If you’re looking to purchase a new car in Phuket most people would suggest buying one that’s been manufactured in Thailand, the main reason being, cars manufactured here are far cheaper than those that have been imported, which as like many imported goods are subject to a high amount of tax.
Registering of a new car will be dealt with at the local Land Transport Office. However, if you purchase a new car from a dealership they will deal with all the necessary paper work for you. For expats buying a new car you will be required to provide the dealership with certain documentation including a valid passport, a non-immigrant visa and a work permit. When you have first purchased the vehicle, it will feature a red number plate with black text; this is a temporary number plate. Once the registration process is complete a permanent number plate (white with black text) will be issued and this could be anywhere between 1 to 6 weeks.
Once you are the registered owner of a vehicle you will be issued with a blue registration book which will contain all your details. Please note, if you take out finance on the vehicle, this book will not be issued until the finance has been paid off in full.
If you want to purchase a used car, the owner of the vehicle should hold the blue book. This book will tell you who are the current owner of the vehicle, how many previous owners there have been and what taxes have been paid on that vehicle. If no book can be produced by the people selling the vehicle, it is possible that there is finance still outstanding on the vehicle or the sellers do not own the vehicle. Therefore, it is not advisable to purchase a vehicle when the blue book cannot be produced.
The transfer of ownership is also carried out by the Land Transport Office and both the buyer & seller will have to go there to complete the paperwork. However, the seller can give power of attorney to a third party to complete the paperwork on his behalf. The office will then carry out checks to make sure the car isn’t stolen. It is advisable not to hand over any money for the vehicle until the department has made the checks and advised that all is OK.
Along with the blue book, the seller will need to provide a signed copy of their ID card and House Registration Document if Thai, or passport, visa and work permit if a foreigner, which need to be translated into Thai and certified. To ensure the road worthiness of a car over 7 years old, a tax sticker is required. In order to have this sticker, the vehicle needs to go a through a road worthiness test, and this should be done by the seller.
In some provinces it is possible to purchase without a non-immigrant visa. However, they will require a letter from the local Immigration Department or a certificate of residence from their embassy.
Please look out for more information on car finance and obtaining a Thai drivers license in the coming weeks.