With frequent traffic congestion, limited parking space, costly fuel and deliberate efforts by the authorities to curb the growth of ownership, a private car is considered a luxury in Hong Kong. Generally, most expats in Hong Kong choose to rely on the excellent public transportation system and those who decide to buy their own car usually do so because they live in inaccessible areas.

Many expats who buy a car opt for the second-hand market as many previously-owned cars are usually in good condition and are very reasonably priced compared to brand new models. They also tend to have very low mileage. New cars bought in Hong Kong are subject to a first-registration tax – a whopping 40 to 60 percent of the value of the car. Owners bringing their car from overseas are also subject to this tax. Please see the “Importing Your Own Car” section to learn more.


Vehicle Licensing Fees: June 2014

Vehicle Class Annual Fee
(HK$)
4-month Fee
(HK$)
Private car vehicle class
a) not exceeding 1,500 c.c.
3,929
1,404
b) exceeding 1,500 c.c. but not exceeding 2,500 c.c.
5,794
2,056
c) exceeding 2,500 c.c. but not exceeding 3,500 c.c.
7,664
2,711
d) exceeding 3,500 c.c. but not exceeding 4,500 c.c.
9,534
3,365
e) exceeding 4,500 c.c.
11,329
3,994
Private Car (diesel)
a) not exceeding 1,500 c.c.
5,389
1,915
b) exceeding 1,500 c.c. but not exceeding 2,500 c.c.
7,254
2,567
c) exceeding 2,500 c.c. but not exceeding 3,500 c.c.
9,124
3,222
d) exceeding 3,500 c.c. but not exceeding 4,500 c.c.
10,994
3,876
e) exceeding 4,500 c.c.
12,789
4,505

For servicing and repair, you can go to garages operated by authorized agents for particular makes. These garages generally charge more than the smaller garages. If you do decide to use a small garage, it is advisable to go to one which has been recommended.


Buying a New or Used Car

Hong Kong is equipped with dealerships for new, as well as second hand, cars. Dealers at both kind of dealerships generally speak and are willing to deal in English. While there is not much room for negotiation of price at a new car dealership, you have more flexibility at a second hand dealership. At new car dealerships, the agents usually help you complete all the relevant formalities and paperwork and the process of registration is relatively seamless and easy.

If you are considering buying a used car, from a private seller or a dealer, you may want to ask for the car’s service record in order to validate the mileage. Most honest sellers are willing to grant you access to a second hand car’s service record. Alternatively you can approach the Hong Kong Automobile Association to ask for a pre-owned vehicle inspection service.

Do visit http://www.hkaa.com.hk/tc/#.U56H4S__LJw for more information.

A spot of advice at this point, most expats aver that if you plan to buy a used car in Hong Kong from a used car dealer or a local contact, it is worthwhile to take along a Cantonese speaker to help with the negotiation process and assistance with the paperwork involved. While some used car dealers will help with the transfer documents, others do not.


Places to Find/Purchase a Car

There are many places where you can find advertisements for new or used cars.

Publications

Publication Price Day of Publication Type of Cars
South China Morning Post HK$8 Daily, extensive listings on Saturday New and Used
HK Magazine Free Weekly, every Friday New
The Standard Free Monday – Friday New and Used

Websites

Website Address Updates Type of Cars
GeoExpat Forum http://www.geoexpat.com/classifieds/ Daily Mainly Used
AsiaExpat http://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/classifieds Daily Mainly Used
Craigslist http://hongkong.craigslist.hk/cta Daily Used
Adpost http://www.adpost.com/hk/cars Daily Mainly Used
Hong Kong Car Sales http://www.hongkongcarsales.com Varies Used
The Car Locator http://www.thecarlocator.com.hk Varies Used

Car Dealers

Car Dealer Contact Details Website Type of Cars
Richburg Motors Shop D, 128 Gloucester Road
Wan Chai
Tel: 2877 6700
http://www.richburgmotors.com New and Used
Auto Mall Carpark B1, HK Convention & Exhibition Centre
1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
Tel: 3113 2111
http://www.automall.com.hk Used
Vin’s Motors G/F, 42 Tin Hau Temple Road
Tel: 2571 5867
http://www.vinsmotors.com.hk Used
Tak Shing Motor B1, Unit 111, Trademart Drive
HITEC, Kowloon Bay
Tel: 2715 7521 / 9198 1011
http://takshingmotor.com.hk Used
Golden Century Motors Auto Plaza, 65 Mody Road
Tsimshatsui East, Kowloon
Tel: 2620 0022
http://www.gcmcl.com Used

Formalities

Certificate of Clearance (Used Cars Only)

Once you have located your second hand/used car you have to apply to the Licensing Office* for the relevant Certificate of Clearance before going through with the transaction. This certificate is provided free of charge and is valid for 72 hours and it usually certifies that the said car is free from outstanding penalties.

