Buying a Used Car in Taiwan (Taichung)

Hello Everyone!

My first post here - I’m moving to Taiwan in May. My wife is Taiwanese, and says that buying used cars in Taiwan is expensive…

Is that the case? I have a Ford Mondeo Ghia X estate here in the UK - but I’ve read on forumosa that import duty is huge (car is probably only worth £2k now in the UK, but new price was about £27k - which price would they calculate import duty on…??)

Buying used cars in the UK at the moment is as cheap as chips, especially if they have a bigger engine…

Just wondered if anyone here had bought used in Taiwan and what their experiences were?

Thanks for the info!
Darren.

Prices run higher than the UK but not too bad, don’t worry, plenty of used car dealers in Taichung, Sum is a big franchise operation. No sense in trying to import a car.

You can get a good deal on a second-hand car here. Just wait until you get here to shop around. You can also check ads on tw.yahoo.com auction or pchome.com.tw “rutien” auction. Your wife can help you navigate and you can check out some prices. Of course, I’m not recommending buying online, but you can at least see what’s in your budget range.

Thanks Honcho -

I’ll check out Sum when I get there - does anyone know if they run classifieds in the local paper, or if they have the equivalent of an AutoTrader magazine?

Darren.

Hello Darren.

Used car prices can be more expensive here considering the lowest price range of vehicles available when compared to those in the U.K. This is mainly because of the low government standards in place which mean that almost all cars are roadworthy, even when they are in dangerous conditions. This of course means that cars can be bought and sold here for as much as one to two thousand pounds, when there are few within that range which would pass an MOT in a system like the U.K.'s.
It is indeed rather a poor investment to bring a car such as the Mondeo over here from the U.K. The shipping itself is usually several thousand pounds. The Mondeo too would not be very valuable here as Ford prices drop very quickly and models are not as desirable as Japanese model cars. The Japanese models are mainly regarded for their reliability, considering the low service standards found here much of the time, which typically means fewer visits to the mechanic in a Japanese car over a Euro car. Higher reliability in a car will reflect in its price usually in Taiwan as well as usability. One disadvantage of the Mondeo as well as some others will be the brittle bumper resin which is used to form the outer skin. Almost all of the Mondeos I see here will consistently require bumper replacements at early stages as they shatter on low speed impacts. Driving skill here is low and minor body damage and low speed impacts are a frequent occurrence and is normally expected.
Estate models on the used car market are not too common I’m afraid in case you were thinking of using a similar car here. It may even be likely however that you may not require an estate car here. Many people here travel short distances only and home deliveries are often possible for larger items purchased at stores. Even removal/relocation trucks can be used at low rates, meaning that many people get away with smaller transport than they otherwise might in a more rural country such as the U.K.
You might take a look at some popular vehicles available on a local site such as ocar.com.tw which will give an idea of models typically used and which are more available before you think about which model you might prefer if repurchasing over here.
Auto Checkers fits quite a number of foreigners up with vehicles through our sourcing services using comprehensive systems checks to make sure vehicles are up to scratch before you put money down for one. I don’t know if it may be of interest, but you can read more about A.C. on: actaiwan.com if you like. There are a few articles there which may also give you an idea of Taiwan driving, costs and car ownership.

Welcome to Forumosa Darren.

P.S. There are commonly ads placed in the local newspapers and there are equivalent productions such as Auto Traders. Expect that most deals available will be through garages though and not so many through private individuals. There are by far more vehicles advertised online here than those found in local paper publishings though.

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I bought a car (Hyundai Getz 1.3L) in Taichung last week, seems okay so far :slight_smile: For a car that’s less than 6 years old you are looking at 200,000 NTD and up in general.

It is a bit of a painful process dealing with used car salesmen truth be told. I’m not sure is it any better or worse than UK. I went to about 10 different dealers, they all know each other and they even lend cars to each other, hard to get a good deal in my opinion (there is not a huge surfeit of almost new cars going cheap like the situation that you could see in UK/Ireland/US right now). I am a saleman myself and I hate to think that people think all salesmen act like used carsalemen because they are the worst I have ever encountered! There is no point checking the exact price on the internet, they deliberately lower the pricing on their ads, then when you go there they put up the price by 20,000 NTD or they tell you that car was sold out and how about checking their other models. It is a good way to check what vehicles they have on the lot but you still need to call them to confirm the car will actually be there when you arrive for the reason that they loan cars between each other constantly. Some cars in South Taiwan especially may have been flooded in typhoons, the used car dealers tend to give a guarantee that their cars haven’t been through this, again I don’t know how good their guarantees are.

