He said the owners would have to pay a fee; the program is scheduled to start soon in the northern border states, where the cars are more common, and later extend to other states.
The Mexican Employers Federation, a business group, said the measure would fill Mexico with unsafe, dirty cars, and noted that it comes at a bad time for the domestic auto industry. New car sales in the first five months of 2021 were 19.8% below the same period of 2019.
“This implies legalizing contraband and fomenting unfair competition with an industry that is strategic for Mexico and has been seriously affected by the pandemic,” the group said.
Because they are largely unregistered, it is hard to say how many “chocolate” cars have been imported into Mexico; some estimates place the number as high as 18 million cars and pickups, or about one-quarter of all such vehicles in Mexico.