Junkers Invade Mexico

David Simmonds

Old American cars, like old Americans, have always found a way to spend their golden (broken down) years in Mexico. In the 1970’s I knew a guy who, whenever he needed to sell his battered car, would drive it over the border into TJ where he would drive to a neighborhood, leave the keys in the ignition, and walk away. The insurance companies were not very adept at tracking these things back then, so he’d collect his payoff for his “stolen” vehicle and go buy another beater. Eventually, he had a hard time keeping insurance and had to find other scams (I’ve heard he’s now a successful lawyer).

These days legally shuttling old cars to Mexico is a booming business due to some NAFTA provisions that are now kicking in. It seems that many Mexicans prefer the heft and size of the gas-guzzler cars and trucks from the U.S. and they can purchase them for a fraction of the assembly line new models. Indeed, old used import sales now outsell the new cars.

It’s good to see recycling being done in such a imaginative and entrepeneurial manner, but the downside of dirty air from the exhausts of these metal dinosaurs is causing some people to question the wisdom of this new practice. And you can bet that the car manufacturers are not pleased with the clunker invasion as their sales stagnate. It sounds like the ideal time for someone to go into the catalytic converter business.

For the full story click here http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-mexclunkers16feb16,1,929179.story?ctrack=1&cset=true