If you are moving to the Philippines you might like to know that buying a car in the Philippines is an easy process, and anyone, including any foreigners and Americans can buy one here. Bank and in-house dealer financing options are available with a small down payment. Once you are done with the finance options, the dealer will take care of the registration and vehicle emissions inspection and supply you with a temporary tag. Vehicles must be re-registered annually at the local LTO (Land Transport Office) and that’s pretty much it.
One very popular option here, is buying what are known here as Multicabs and Multivans, these are surplus Japanese vehicles stored in warehouses in Japan and shipped to companies like Norkis of Cebu who refurbish and re-sell them for around 150,000 pesos, or around $4,000. Norkis is the leading Multicab company in the Philippines. However due to new tougher regulations they are moving towards selling new vehicles out of China.
Cebu City has Ford and Chevrolet dealers as well as Japanese dealers like Suzuki, and Mitsubishi and Toyota.
When I first arrived here in the Philippines in 2004, my first vehicle was a Multivan (shown below). This one cost me around $3,000 back then and it was not air-conditioned but I was OK with that. The engines on these Multivans and Multicabs are a 3 cylinder 660cc regular unleaded gas.
If you have a drivers license from your home country you can drive with it for up to 30 days then you must acquire a Philippines International Drivers license. These are processed at your local LTO office by filling out some paperwork and paying the license fee which is not much. The nice thing about this process is there is no written or driving test administered. My suggestion is to use and LTO other than the one in Cebu City or any large city, as it will be crowded. I often go to the Danao City LTO and get in and out in under 15 to 30 minutes.
The second vehicle I purchased in the Philippines was a 2005 Ford Escape from Dearborn Motors Co. Inc. in Cebu City. This one was an all wheel drive with a V6. I really liked the way it drove like a sports car around the mountain pass full of hair pin turns. This one was not cheap even then it was 1.4 million Pesos or around $25,000. I sold it in 2009 to a guy in Bohol for $15,000 wish I had it now, I consider selling it a mistake ince from 2006 until 2010 I had moved back to the USA and did not expect to return, so I sold it, then a year later we decided to return hmmm.
After retirning to the Philippines in 2010 Marianne bought her a little 2010 Suzuki Celerio for around 12,000. This is her car and she shose pink for the color. The car has a 3 cylinder engine at 996cc and runs great. It’s also very good on gas milage. Now it’s my turn and we are in the process of looking for another vehicle that will be mine. I am looking at both the Ford Everest (not available in the USA) a 4 cylinder diesel model with 3 full rows of seats. My other choice is a Jeepney called a Lucky Cab built in China. I like the looks of this jeepney and think it would be fun to drive. It comes in three different models one has a separate cab and passenger compartment, one is a one piece body, and one is open air Jeepney which we both kind of liked.
Note: We just purchased a gold Ford Everest Limited Edition just yesterday 1/11/2013. 1.7 Million. This one is fully loaded with 2 TV monitors, GPS, all the extras. Current Promo: P 99,000 Down and P 34,000 per month for 5 years.
Luck Cab 1.8 L diesel Heavy Duty wheels and rear axle 21 passengers Air Conditioned P 599,000.
This is the Norkis Lucky Cab Jeepney model and my favorite it is open air not air-conditioned and runs P 522,000 about $13,000.