Second-Hand Cars: Learn to Bargain


Panama is known for being a country in which different products are in constant movement. Thanks to the colossal Panama Channel, the commercial offer provided by businesses is spectacular, with international makes and models.

The used car or second-car sector is one of the strengths of the trading market, with an increasingly  high percentage of sales. Additionally, the option of a second-hand car for regular use is a cultural reference accepted by society.

In Panama, there are three different options to purchase a used car: through an official dealer, at a car lot, or directly through their owners.  These three ways of buying a used car have both advantages and disadvantages that affect our business strategy in order to get a good price and a quality car.


It is important to know what kind of car we want. It must meet our real, family and work needs. Being clear on this point is a key factor, since it will be a matter of importance when looking for the appropriate model.

Below we will detail the negotiation particularities of each different purchasing option mentioned above:

  • Official Dealer: Choosing the manufacturer of the car we want will guarantee the condition of the vehicle. In this case, we go after what we want, we know the characteristics of the car. In these establishments they give us a certification on the manufacturer’s workshop check-ups. The price may vary if we trade our old car. We sacrifice a higher price for the assurance of getting a car with no problems.

  • Car lots. In this case we have places offering a great variety of types of cars, and their condition must be carefully examined.  Even though there are car lots that provide certification on their cars’ check-ups, this is not mandatory, so we must be cautious. It is a good idea to rely on a trustworthy mechanic who can assess the condition of the vehicle.  Some wear is not a bad thing; it may get us a discount on the price of the car, as long as the costs of repairing the car are not too high. It is advisable to visit several lots and limit our search  to our budget.

  • Individual sellers. This might be the riskiest option. With no kind of middle-man, we enter a search, assessment and negotiation quest. For the buyer, this involves having a high knowledge of the industry, or you may buy a true wreck. We must trust the seller, who must provide all the car’s paperwork, and  thoroughly check up that particular car. Both buyer and seller must be open and  willing to negotiate a price reasonable for both parties.

Buying a second-hand car is a process that requires dedication, information and knowledge. These values can lead us to get a high-quality car at a very good price.

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