The general idea in Taiwan is that European cars are expensive being imports while some Fords, Hyundais, possibly Nissans and Taiwan’s own brand cars (YuLong etc.) are cheaper to purchase and importantly the parts are very cheap because they are manufactured in Taiwan (I’m sure Suvlaca can tell you a lot more than I do).

Toyotas go for a significant premium here even as used cars as people think they are very reliable.

It’s not a good idea in my book to get a car that is too old in Taiwan due to safety considerations, highways here can be a bit nuts. Also because Taiwan is very hot in summer and has steep mountain ranges cars can be prone to overheating, older and heavy cars seem to be especially bad, I had an old heavy Ford and it’s radiator blew on a mountainside. It’s better to get a small car for parking and driving in general but most people in Taiwan still drive the standard sedan models which also do the job nicely. My newly purchased 1.3L handles the mountains much better than my old 2L Ford which equalled the price of rusty metal when I scrapped it.

[quote=“headhonchoII”]I bought a car (Hyundai Getz 1.3L) in Taichung last week, seems okay so far :slight_smile: For a car that’s less than 6 years old you are looking at 200,000 NTD and up in general.

It is a bit of a painful process dealing with used car salesmen truth be told. I’m not sure is it any better or worse than UK. I went to about 10 different dealers, they all know each other and they even lend cars to each other, hard to get a good deal in my opinion (there is not a huge surfeit of almost new cars going cheap like the situation that you could see in UK/Ireland/US right now). I am a saleman myself and I hate to think that people think all salesmen act like used carsalemen because they are the worst I have ever encountered! There is no point checking the exact price on the internet, they deliberately lower the pricing on their ads, then when you go there they put up the price by 20,000 NTD or they tell you that car was sold out and how about checking their other models. It is a good way to check what vehicles they have on the lot but you still need to call them to confirm the car will actually be there when you arrive for the reason that they loan cars between each other constantly…

It’s not a good idea in my book to get a car that is too old in Taiwan due to safety considerations,[/quote]

A couple of points you mentioned so far which I can address.
Your first paragraph I would say is more indicative of dealers in the southern cities such as Taichung, Kaohsiung etc. They do indeed misrepresent their vehicles and information a lot. Taipei vehicle prices and information may be generally much more reliable than other areas. Bare that in mind when wondering why the prices in Tiapei are almost oalways higher than those of other areas. I have addressed that in an article or two on my site. The prices down South are lower to try and entice customers down there. They have a much larger, cheaper area in which to market cars form in the South, however their vehicles are generally of a poorer quality and can frequently be found to be unworthy of consideration IMHO. And yes, they are not often advertised honestly as they are trying to sucker people in to visiting them at which point the vehicle either doesn’t exist or its information is completely different than advertised including year, price and condition.

Old cars though I wouldn’t say are always bad. There are many an older car which I have sourced that have been in good condition and not dangerous at all. I would say that age should not be the top consideration when purchasing here though as it does not dictate safety, quality or value for money. Of course it is a general rule of thumb however that the older the vehicle being sourced then the more time consuming and demanding the sourcing will be.

By the way you might check your Hyundai’s sump bung washers, both engine and gearbox sump. In case you have a common oil leak, that is likely to be the cause. Also check front anti roll bar links, suspension dampers and rear brakes. I’m simply listing the most common faults found on that specific vehicle. I have found them on quite a number of vehicles so far. :neutral:

'Nuff said! :wink:

I will take note Suvlaca, I was thinking of using such an autochecking service in Taichung but I didn’t in the end, would consider using your service if I was buying a more expensive car or in Taipei.

Check to make sure your car wasn’t half-drowned the last year’s floods.

Thanks very much for the replies guys,

A lot to think about when buying a car over in Taiwan! Whew…

Whatever I do when I get there, I’ll just take my time about it I think.

