Monday, August 15, 2016

All those cars in El Salvador

Traffic in El Salvador, particularly the capital city of San Salvador, is maddening as shown in some of this video footage from the AP in 2015.  (Actually I think the traffic is worse than shown in this video, but I am not going to take my hands off the wheel to provide you with a video).

And the number of cars on El Salvador's road continues to grow.   According to government statistics reported in La Prensa, there were some 35,000 cars imported into the country during the first six months of 2016.    Of those cars, roughly two thirds were used cars.

The used cars imported into El Salvador are primarily ones which were purchased at insurance salvage auctions in the US.    When cars are declared total losses by US insurance companies because of wrecks or floods, they get sold at auction.   Typically the cars cannot be re-sold or re-registered in the US.   Instead they go into foreign markets like El Salvador.  There is a booming Salvadoran market importing wrecked cars, fixing them up, and then reselling them.       

A US State Department report, stated that there were 1132 traffic fatalities in El Salvador during 2015, and noted that "A significant percentage of vehicles are in disrepair, under-powered, beyond their service life, and do not meet U.S. road safety standards. "


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