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

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.