Thanks again,
Darren.

I’ve seen Sulavaca’s contempt for Mondeo’s in another thread (one of the 10 worst in Taiwan). Is this the Taiwan produced version or all versions? Because I thought the Euro Mondeo was a pretty good car. I could believe that the taiwan produced version sucks as far as quality is concerned though. I guess that’s why all of the dealers have a cheap Mondeo to offer.

Do the quality issues with the Mondeo extend to all taiwan produced Ford’s? Does Taiwan produce Mazda’s also at the same plant?

De Euro Mondeo was made in Belgium … I believe

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ford_factories

[quote=“Belgian Pie”]De Euro Mondeo was made in Belgium … I believe

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ford_factories[/quote]

Yes. I was wondering where the poor quality of the Taiwan made Mondeo came from. Differences in the Taiwan design (cutting costs for its market) and the Euro Mondeo? Crappy quality of the Taiwan assembly plant? Or is the Euro Mondeo also a pile of crap (not what I’ve heard)?

Or is the big problem the depreciation that you’ll see if you buy new (or newish)?

The first generation Mondeo in the U.K. was never a favorite of mine as it had issues with poor quality, although its plus points were that it was relatively inexpensive to repair as components were cheap and plentiful. It also offered a good level of comfort and performance for the price which was comparatively low in its class.

It’s biggest issues in Taiwan are due to poor maintenance standards by garages as well as owners. It also suffers severely from the atmospheric conditions here and almost all systems are affected, from air-conditioning to suspension rubbers, early gearbox failure, performance issues and the list goes on.
Another issue with later diesel versions here as well as in many urban environments is the particulate filtration system which is prone to blocking due to low average speeds. The system does not easily clean itself in such circumstances and can throw up warning lights and can cause uneven running and poor fuel consumption. This isn’t to say that diesel models here are common though. The Mondeo produced a bad name for itself here when it first came out and has never really recovered. You can see this in used car prices which are very low.

Which cars would now be considered (since last post in 2012) to be reliable used cars in Taiwan?

I’m looking at the 2010-2012 Nissa Tiida Hatch or Bluebird. I’m also considering the Hyundai Elantra 2013, Toyota Vios or Altis, and the Ford Fiesta 2013. My budget is $400,000, give or take.

I’ve been inside some late model Ford’s and the interiors look completely plastic with a very cheap appearance. I’ll be happy to overlook that fact if they happen to be very reliable and safe. Any comments are appreciated.

I’ve bought a used car in Taichung from a dealer, painful experience. Shady as hell and treat their customers with contempt.
I would recommend buying directly from seller or else from the manufacturer official used dealership OR from Suvlaca here in Taipei.

[quote=“headhonchoII”]I’ve bought a used car in Taichung from a dealer, painful experience. Shady as hell and treat their customers with contempt.
I would recommend buying directly from seller or else from the manufacturer official used dealership OR from Suvlaca here in Taipei.[/quote]

Thanks, HH. I’ve been combing through the online used cars sites and my conclusion is the same: Avoid used car dealers / salesmen at all cost. The prices vary wildly for the same model and year at supposed big name dealers. The same car also seems to pop up on more than one site.

Does anyone have any advice as to where someone can find “direct from seller” used cars in Taiwan?

Many people use the community platform for the exchange Vehicle Information in Taiwan,like Facebook or something else.

[quote=“RockOn”][quote=“headhonchoII”]I’ve bought a used car in Taichung from a dealer, painful experience. Shady as hell and treat their customers with contempt.
I would recommend buying directly from seller or else from the manufacturer official used dealership OR from Suvlaca here in Taipei.[/quote]

Thanks, HH. I’ve been combing through the online used cars sites and my conclusion is the same: Avoid used car dealers / salesmen at all cost. The prices vary wildly for the same model and year at supposed big name dealers. The same car also seems to pop up on more than one site.

Does anyone have any advice as to where someone can find “direct from seller” used cars in Taiwan?[/quote]

I put up a page a while ago here, which I try to be fairly strict on managing due to too many professional sellers on other pages posing as private sellers.

facebook.com/groups/618873988232483/

Do be aware that many private sellers aren’t always familiar with their vehicle’s condition and may not be able to offer warranties.