Buying a car as a foreigner in Taiwan can be a confusing and stressful experience. If you do not live near a train station, chances are that you have thought about at least buying a car for long trips. Taiwan is a place that should be explored not just with public transportation, but by car or scooter. If you only take public transportation everywhere you go, you are missing out on a huge part of Taiwan. To make you buying experience smoother, we have created this guide to let you know what to expect and answer any questions.
Here is an easy checklist for buying a car in Taiwan:
Before buying the car:
Buying a Car in Taiwan FAQ 購買汽車常見問題:
Q: Do I need an ARC to buy a car?
A: Yes, for most all cases. Having an ARC card is arequirement for vehicle registration with the Motor Vehicles Office.
Q: Do I need a local license to buy a car?
A: Yes, for most all people. But it is possible that you own a car while not having a local license, but I assume that you will want to drive your own vehicle.
If you have a valid driver's license from your home country, you may be eligible for transfer of license based on principles of equity. For more information, see the government's website here.
Q: What is the driver's licence test like in Taiwan?
A: See our full blog on the test here.
You can also check out the in-depth explanation from Tealit here.
Q: What taxes do I need to pay for my car?
A: License plate tax and fuel tax, which need to be paid annually. Electric vehicles do not need to pay fuel tax. The rates are as follows:
Q: What are the annual fuel tax rates for gas/diesel cars in Taiwan?
Q: What are the annual license plate tax rates for gas/diesel cars in Taiwan?
Q: What are the annual license plate tax rates for electric cars in Taiwan?
Q: What kind of car insurance is there in Taiwan?
A: There is compulsory insurance (强制險) which will pay a fixed amount for the medical expenses of another party and your passengers if you crash. You must purchase this insurance.
There is also optional third party insurance (第三方責任險), which covers extra amounts to passengers, other parties, and property damage. I highly recommend getting this insurance before driving your new car.
Another type of insurance is driver Injury Insurance (駕駛人傷害險), which gives the driver an amount of money should they crash themselves.
Please refer to the chart below for an explanation of coverage:
Q: How much is the cost of car insurance in Taiwan?
A: Compulsory insurance (强制險) ranges from about 1,000 NT to 3,500 NT depending on your age and gender.
Other added insurance (such as 第三方責任險) can range from 1,000 NT to 20,000 NT annually depending on your plan. You probably want a plan that would cover you if you hit a Ferrari.
Q: Where can I buy a car in Taiwan?
A: There are car dealerships in major cities throughout Taiwan, as well as used car dealerships. It depends on what car you want to buy.
Q: How much is a new car in Taiwan?
A: Imported cars can by 1.5 to 2 times more expensive than cars built domestically, due to import taxes. Therefore brands that have factories in Taiwan (such as Toyota, Honda, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, Mitsubishi) are cheaper than other brands in Taiwan that are imported (such as BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Suzuki, Tesla, Volvo, Mazda, Volkswagen, etc). Taiwan built cars are similar in price to those sold overseas.
Q: How much are used cars in Taiwan?
A: A car that is 10-20 years old in Taiwan is usually sold for less than 200,000 NT.
Many really old cars sell for 50,000 NT because that is the tax rebate amount you can get if you junk it when buying a new car.
Q: How much are parking spaces in Taiwan?
A: Parking spaces in Taipei can range from 2000-5000 NT per month.
In Kaohsiung however, parking spaces can be as cheap as 1000 NT per month or less.
Q: How much are car repair fees in Taiwan?
A: This depends on the car. For a normal sedan an oil change is about 1000 NT. In general, service fees for car repairs in Taiwan are about a third what they are in the US.
Q: How often do I need to take an emissions test for my car?
A: If your car is more than five years old: once a year (about 500 NT).
If your car is more than ten years old: twice a year (about 150 NT for the second test).
At the emissions test, they will also test your brakes, lights, etc. to make sure your car works properly.
Q: How much are the highway/freeway toll fees (ETC fees) in Taiwan?
A: This is about 1.2 NT per kilometer, but there are discounts if you prepay using your ETC account and if you drive long distances. Discounts may stop during holiday travel times.
Q: How much is the price of gas?
A: As of March, 2018 it was around 27 NT per liter for 95 octane gas. However in March 2020 it has dropped to 25 NT per liter, which is quite low.
For you Americans that is 95- 100 NT per gallon (3.14 USD to 3.31 USD per gallon).
Q: What are the average annual costs for a car in Taiwan?
License Plate Tax: 4,000 - 46,000 NT (see above for rate table)
Fuel Tax: 4,800 - 12,000 NT (see above for rate table)
Gas for 20,000 KM: 40,000 - 60,000 NT
Oil Changes: 2,000 - 4,000 NT
Emissions Tests: 500-650 NT
Other minor repairs/servicing: 3,000 NT to 20,000 NT
ETC fees: 6,000-12,000 NT
Parking fees: 12,000 - 50,000 NT
Insurance: 2,000 NT to 20,000 NT
Estimated Total Annual Costs: 74,300 - 224,650 NT
Q: How do I get a local Taiwanese licence?
A: Check out our guide on getting a driver's licence in Taiwan here.
Q: What do the different car license plate colors in Taiwan mean?
Q: What side of the road does Taiwan drive on?
A: The Right side.
Q: Anything else I should be aware of when driving in Taiwan?
Renting a car instead?
Please see our guide on car rental in Taiwan here.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.