A family browses used cars at an auto show. Somchai Poomlard

Government insists importation of used personal cars will only be allowed until December 9, and then they will be subject to seizure, demolition and a fine equivalent to five times the price of the car.

Keerati Rushchano, director general of the Department of Foreign Trade, said that after the ban, there would no longer be any seizure of cars for auctions.

The ban, intended to control vehicle emissions and for road safety, focuses primarily on imports of used personal cars and excludes imports for special purposes such as government and diplomatic use, R&D, public charity, reassembly and re-export, and exhibitions.

Used tractors, trailers, ambulances and fire trucks are allowed to be imported, but all exemptions must seek permission from the relevant ministries, usually one of the ministries of trade, finance, foreign affairs, l ‘Industry and Defense.

Existing regulations have loopholes that allow smuggling. For example, importers can declare imports of finished cars as vehicle parts to pay lower tariffs.

Cars are subject to 80% import tax, while parts and components are subject to 30% duty.

In addition, only new cars can be legally imported for commercial purposes, while sales of imported used cars are prohibited.

The customs department said imports of used personal cars in 2018 totaled 100 units.

In fact, there were around 1,000 cases of imported contraband cars during the period, 95% of which were luxury cars or supercars, he said.

The department reported that smugglers declared the cars as semi-dismantled units, instead of finished or completely built cars to avoid high tax payments.

Mr Keerati said operators wishing to import used cars for modifications or repairs intended for use in a free trade zone or customs-free zone must comply with the regulations of the department and the Authority. from the industrial zone of Thailand.

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