Certificate of Roadworthiness (Used Cars Only)

Cars which are older than six years have to be recertified by an authorized MOT testing center which will issue a certificate after a Certificate of Roadworthiness Examination (COR). This additional MOT test, which costs $530 for a private car, will add to the purchase price of the vehicle. The COR test needs to be done yearly for cars which are older than 6 years. The Transport Department of Hong Kong has information on these COR tests and more at http://www.td.gov.hk/en/public_services/vehicle_examination/vehicle_examination/index.html?inContentID=102&inCharsetID=1&inPageType=1#5.

Notice of Transfer (Used Cars Only)

Once the buyer and seller have agreed on a price they both have to sign a notice of transfer of ownership which also mentions the sale/purchase price. This Notice of Transfer document (TD025) can be downloaded from the website of the Hong Kong transport department (http://www.td.gov.hk/en/public_forms/td_forms/transfer_of_ownership/index.html).

This transfer document should then be submitted within 72 hours to Licensing office of the Transport Department. The buyer at this time should ensure that he or she has at least third party insurance. The buyer usually keeps the original of the form and gives the duplicate of the notice of transfer to the seller.

Once the Notice of Transfer has been submitted it does not mean that the buyer is automatically the new owner. The date of transfer of ownership is only specified when the new vehicle registration document is supplied to the new owner. This new vehicle registration document is only issued after verifying there is no outstanding First Registration Tax owed; otherwise, registration and license fees will be charged.

Registration

The new owner must visit the licensing department with the following documents in order to register his/her vehicle ownership.

  • The Vehicle Registration Document (the original document signed by the registered owner)
  • Proof of identity (passport or HK Identity Card)
  • Proof of insurance (an insurance cover note)
  • The appropriate fee (HK$1000)

*Transport Department Licensing Division (Hong Kong Island)
3/F, United Centre
95 Queensway
Tel: 2804 2637
Fax: 2804 2599

The addresses of the appropriate Licensing Offices of the Hong Kong Transport Department can be found out at http://www.td.gov.hk/en/public_services/licences_and_permits/vehicle_and_driving_licences/licensing_offices.

Registration Marks

When you register a vehicle at the Hong Kong Transport Department, the vehicle is usually allocated a registration mark. These vehicle registration marks or number plates are not provided by the department but are made by various garages after they have been acquired by an owner.

Hong Kongers are quite superstitious and they often want a special registration mark or even a particular registration. Since 1973, the Hong Kong Transport Department has been conducting auctions to sell numbers or vehicle registration marks. Auctions are usually held on Saturdays and sometimes on Sundays. There are generally two auctions per month.

Vehicle Registration Marks are of two types Traditional (Ordinary) Vehicle Registration Marks and Special Registration Marks. Numbers sold have to be assigned to a car that is registered in the name of the buyer within 12 months of the auction. The car can be an existing car that the buyer has purchased or one which he/she is planning to buy or a brand new one which is to be purchased after the auction.

Ordinary Registration marks consist of a two letter prefix followed by 1 to 4 numerals. Ordinary vehicle registration marks are usually transferable together with the vehicle bearing this mark.

You can usually check if registration mark is available by calling the number 2804 2600 or by going online at http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/transport/vehicle/regmarks.htm.

If a particular registration mark is available that you want, you need to complete an application for TD283 and submit it with a refundable deposit of $1000 to the

Hong Kong Licensing Office
3/F, United Centre,
95 Queensway,
H.K.

Ordinary registration marks usually have a wait time of four months after which you can go to auction.

In the case of special registration marks or lucky numbers, the mark consists of four numbers or one or two letters as prefix. Special registration marks are not transferable and they have to be canceled when the vehicle bearing that particular mark is sold. Read more at:

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