Although Bangkok is one of the most congested cities in the world, every year thousands of expats buy new cars. Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead buying a new car in Bangkok as I hate traffic jams but, if you really must buy a new car, then make sure you follow all these rules and regulations before you do. With Hondas, Toyotas, BMWs, Mercedes and Mitsubishi being popular cars in Thailand, you’ll surely find a new car in Thailand that suits your needs.
Buy a Car Made in Thailand and Not Imported – The first thing to remember about buying a new car in Thailand is it’s not the same as in your own country. Cars manufactured in Thailand, which includes Hondas and Toyotas, are much cheaper than imported cars. For imported cars such as Mercedes and BMWs, the Thai government slaps on up to a 300% tax. Yes, you heard me correctly, 300%!! So a Mercedes that is $50,000 in the US can be over $100,000 in Thailand. Buy a car manufactured in Thailand though and buying a new car will be around the same price as buying a car in your own country.
Check Dealerships Around Bangkok – Don’t forget, before you make your decision on which car to buy, check out a few car dealerships around Bangkok. With prices varying by quite a few thousand baht, you can get a better deal if you shop around and bargain hard.
Check Car Exhibits at Local Malls – At just about every mall in Bangkok, there will be a company exhibiting its new cars at the mall every week. You can sit in the car, check out all its functions, negotiate with the dealer and then go to the car dealer showroom for a test drive. At some of the car exhibits in the malls, you’ll get a better price than at the showroom as they always have promotions, plus, you can talk to one of the gorgeous Thai girls who’s ‘modeling’ the cars that day
Once You’ve Bought Your Car in Bangkok File Paperwork – Once you’ve bought your car in Thailand, you need to go to th DLT or Department of Land Transport Office.The car dealership will help you with all the paperwork you need and then it’s just a case of going to the DLT with the following documents – your passport, non-immigrant visa, and either your work permit or a letter of residency issued by Thai immigration. You can then complete all the registration and new owner documents here. Once completed, the DLT will give you a red license plate, which is your temporary license plate. Your permanent license plate will have to be picked up once its ready (usually within 3-6 weeks).
You’ll also be given a Blue Book, which is the registration book. If you’ve paid for your car outright, then you’ll get the Blue Book. If not and you have a car loan, then the car dealership will keep this until you’ve paid the loan off. Plus, the DLT will give you a tax sticker to affix to your car windshield, showing the tax on the car has been paid.
Also at the DLT, if you haven’t already taken out insurance with the dealership or a private insurance company, you can get it here. Several Thai friends have told me its as easy and as cheap just to get your car insurance on a new car at the DLT. Car insurance is cheap in Thailand (only a few hundred dollars a year!), so getting it at the DLT won’t break the bank.
The Head Office of the DLT is at 1032 Pahonyothin Road, Ladyao, Chatuchak, Bangkok – Tel: 02-272-5322. Call them to find out which DLT office covers your residential area.
Once you have all your registration and car ownership requirements taken care of, just make sure you affix the white license plates in place of the red plates once you get them and you’re all set to drive away with your brand new Thai car.