Dominican Republic

Last modification: 11 Nov 22

Being a geographically diverse country with rugged highlands and mountains infused with fertile valleys, the Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti (eastern two-thirds makes up the Dominican Republic, western one-third is Haiti) and it is the second largest country in the Antilles, after Cuba.

It is home to the Caribbean's tallest mountain (Pico Duarte) and largest lake (Lago Enriquillo) and it also has the region's lowest elevation point.

The economy of the Dominican Republic is highly dependent upon the US, the destination for approximately half of exports and the source of 40% of imports. Remittances from the US amount to about 7% of GDP, equivalent to about a third of exports and two-thirds of tourism receipts. The Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement came into force in March 2007, boosting investment and manufacturing exports.

Chapter 1: Economic and business environment


population of 11.1 million (2022)

source: Worldometers


Santo Domingo

population of 2.2 million (2018) 

Major cities

1. Santo Domingo (2.2 million people)
2. Santiago de los Caballeros (1.2mn)
3. Santo Domingo Oeste (701,269)
4. Santo Domingo Este (700,000)
5. San Pedro de Macorís (217,899)




US$94.2 billion (2021), up 20% year-over-year
US$9,486 per capita

Source: Trading Economics

Unemployment rate

5.2% (July 2022)

source: Trading Economics

Main industries

tourism, sugar processing, gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco, electrical components, medical devices


Dominican peso

Interest rate

8.5% (November 2022)

source: Trading Economics

Fleet Maturity Index (scaling)

Approximately 11% of the cars in the country are five years or less. The remaining 89% are older.

Source: DGII


8.6% (September 2022)

source: Trading Economics

Chapter 2 : Automotive market, segments & sales

Total Car park

4.35 million vehicles in 2019. at least half, or more than 2 million, are seen to be motorcycles. 

Of the new cars in the country, approximately 68% are from Asia, mostly from Japan and followed by South Korea. Approximately 7.1% come from the USA and 10% from Europe.

(source: DGII)

New vehicle registrations (Cars, LCV, Trucks)

In 2019, light vehicles sales rose 6% to 21,810 units from 21,300 (source: OICA)
2018: 21,300 units
017: 252 units
2016: 24,024 units
2015: 21,489 units

Top 5 brands (total market)

1. Hyundai (2,126 units sold)
2 Toyota (1,760 units)
3. Kia (1,686)
4. Nissan (896)
5. Honda (858)

source: Autodato

Model preference top 5 (total market)

As for subcompact cars, Hyundai i10 (hatchback & sedan), Toyota Agya, and Kia Picanto are popular. As for SUVs, Hyundai Tucson and Toyota RAV4 are good sellers.

Used car market/renewal cycle

However, there are older cars are being imported into the country. 

By law, only vehicles that are less than five years old can be brought into the country. Nevertheless, according to IDB figures, at least twice the number of second-hand vehicles are imported into the country than new vehicles. Some reports say nearly three times more. 

Nearly 33,000 used cars were imported in 2018 (source: Autodato)

Chapter 3: Company car market

Evolution fleet sales (last 5 years)

In 2019, commercial vehicles sales rose 54% to 9,204 units from 5,960 (source: OICA)
2018: 5,960 units
017: 228 units
2016: 19,820 units
2015: 16,428 units

Chapter 4: Taxation & legislation

In 2018, some 84% of the population paid their vehicle circulation tax
In 2019, about 87% paid.  

Labour regulations applying to commercial drivers are set out in Decree No. 25893 of 1 October 1993, which establishes that drivers must not drive for more than 10 hours per day or 70 hours per week. They also must not drive for more than 5 consecutive hours, and resting times between driving hours must not be less than 1 hour and 30 minutes. These regulations are fully applicable to international transport as well but do not cover the monitoring systems (tachographs) to be used or their installation, verification, technical servicing or maintenance.

Chapter 5: Car policies

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Chapter 6: Funding methods

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Chapter 7: Fuel

November 7, 2022
Average gasoline price per liter: US$1.43 (world average is US$1.31)
Average diesel price per liter: US$1.08 (world average is US$1.32)

March 1, 2022
Average electricity price per kWh Households: US$0.09 (world average is US$0.14)
Average electricity price per kWh Business: US$0.15 (world average is US$0.14)


Chapter 8 : TCO components

Electricity is cheap in the Dominican Republic. If you drive a lot, one factor that can help you reduce TCO is using an electric vehicle (EV). While petrol cost approximately US$1.17 per liter, one kWh of electricity costs less than US$0.20.  However, factor in the higher cost of EVs. Moreover, the electricity grid does go down from time to time in the country. 

Chapter 9: Safety, insurance and telematics

Dominican Republic has one of the highest traffic mortality rates not only in Latin America, but in the entire world, according to the ninth-tranche United Nations Development Account project entitled Strengthening the National Road Safety Management Capacities. As such, a radical realignment of the practices and goals of its road safety management system is therefore required if a significant reduction is to be made in the country’s traffic mortality and morbidity indicators.

In comparison to the Latin American and Caribbean average of 15.9 deaths per 100,000 (est. 2015), the Dominican Republic’s road fatality index is approximately 21% higher (20 per 100,000), according to the General Office of Epidemiology (DIGEPI) of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance.

In the case of traffic crashes, in accordance with Decision No. 4-13 of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance, health professionals must notify DIGEPI within a week of the occurrence of each such event.

Chapter 10: Environment

Among the automakers offering hybrid vehicles in the Dominican Republic are Audi, Mercedes Benz, Lexus, Honda, Infiniti and Volvo.

In 2019, at least 300 full-electric cars were circulating in the country, according to Charles Sánchez who is president of local electric vehicle (EV) distributor Zero Emision RD as well as the country's electric mobility association. Its flagship model is the Nissan Leaf but the company also imports other models from time to time such as the Tesla Model 3.

Besides being cleaner for the environment, the main benefit for drivers is that energy cost is approximately 60% cheaper than gasoline, according to Mr. Sanchez, stating that gasoline is three times more expensive to operate on. (11 pesos per one kWh of electricity v.s. 250 pesos per gallon of gasoline)

To support EV drivers, Zero Emision RD has also developed the PlugShare mobile app which helps to manage recharging at approximately 50 recharging points (as of June 2019). 

The challenges, however, include dealing with higher initial cost of an EV and the electricity grid which goes down from time to time so prepare accordingly.

Chapter 11: Mobility

The Dominican Republic has recently been focusing on accomplishing more sustainable mobility throughout the country. While the international event “National Sustainable Mobility Week” has been organized by Latin American countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Peru for quite some time now, the Dominican Republic first joined the movement in 2018.

According to Sustainable Mobility Week Dominican Republic in 2019, the country is planning activities which are focused on five pillars. They are:

  • Protecting pedestrians and vulnerable road users.
  • Promoting universal public transportation access to reduce traffic congestion
  • Promoting more sustainable urban transport modes such as cycling
  • Integrating public transportation with user information systems
  • Developing more low emission modes of transport such as electric vehicles

Chapter 12: Key trends to watch