbados

Q: Hi there, Bajanmom. This is my first time commenting but I have been reading your posts for a couple of weeks now. My question is,  what are car prices like in Barbados? I am trying to figure out if I should buy a car here or in Barbados after I move. Thanks. UKB

A: UKB, thank you for your question. I wish you had given me more information like your age, where you live, how long you lived overseas,  and when you are planning to move to Barbados. Information like that would help me to understand if you fall under the rights and privileges of returning nationals or not and also assist in making price comparisons. That said, I will answer you to the best of my ability.

Let me address your first question first. I have found that, due to Barbadian taxes and duties, that Barbadian vehicles are almost four times more expensive than those in the US. When I was in the States I visited US and Barbadian car dealership websites, which gave me an idea about costs. I also called dealerships in Barbados to ask if they would be able to service the particular brand or model I was investigating, since these are factors to consider as well. So, for example, let us look at the 2014 Toyota Rav 4. In the US, according to www.toyota.com, this vehicle’s 2.5L Gasoline engine model’s starting price is US$23,550, that is roughly BD$47,100. In Barbados, the 2013 model of similar engine size retails for a starting price of BD$166,995 or US$83,497.50. If my maths serves me correctly, the 2013 Rav4 in Barbados is 3.5 times plus more expensive than its 2014 equivalent in the US.

I should warn you, however, that your decision to purchase your vehicle overseas is not as simple as which country has cheaper vehicles. If you are a returning national (see criteria here), you will be allowed ONE motor vehicle free of all duties and taxes with certain restrictions. If the car is used, it cannot be more than four years old or have more than 50,000 kms on the odometer unless you have proof that you owned it at least four years before importation. If it is new, the vehicle must be retained for at least three years. Each year you must provide proof from the Licensing Authority that the vehicle is still registered in your name.

If you are not a returning national, expect 45% import duty, an environmental levy determined by whether your vehicle is new or used, 17.5% Valued Added Tax, an excise tax based on engine size and port charges. Furthermore, depending on where you live, you may want to import a left-hand drive vehicle. If so, please note that the insurance for left-hand drive vehicles in Barbados is considerably more than their right-hand drive counterparts. If you will incur taxes and duties anyway, getting a right-hand drive in Barbados may be a better choice for you. In terms of the type of vehicle you may want to purchase, you also need to consider road tax which increases in accordance to the vehicle’s weight.

I cannot make your decision for you, but I hope that the information that I have provided will assist you in some way. Some Barbadian car dealership sites you may want to visit are Nassco, Simpson Motors, and McEnearney.

Best wishes,

Bajan Mom

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Posted on January 21, 2014, in Ask Bajan Mom, Moving to Barbados: Helpful Hints and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. laurence hill

    I am a Bajan living in the Uk for the past 15 years, we are very lucky to have a holiday home here on the Island, we visit probably about 16 weeks of the year off and on and would like to have a car over here to use, as rentals are so expensive. We are looking into exporting a car to Barbados and wondered if you knew of somewhere where we can store the car and can be looked after and made ready for our return each time?

    • Sorry for the delay, Laurence. I will ask a few questions for you and get back to you as soon as possible.

    • Good morning, Laurence. So I did some checking with reliable sources and was informed that your best bet would be to have your vehicle stored with a reputable garage such as Simpson Motors, MQI or Nassco for example. My sources warned however, that the cost of storage fees and maintenance may actually exceed the expense of renting vehicles while you are in the island.

      I hope this helps, if you have any further questions, please feel free to email bajanmom@hotmail.com.

      Best wishes

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