If you go to Ciudad Del Este, the second biggest city of Paraguay, near the border of Brazil and Argentina, you will find sellers willing to sell you everything, a very hot and humid weather and one of the biggest hydroelectric dams in the world.

The Cataratas do Iguaçú is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world is really close to Ciudad Del Este

In the chaotic traffic jams, you will notice something different about the Toyotas over the streets. First of all, those Corolla wagons look-a-likes, are actually Caldinas, an unusual sight outside Japan. Looking closer, you will see stickers written in Japanese, wipers that go to the passenger side, an automatic transmission with writing on the wrong side and usually a handbrake closer to the passenger seat. You them realize this car was used in Japan and brought over to Paraguay and had its steering wheel converted to the left side.

Taxi Drivers Strike, making the traffic even worse

JDM Caldinas pillying up

As soon as you realize that, you think how is it possible, since JDM cars were never intended to receive the steering wheel on the left side. And when you see the number of JDM cars in the streets, with the steering wheel on the left, you see that this is not a one man's project. Cars in Japan tend to become very cheap over the years. Since they are reliable, they've become popular in nondeveloped countries.

The interior of a Caldina Taxi

Got it?

When searching the web, I came across STB Japan, an auction online company for used Japanese cars that sends cars across the globe. Talking with them, I've checked what you have to do, if you want to have a street legal JDM car in Paraguay. After seeking through the cars that are available for Paraguay, the car exits Japan, and goes on a journey across the Pacific all the way to Iquique, in Chile. At this town, there are so many JDM cars on the streets that it is the only place in Chile that right hand drive cars are permitted. The car then goes to Paraguay on the truck. After arriving in Paraguay, the car is converted to left hand drive, in a process that can be simple, cheap and ugly, or complex, expensive and just as if it were from the manufacturer. The taxi's Caldinas usually goes through the first one, which cost around 500-700 USD. Desirable cars, like a Subaru STi, usually receive a new panel, new wipers and new dashboard.

This makes Paraguay with a strong car culture of JDM cars, there are many clubs from cars that were supposed to be available and loved only in Japan. I bet that the makes didn't thought that their cars would be loved across the globe.

The Caldina GT-T

Vitz Club PY