Mexico extends legalization period for so-called ‘chocolate cars’
Mexico is extending the timeline for owners of illegally imported foreign cars to bring those vehicles into compliance.
Since last March, more than 1 million so-called “chocolate cars” have been registered in Mexico for a small fee, allowing them to be owned and driven legally in the country without paying the high cost of formal importation.
Now that program is being extended for three additional months until the end of March, according to Mexico’s Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodriguez.
She says the program has brought in some $135 million so far. Those funds are being used by states to pave and repair roads.
The states of Baja California, Chihuahua and Tamaulipas head the list for the highest number of legalized cars. Sonora comes in fourth, with about 128,000 vehicles registered and more than $16 million dollars in revenues from the program.
Officials say there are about 2 million illegally imported vehicles in Mexico. Mostly in northern states, where used cars are frequently brought across the border without going through the formal importation process. The process has also been presented as a safety measure because chocolate cars are hard to trace, and officials say they are often used in crimes.
Governor Alfronso Durazo quickly thanked Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for extending the program, which he says has given many Sonorans legal certainty on the road and is paying for major roadway improvements.