Hanoi is a compressed city, and cars are generally superfluous for anyone living near the center of town. However, a private vehicle is practical for the many expats who live in the peripheral areas of town, such as West Lake and Ciputra, especially for families. Cars and drivers are often included in compensation packages for executives assigned to work in Hanoi, and are almost always provided for diplomats. Import tax laws have changed in recent years, but you still have to expect to pay 50% more for a new car in Vietnam than you would in your home country, due to tariffs. For used cars, most Westerners use website classified listings to find second-hand vehicles from expats who are on their way out of Vietnam.
Buying a car in Hanoi
All major manufacturers have sales outlets in Hanoi, and dealerships have English-speaking staff on hand at all times. There are no used car dealerships in Hanoi, but second-hand cars are listed on the internet, as well as on community bulletin boards at Western shops, cafés, and restaurants.
Vietnam is still primarily a cash-and-carry economy, and car loans are not available for foreigners. If you buy a used car the owner will give you the registration card, which you must then take to the registration office (see below)—a dealer will take care of these formalities for you.
New Car Dealers
153 Yen Phu Road
Tel: +84 4 22430565
23 Phan Chu Trinh
Tel: (04) 3933 1282
183 Ba Trieu
Tel:(04) 3974 4166
44B Ly Thuong Kiet
Tel:(04) 3938 6311
101 Lang Ha
Tel: (04) 3856 2141
Try these websites for used cars:
- The New Hanoian, classified listings with occasional used auto sales by expats: http://newhanoian.xemzi.com
- Muaban, extensive listings in Vietnamese: http://www.muaban.net
Registration and other formalities
Once you’ve purchased a car, the dealer will take care of all registration formalities for you—you’ll just need a copy of your passport and visa.
If you buy a used vehicle, the previous owner will give you the registration papers. To change the registration to your name, take your passport along with documents such as import papers, sales invoice and, when applicable, previous owner details to 86 Ly Thuong Kiet Street. The cost of registration is around VND 150,000, depending on the size of the vehicle.
Make sure you keep the registration and proof of insurance in the car at all times.