Costa Rica 2020. Market down for the 4th year in a row while Toyota easily maintains leadership

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Costa Rica car market
The 2021 Audi SQ2

Costa Rican vehicles market falls due to the global pandemic affecting sales. Indeed, Full Year 2020 sales have been 23.210, down 32.8% compared to 2019. The market registers the fourth year in a row of drops in sales.

Economic Environment

The economic panorama likely remained downbeat in Q3 due to the ongoing health crisis. Economic activity contracted at a sharper pace in July–August, while the unemployment rate remained high in the same period. More positively, however, exports recovered and imports fell at a softer pace in Q3.

Turning to Q4, further restrictions have been eased, with air borders reopening to all countries on 1 November—without the need for a 14-day quarantine upon arrival nor proof of a negative coronavirus test —aiming to boost tourism and employment in the sector. However, this could lead to an increase in Covid-19 cases, which continued to rise in the country through September and October.

In other news, in late October, the government modified the 2021 draft budget to include a 7.5% reduction in primary spending compared to 2020, in an attempt to control public expenditure.

Market Trend

The Costa Rican vehicle market has been affected in 2020 by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted sales significantly. 

The auto market in 2017 pushed the brake after three consecutive all-time records with total vehicle sales at 51.875 units, down 13.0% from the previous year. In 2018 the market trend worsened, ending the year with sales at 39.530, down 20% from 2017.

In 2019 registrations are still declining but at a slower speed. Indeed, full-year sales were at 34.515, down 12.7%.

Full-Year sales for 2020 have been 23.210, reporting a 32.8% decrease compared to 2019.

Brand-wise, this year the leader Toyota (-39.5%) lost 2.8% market share, followed by Suzuki (-33%). Hyundai (-29.8%) was in the third position and gained 0.5% market share.

The most sold model in the country is the Toyota Hilux with 3.523 sales (-43.4%), holding 15.2% market share.