Import a car for personal use

With an ARC, if I import a luxury car, how much can I save in comparison to buying the car in Taiwan? For example, a Lexus in Taiwan is NT$300k-400K more expensive in Taiwan.

You wouldn’t save money – it would end up a lot more expensive because the import taxes are high. Do a search – there’s at least one detailed thread on this topic.

Joesax, thats not necessarily correct, it really depends on where he is importing the car from, and what price he pays for the vehicle in the first place.

Grey / Personal imports in the luxury car sector account for a quite high percentage, as most underdeclare the value of the car, this is not difficult if bringing in a version not normally sold here.

The current price difference between grey and official is anything from 10 to 20%.

Apm2004, one thing to remember though, is that the spec of vehicles here, not sure about Lexus, is genereally higher than it is back in Europe, so be sure to add the necessary options for direct comparison, freight can be high, and you will have to pay cash for the customs clearance element, no nice 0% loans etc. Also be careful about age, and whether pre-registered if coming from Europe.
A Nov produced car, even though it may not arrive until Jan the next year, will have a reduced valuedue to its year of manufacture when you come to sell in the future. There is a difference in depreciation between official and non official imports, the greys deprecaite a little quicker, though not by much

Yeah, Traveller, I just realised that the other thread was talking about bringing in secondhand cars, which worked out close to the price of a new car bought here because of the import duties.

apm2004 – ignore what I wrote and listen to Traveller instead. He seems to know what he’s talking about, which is always helpful.

(Joesax crawls back under rock.)

Some comments specific to this case: Unless it’s a Lexus model that the Taiwanese distributor for Lexus doesn’t sell, it’s not cost effective to bring one in. So, unless you want a GS400, GS430, IS200 Manual, IS300 Manual, IS300 Sportcross, or GX470, it’s generally cheaper just to buy it here after you figure in the cost of shipping, import taxes, and inspection/certification. And, see below about parts and service on a model not officially imported by the distributor.

As stated below, the taxes are high, because Taiwan is quite protective of their domestic auto assembly industry. Nobody would buy Taiwanese built cars if the price of imports were not artificially inflated by heavy taxation. Imports generally cost anywhere from 1.5 to 3x of their home market (or US) price.

Since I posted what I wrote below, I have heard that now that Taiwan has joined the WTO, there are no longer any freebies under the old program. Can anyone verify this?

It’s too bad there is no provision for ARC holders to bring in a car, then export it when they leave Taiwan to return home.

As for underdeclaring the value, you can only underdeclare it to a certain degree, as they will take into account the actual fair market value based on the blue book (or equivalent) value, and use that to figure out the import taxes.

And, it is true that when time comes to sell, you won’t get as much money for a car that wasn’t imported by the official distributor, as opposed to a same make/model that was imported officially. For the same reason, a non-official import is somewhat harder to sell than an official import on the open market.

This is copied from my reply to a similar thread a few months back:

I looked into bringing my car over last year, and here’s my understanding of the situation. If anything is outdated or wrong, feel free to chime in.

Taiwan is very protective of it’s domestic auto assembly industry, and taxes are generally high on imported cars and parts, whether they are imported by the manufacturer or by an individual.

There is only one way you can get a car into Taiwan tax free. The requirement is that you are a Taiwanese citizen, and you went abroad to study/work. When you return, once in your lifetime, you are allowed to bring in one car tax free. The said car has to have more than 10,000 miles on the odometer, and the previous registration must have been in your name for at least two years. This only exempts you from the tax. You still will need to pay shipping and inspection fees. There’s actually a big business where importers will pay people to use their names. These people usually qualify, but have no plans of ever bringing a car back. You might want to look into one of these companies. You’ll have to pay them a fee, but it will probably be less than the tax. I’m not exactly sure how they get around the registration name thing though.

For everyone else, there are no freebies. If the car is less than one year old, or has less than 10,000 miles on the odometer, you are subject to a 75% tax on the current “Blue Book” value of the car. If the car is more than one year old, and has more than 10,000 miles on the odometer, then you are subject to a 30% tax on the Blue Book value.

Once the car is here, and you’ve paid all taxes, it’s not over yet. You still have to have the car inspected for emissions and safety before you can legally register it. This applies to everyone. The inspection station is in Changhua and the inspection costs about NT$60,000. So, you’ll need to have the car transported (tow/flatbed/carrier) from the port of entry to Changhua. Total shipping costs from abroad to Changhua will run anywhere from NT$60,000-NT$120,000 if shipping from the US. Can’t comment on shipping from other countries.

Taiwan doesn’t allow right hand drive cars, so cars from Japan, UK, or Australia are generally unable to be imported.

One sidenote, but this method is not really feasible for the average foreigner. A lot of used car dealers in Taiwan will often bring in cars declared as “scrap metal”, thus bypassing the usual taxes. Or, they will bring in a car which is disassembled as “scrap parts”, then reassemble it once it’s in the country. How they register it, I’m not too sure.

So, when all is said and done, depending on what car you are bringing in, the taxes, inspection, shipping, and registration will be at least 50% or more of the value of the car itself.

Then, once the car is here and registered, you have the problem of parts and repair. You lose any warranty you may have had, factory or otherwise. You’ll have to have all parts, including even the smallest ones shipped from the country the car was originally sold in, and you’ll have to find a local mechanic who knows how to fix it. You’ll have to pay import taxes on some of the larger parts. This is under the assumption that the car you are bringing in is not something that’s already available in Taiwan, because if it’s already available in Taiwan, then it’s a lot more cost effective just to buy it here. Even if you bring in a car that is available here, certain parts may still have to be shipped from your home country, as there are some differences between different markets for the same model of car.

As much as I wanted to import my car, it would have cost 50% of the value of the car just to get it here. That, and the parts/repair issue effectively killed the idea.

One thing they didn’t mention is that the vehicles are also taxed by engine size…

A new “loophole” in the system does exist somewhat for pickup trucks. Because in Taiwan it is registered as a “truck” it’s not taxed by engine size, but by load capacity…Hence the recent explosion in the full-size pickup market…

You can drive a Toyota Tundra with a 4.7 liter V-8 and only pay 20K a year in taxes…I pay 36K for my 3.2 liter Isuzu SUV because it’s registered as a car…

The import taxes reflect this, and for the time being you could hypothetically bring in a full size pickup and actually save 200k or so…

Maybe the best thing to do would be to renounce your native citizenship, serve two years in the military, pick up your Taiwan ID, and then go abroad to study…Easier and less confusing.

This is assuming that they haven’t done away with this. I’ve heard from multiple sources that this is a thing of the past now that Taiwan has joined the WTO.

I’ve got the right answer(s), and damned quick.
Mucho gracias!

[quote=“apm2004”]I’ve got the right answer(s), and damned quick.
Mucho gracias![/quote]

Care to update us on the status of importing a car in 2004?

Ben, I find your information very interesting. Thanks for providing it to everyone. But now all of this has me wondering more than before. Actually the 30% plus freight and 60,000 for emissions test does not seem as bad as I expected.
Can anyone tell me about two things I really wonder about. How difficult to pass are the emmisions (also for different age of car?) and how is the value determined for an obscure car that will not appear in the Kelly’s blue book or some other major price guides. Sometimes the value of a car would be quite different in different countries, and the most obvious one to look at may not be the cheapest. A wierd example: I know that in the Middle East re-badged (with other GM brands) Holdens that are a couple of years old can be very cheap, but in Australia where they are made they would be a lot more expensive and Australia is RHD unlike the middle east.