Tips on buying a car in Thailand 

Having a car in the household can be convenient and an easy form of transportation. We take a look at some of the most popular cars in Thailand and interesting facts on how to choose the colour of your car. 

New vs Used car

When deciding on buying a car, the first thought should be whether you want to buy a used or a new car. There are advantages and disadvantages for both of them. 

A new car can offer lower maintenance costs and can get a bonus features and items for free depending on the dealership you buy from. You will also have that extra security knowing that you are the only owner of the vehicle and that there is a no previous owner. Buying a new car also gives you more financing options.

The major benefit when buying a used car is the potential for huge savings over buying new, while still getting a dependable set of wheels. If you are buying used cars, you should allocate at least 300,000 baht rather than 600,000 baht for buying a new car. This budget will enable you to have a pre-purchase inspection and purchase from a Thai licensed dealer with a service package and/or insurance. However, if you buy from a private party/individual, be prepared for some bargain-hunting!

Popular car brands 

Honda and Toyota are two of the best-selling car brands in Thailand. Both are manufactured in Thailand and have lower taxes and selling prices than most imports. Tax is also the reason for the popularity of pickup trucks, which are also sold tax free. Mechanics trained to repair these cars are widespread, making their repair service affordable and convenient.

Thailand has a booming car market, with at least one in five cars being sold this year likely to be a Toyota or Honda. A high percentage of these will be pickup trucks destined for use as taxis! Popular models include the Hilux Vigo, Yaris and Fortuner on the Toyota side, and Jazz, Civic and CR-V from Honda. 

This year, Isuzu won the race, with the D-Max now holding 17.7% of the market share and 136.450 units sold (-4.8%), after being in 2nd position last year with 15.3% (+10%) and 116.918 units sold (+13%); with 3 new releases during the year, we have to highlight the D-Max New LS and LS+ in 2.5L diesel engine – with 4×4 or 4×2 configurations – and the 3 row (7 seats) Diesel Max LS 7 that can be driven both in 4×2 (the most common configuration) or as a full 4×4.

What all these models have in common are an upgraded alloy wheel range, increased power for more torque at lower revs and a more aggressive front look that enhances certain models’ aesthetics and overall appeal to customers; so far sales were expected to be higher but due to Toyota’s commotion with Hilux sales dwindled due to offering almost identical models.

Which colour car you should pick 

In many societies, including Thailand, colours can influence our lives in many other ways outside the realm of aesthetics. Picking the right colours for the right occasion is unquestionably the right thing to do, but the ability to pick the right colour for “you” can make or break your day. 

Thai are superstitious about the colour of cars. Even though you may find cars of any colour on Thai streets, many have “colour stickers” that supposedly neutralize the ill-effects of the colour. In saying that, white cars are still the most popular car colour bought in Thailand and is also one of the most popular car colours are the world. 

Costs associated with purchasing a car 

When buying a car, the expenses don’t stop with just the vehicle itself. There are still other costs associated in owning and operating your car which can easily add up. The following will explain some of the costs that people need to consider when making the decision of whether or not to buy a car.

  • Of course, you will need to register your vehicle and pay the compulsory road tax which can be any
  • In Thailand CMI (compulsory motor insurance) is a legal requirement and usually costs around 1000 Baht
  • Type 1 car insurance annually can cost from 10,000 Baht (approx. 299.10 USD)
  • Depending on your car’s make, age and where you purchased it from, car maintenance can also be an ongoing cost involved 
  • If you are thinking of getting a brand-new vehicle then you will also have to pay for a red license plate deposit which is around 2500 Baht 


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