Buying a car as foreigner in Isaan


We recently moved to a small town aprox 70km from khon khaen and it is clear to me we need a car. I have read through many posts already on the "car purchase subject" lived in central London most my adult life so in terms of experience me and my partner have very little experience with cars so I think it's best to purchase via a dealer who is fairly local to us.

Me and thai wife want a decent economical 2nd hand car I'm wondering?

* purchase car and insurance separately or together?

* can we preagree repayment period over duration as short as 12-18 months with 150k deposit. Does the money put down provide that flexibility for shorter fixed repayment plans

* is it common practice to have a service and breakdown/fault agreement in place with dealer and if so the common duration of this agreement is how long?

* if we took out a repayment plan do we do that directly with the car dealer or do we need an intermediary such as a bank?

* My funding is from overseas do they need proof of income or will they be ok with a large deposit as outlined above?

* My residency is tourist visa 2 months but soon will be METV 3 x 2 months will this impact the agreement?

* is there room to negotiate on the price like other products in thailand and if so how much aproximately percentage wise should we hope to get the price down by?

* if I have to be the guarantor of the agreement should we get an English contract or would I need to be sure the wife fully understands and explains all the small print?

Toyota and Honda seem pretty common in thailand and also chevrolet. Are these cars common place as I suspect and if so parts are easily obtained in the event of repairs etc?

We like the honda city car it's not too big I'm not sure on the cost but if it's 4 years - old and a standard car with mileage say 60k anyone got an idea of what price it would be worth in thai market via a dealer?

Anyone with experience of any questions above who would like to share there experience? Much appreciated.


Car depreciation is very slow, it is better to buy a new car. Payment can be done over 48/60 months, you can put deposit 35%, will be more simple your thai wife deal with this as foreigner not get loan from financial institutions, I did not have to sign any papers, wife did not need to proof any income to get loan....

Wit a new car you can negotiate a bit the price or get some free stuffs coming with and 1 year free 1st class insurance.... all included can be around 40,000-60,000 discount

Services can be every 10,000 km or 6 months, usually the price is displayed on dealer website or dealer garage, fixed price and labour is often free until 100,000 kms

When you can not get loan, and want used car 2nd hand, what any garages ( not a main dealer ) will propose youis totally different as they are not backed by a financial institution. They will ask for a a deposit, then yu sign a long lease ( you pay monthly like to rent for the car ) and a the end you pay a balloon to transfer the car to your name, but be sure this garage is serious as no guarantee and there are many scams as well as for 2nd hand car ( only you buy from main dealer but as i said the gap between recent used car ( less than 3 years ) and new car is not that big )

Nobody in Thailand will care about money from foreign country, proof is only based on income here or what is on your passbook ( there is no notion of affidavit etc like for immigration when you intend to buy something, usually cash is king here or need Thai people as explained previously )

Good luck in your search

In all honesty, Thai people simply do not generally comprehend forward thinking or planning therefore items like servicing a vehicle meticulously or routinely is out of the question, within this equation is the difference if price between new and second hand. It's simply insufficient to contemplate  the purchase of a second hand vehicle although one side of all this I've looked into is importation - which also incorporates duty of large margins up to and including 350% engine size pending. But the quality is easily surpassing the locally made item, Izusu, Toyota, Chev whichever you choose? Consider yourself warned about the importation tax :
Chok Dee

If you can afford purchase new car rather than 2nd hand.  The 2nd hand market is way over priced and car could have hidden problems.

Please wait and get 1 year visa. You will be able to get car in your name. I did purchase new in my name only (thanks God).

If you have international driver's licence, 1 year visa and proof of residency you will get Thai driving licence. Cost 205 + 20 for doctor's certificate and  photocopies of driving licence.  i got Thai licence in Nong Bua Lam Phue,Udon Thani in about 30 minutes

Ok so it took 7 weeks, 30 used car dealerships, 5 private seller viewings but we managed to find a good used car. Toyota vios 6 years old with just 70k on Odometer and runs and looks very good. I do not disagree with the other authors here because we viewed a lot of cars to find the right one but we did do it. It was not an easy task but it can be done. I think the dealer was maybe needing fast cash hence 225k seems a bargain compared to same car @ 280+ in most dealerships we visited but everything felt right with the purchase. The owner was fair and warm, the car is immaculate. Another reason I think maybe it did not sell so quick is the non tinted windows. Most cars have this here but not this one. Easy fix should we decide to do that.

I searched around a lot so here are some tips:

Kaidee - it's a website like ebay but not auction you can type english into it to search for cars. Eg: honda jazz - you will get required results. It has a location based setting too but maybe need a thai person to configure or get them to teach you which options to press.

YouTube - some great videos in thai teaching you how to spot car issues if like me you have limited experience. Flood damaged cars video also highly recommended. Prob need assistance from thai unless you find similar english one etc. th a good site for location based car sales but mostly dealerships I believe.

Overall just glad that job is done and yes in an ideal world brand new is best but for a 1st car driver as my wife is and without wanting to do a pay monthly scenario I think we chose the right option. So if you are in a similar position fear not the used car market is very bad but if you keep looking you will find a gem or two out there. Good luck

Hey mate,
Good to hear you're happy with your situation but try and keep it that way. I can only give you one piece of advice; as I did with all second hand cars (at home).
**air filter clean/change
**give it an oil change & filter regardless
**flush out the radiator - take off the top and bottom hose run clean water through the radiator  till it runs clean then refill with new appropriate fluid.
I'd almost guarantee nobody has taken a look at this type of stuff here, I personally find it mind boggling. It's a hot country - keep it's cooling system in good shape.
This is purely some insurance for protection of the major 'expensive' components & is considered preventative maintenance, unheard of in Thailand. Not expensive.

Beyond this you may consider:
**brake fluid flush + other brake bits
**totally re-new transmission fluid
**fuel filter replacement
Personally I prefer motorbikes here, except for the rain bit.
Best of luck