How Auto Dealerships Can Make More International Sales

Editors Note: This post aims to expand auto dealerships’ sales opportunities beyond their local markets. You can do this by signing up for my Facebook Ads Setup Plan!

Do you wish to expand your auto dealership beyond your current markets? Have you been wondering whether or not to go international? This article tells you all that you need to do to expand your business! My name is Francisco, and I have been in the business for over 13 years. So, all the tips that I give here are based on tried and tested methods of marketing. This article will;

  1. Introduction to Marketing for Auto Dealerships
  2. Where to market your auto dealership to get an international audience



Ship Overseas Inc exports many cars from the USA to other countries. A LOT of our customers are auto dealerships. Many auto dealerships use traditional marketing: newspaper print ads, radio, commercials, junk mail, and other forms of advertising. Some even do SEO and paid search. Others focus on Facebook and Twitter basically because everyone on the internet says to get on social media. I personally think the most under-utilized marketing platform for auto dealerships to make more sales is Google Adwords and eBay Motors.

Before we get started, please note that all countries have different regulations when it comes to importing cars. For instance, if you are targeting the Dominican Republic (DR) using paid search, only market cars that are less than 5 years old. Marketing cars using paid search would be a waste of money if the car is older than 5 years old because the DR Customs Department will reject it. To find out the import regulations for a particular country, contact its embassy/consulate in Washington, DC. Do not contact the US embassy because that’s for Americans, not for the people of DR.

How to market auto dealerships to an international audience

The following are some of the platforms that you can use to reach out to an international audience for your auto dealership;

  1. Google Ads

This is probably the most under-utilized marketing platform for marketing auto dealerships to international audiences. While many auto dealerships use Google Ads (formerly Adwords) to attract local people to their websites, they never use it to sell cars to people who are overseas. The CPC (cost-per-click) is much less if your targeted ads appear in the search results.

Example 1: Here is an example targeting English speaking car buyers in Guatemala (GT).


Example 2: This example targets Spanish speaking car buyers in Guatemala.



As you can see, the only company that has truly figured out Adwords is  Let me explain how to set this up. ALL browsers have a default language set. The searcher in the above example is located in Guatemala. It can be any country, but I’m sticking with GT so everything is consistent.

All countries will need to have their own campaign because you don’t want to spend money in certain countries. Here are examples of why that is important;

  • You can’t send a Honda Accord to Australia, but you can send a Honda Civic.
  • Another example is a car buyer over in Nigeria can only import used motor vehicles less than fifteen (15) years old.
  • Last example, a car buyer in Dominican Republic can only import a car that is less than 5 years old.

My point is if you want to increase conversions, don’t lump everything into one campaign. If the following is unfamiliar to you, get your marketing specialist to read it. Here is how you would set up the Google Ads Campaigns (using GT as the country):

Campaign Names | Adgroups | Keywords

Campaign: Guatemala – English Browser. Shows in GT ONLY
Location: Guatemala
Language: English
Adgroup: GT General Keywords (buy cars from USA, etc.)
Adgroup: Car Specific Keywords (buy Ford f150 USA)

Campaign: Guatemala – Spanish Browser. Shows in GT ONLY
Location: Guatemala
Language: Spanish
Adgroup/Keywords: GT General Keywords in SPANISH (comprar carros en EEUU)
Adgroup/Keywords: GT Car Specific Keywords in SPANISH (comprar Ford f150 en EEUU)

To learn more about how this works, go to Google’s “Set up your ad’ target language“.

Obviously you can expand your marketing beyond Guatemala. Who cares if it’s only 10¢-15¢ per click. All dealerships should optimize their international marketing campaigns that reflects their inventory. While some countries accept new cars, others only accept used cars.

eBay Motors

Use eBay Motors to reach out to an international audience for your dealership
Use eBay Motors to reach out to an international audience for your dealership

While many dealerships sell cars on eBay Motors, most don’t know how to leverage the power of eBay Motors for other countries besides USA. The previous examples above talked about leveraging Adwords in Guatemala. This eBay Motors example is going to demonstrate how to leverage eBay Motors in different countries.

Let’s say you own a classic car dealership in the USA and you want to expand your sales to the 2nd hottest place on earth for buying classic cars, Australia (USA is 1st). While most auto dealerships either set their reach to USA, some may set it to worldwide. But if you really want to make a difference in search volume for a particular country, go to its eBay Motors site.


A classic car dealership in Long Beach, California wants to expand its sales beyond the local Long Beach market and USA. Let’s call this company Acme Classic Cars. Acme Classic Cars sells cars on eBay Motors in USA. Now that they know Australia is a great place to sell classic cars, they need to go to and sign in using their current username and password (if it doesn’t work, then create a new one).


All your previous feedback and sales should port over to Australia’s eBay Motors. You don’t have to start from scratch if you are new to selling on Australia’s eBay Motors. Cool right? Now all you have to do is create your listings. Acme Classic Cars can either give approximations on how much it costs to ship the classic car to AU or tell the the customer right in the listing to get a quote from Ship Overseas.

MERCADO LIBRE (it’s the eBay Motors of Latin America)


If you are using Mercado Libre, you will need someone who can translate your listings from English to Spanish. Also, depending on what countries you are marketing in, the banking systems might be difficult to work with. Make sure you get a wire transfer to “your” USA bank. An alternative is to open an HSBC Global Account where you can transfer any funds from the country where the money was deposited back to USA.

Disclaimer: Contact HSCB for more info on this. I think there is a $50 monthly fee or you can have $100,000 in deposits to avoid the $50 monthly fee.

Just look at all those countries in Latin America where you can sell cars. Our experience at Ship Overseas (and we have a TON of experience exporting cars from the USA) says the best countries to work with are Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama, & Guatemala (under Mexico). Chile and Peru are okay too. Countries like Brazil charge so much import duty that it takes the value of importing away.

Lets use Costa Rica as an example. Once you enter the Costa Rica Mercado Libre site, you will see Autos, Motos y Otros. Click that and you are on the car site.


When you are going through the sign up process (at least when “I” went through the process) you may need to enter your banking info in order to send any money from Mercado Pago (owned by Paypal) to your account. This is where the HSBC account comes in handy (the Chinese are AWESOME for creating HSBC). OR if you are about to sell a car, get a wire transfer to your USA bank account. Once payment clears, contact Ship Overseas to come pick up the car and ship it to Costa Rica (or whatever country).

Share the word!

Pass this post on to your boss or the owner of your dealership! Also if this post was useful to you, please click on the Like, Tweet, or any of the social media buttons to Share. It lets us know we are doing a food job.

This post was written by Francisco, the internet marketer of an international car shipping company called Ship Overseas,  and founder of Planet Marketing. He is a master at Paid Search (Adwords/BingAds) as well as SEO and Google Analytics. If your company already works with a marketing company, he would be glad to give some consultation.

11 thoughts on “How Auto Dealerships Can Make More International Sales”

  1. Michael Bishay

    I have a toyota dealership and I would like to market to the rest of the world.. What is my best bet?

    1. Great question. You should find out what countries you want to start with. Not all countries accept every car. In fact, many have vehicles age restrictions. If you are interested, study and you can learn a lot from our client. Disclaimer: I built that website and wrote the content.

    1. You mean a dealership you can buy from? If so, buy from a dealership that is located near the departure shipping port that goes to your country.

  2. Fransisco

    I am looking for a marketing professional that understands how to market to international clients. What would be the best way to contact you?

    Thank you

    Brian Gomez

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *