A bit of wheeling and dealing on your mind? When the family starts growing, you might want to shop for your very own family auto to take to the streets of Hong Kong. This handy guide takes you through the steps of buying a car in Hong Kong. Whether you are seeking a used car or a new car, this guide offers information on what you need to know and what you need to provide, including vehicle registration, transfer car ownership documents, and the MOT. Buckle your seatbelts; this information is dangerously helpful.
Things To Consider: Buying Used Versus New Cars In Hong Kong
1. Hong Kong has a high “new car” tax, so buying pre-owned makes a lot of sense for families! New car depreciation can hit hard too but cheaper than Singapore and more expensive than the USA to give you an idea (due to this tax).
2. Hong Kong cars are some of the most highly specialized in the world. Expect all the bells and whistles on a used car in this city (electric seats, leather seats, sunroof, alloy wheels).
3. Many of the used cars in Hong Kong are driven by a driver who maintains the car regularly.
4. Hong Kong cars have lower mileage than those in the USA, Australia, and the UK. Mileage is not considered a big negotiating point, unlike in other countries.
5. Choose a car that is cost-effective for service and maintenance. Japanese cars have historically been popular, although the German and Swedish manufacturers are now stealing some of the market shares.
Buying a car in Hong Kong is easy! There are a few key things every driver requires before hitting the road in Hong Kong. You will need a Hong Kong ID Card (HKID), a local driving license (click here for the guide on how to get a license in Hong Kong), and a Hong Kong postal address.
How To Get A Driver's License In Hong Kong, Click here!
Used cars in Hong Kong are affordable, but typically the cheaper ones (HK$10-40,000) might require a lot of maintenance. For luxury cars, you can expect to spend around HK$70-80,000, while for a second-hand Japanese car or HK$150,000 ++ for a European model. You should also be sure to factor in the annual costs of the required vehicle license fees, insurance, repairs, and general maintenance. New cars in Hong Kong are expensive but are excellent in terms of service and maintenance.
STEP 1: BUYING THE CAR
1. Car *One-off Cost - The cost of the car itself ranges significantly, but we are referring to sticker price. Note - Auto financing is very common in Hong Kong and interest rates and fees are generally reasonable and transparent. Most financiers offer loans of up to 90% for used cars of 10 years and younger. Loan tenors are flexible, ranging from 1 to 5 years.
2. Tax *One-off Cost- If you purchase a new vehicle, remember to pay your first registration tax *This is calculated by the published retail price or provisional taxable value, assessed by the Customs Excise Department.
3. Transfer Of Ownership Fee * One-off Cost - Usually HK$1000 when you buy a new car.
STEP 2: Annual Requirements For Owning A Car
1. Vehicle License *Annual Cost- 2,929 HKD and 15,976 HKD (big engines!) a year. This should be applied 4 months before the expiry date and you should have insurance and the vehicle exam in advance of applying.
2. Car Insurance *Annual Cost- Required and typically starts at around 2500 HKD
3. Annual Vehicle Exam *Annual Cost- Private cars that are 6 years or older must undergo annual vehicle examinations at Designation Car Test Centres, including used cars. You can make an appointment online and take it for a mechanical exam. This must be done before renewal of the vehicle license.
4. Annual Servicing *Annual Cost - It is best to factor in costs for general wear and tear on the car. For budgeting, mid-range tires cost HK$700 each, while general servicing is between HK$4000-8000.
STEP 3: WEEKLY COSTS FOR OWNING A CAR
5. Gas *Weekly Cost - Be sure to factor in the cost of gas.
6. Toll Roads *Weekly Cost - Ensure you factor in cross-harbor tunnel fees if planning to commute from Hong Kong to Kowloon or vice versa.
7. Parking *Weekly Cost - Parking in Hong Kong is expensive! Factor this in as well.
For new cars, you can go directly to the showroom. For second-hand used cars in Hong Kong, you have two options - you can buy from a dealer or buy from an owner.
Questions to ask when buying a car from an owner or secondhand dealership:
* When negotiating, offering 20% less than the asking price is generally the recommended starting point!
* Ask for the service history (a full history is preferred).
* Ask whether the car has had any accidents – make sure repairs were done properly
* Ask for the number of previous owners. Many prefer less than two previous owners.
* Ask for the warranty on labor and parts. Request a 12-month warranty on labor and a 6-month warranty on parts.
* Ask when the last service was – if longer than a year ago, you may be looking at more immediate costs for upkeep and repairs
Buying From Owner: Typically, owners sell their cars around the period before school exits for the summer (May-August ), so be sure to check Facebook forums and local forums for owners leaving the country and looking for a quick sell. Be sure to test drive the car in advance and if you want to get the car fully checked before purchasing at Hong Kong Automobile Association or Hong Kong Motor Inspection as they offer pre-owned car inspections. Inspections typically start at around HK$1000 and are particularly important if you need a Certificate of Clearance.
Buying From Dealer: Hong Kong has a few key places to buy pre-owned or used cars in Hong Kong. Vins has been a go-to for many people to buy and sell their used cars. They make it very easy to shop online or visit their showroom in Wanchai, test drive a car, and handle all the paperwork. It's a good place to start as a first-time buyer.
Forums For Direct Owner Automobile Sales In Hong Kong:
Facebook - Check local community forums
Used (Second-Hand) Car Dealers In Hong Kong:
Vins Motors, Pok Fu Lam
Automall, Wan Chai
Beyond Cars, Tsim Sha Tsui
HK Car Trader, Online
Geo Expat, Online
New Car Dealerships In Hong Kong:
Car Inspections In Hong Kong:
Hong Kong Automobile Association, www.hkaa.com.hk/en/
Hong Kong Motor Insurance, www.hkmi.com.hk
Third-party car insurance is required in Hong Kong and premiums vary based on the type of car, size of the engine, and owner's driving history. Typical insurance policies start at HK$2500. Kwiksure is an easy and fast car insurance provider and can give you a variety of quotes. Insurance must be renewed annually.
Car Insurance Providers Hong Kong:
Kwiksure, www.kwiksure.com *very popular
Well Link Insurance, www.wli.com.hk/en/personalinsurance
AXA Car Insurance, www.car.axa.com.hk/
AIG Car Insurance, www.aig.com.hk/personal/auto
Click here for more insurance companies offering third party car insurance in Hong Kong!
All vehicles in Hong Kong must be registered and licensed in Hong Kong. Registration is a one-off matter, which means the vehicle has a registration mark (private car, goods vehicle). Licensing is done annually and is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle every year. The license is what is displayed on the left side of the vehicle windscreen. The vehicle license fee varies depending on the type of vehicle and its cylinder capacity. To give you an idea of annual costs here, it ranges from HK$2,929 to HK$15,976 (big engines!) each year.
Vehicle License Renewal - Annual Process: Submit four months before expiry!
You can submit your application for renewal of vehicle license by post, through the Internet, or at the licensing office in person or by an agent within four months before the expiry. Late renewal is subject to an additional charge of 0.33% of the license fee for each day overdue.
Upon successful renewal, the Transport Department will send the renewed vehicle license to your correspondence address by registered mail within 10 working days. If you have not received the vehicle license four weeks from the date of submission, please contact +852 2804 2600.
To submit online: Click here.
To submit by post: Click here.
Transferring Of Ownership Of Car License In Hong Kong:
When buying a car, you will need to arrange a transfer of ownership. You will need HKID, address proof, insurance cover note (so be sure to get insurance first) and fill in the form TD25 to arrange the transfer.
How to submit? No application by post will be accepted. You must submit your application in person or by an agent (if an agent applies, the agent is required to produce his/her own original identity document for record purposes).
* Transport Department Hong Kong Licensing Office at 3/F., United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hong Kong
* Transport Department Kowloon Licensing Office at 2/F., Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Kowloon
* Transport Department Kwun Tong Licensing Office at 5/F., Kowloon East Government Offices, 12 Lei Yue Mun Road
* Transport Department Sha Tin Licensing Office at 2/F., Sha Tin Government Offices, No. 1 Sheung Wo Che Road, Sha Tin, New Territories
Vehicle Examination In Hong Kong:
Private cars that are six years or older must undergo annual vehicle examinations at Designation Car Test Centres, including used cars. You can make an appointment online and take it for a mechanical exam. This should be done annually!
Transport Department Hong Kong, +852 2804 2600
License And Permits In Hong Kong, Click here
Driving Schools In Hong Kong, Click here
Annual Vehicle Exam Booking, Click here
TD Forms, Click here
Parkopedia, Parking in Hong Kong