The Industry Ministry insists grey-market vehicles imported after November 2012 must be tested for quality before they can be registered.
Vehicles imported by independent importers must be tested. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
The decision came April 2 despite calls from independent importers for authorities to delay the date to June.
Permanent industry secretary Witoon Simachokedee said after a meeting with relevant agencies that car makers and grey-market vehicle importers must stick to the time frame.
Importers have been asked to inform the ministry this week of the exact figures for vehicles imported before and after last November.
"We've been talking about this issue for many years, so importers cannot say they are unprepared," said Mr Witoon.
Grey-market vehicles are legally imported from another country through channels other than the maker's official distribution system.
Since 1995, imports of grey-market vehicles had the first lot tested following Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI) regulations. For every additional lot, tests were performed randomly.
However, loopholes have allowed a large number of vehicles to avoid testing. So TISI issued a measure in February that all grey-market vehicles imported after November 2012 be tested before registration with the Land Transport Department.
Patima Jeerapaet, president of the Thailand Automotive Institute (TAI), said so far only one car out of 361 from 22 companies that submitted requests for testing has actually undergone testing.
Independent importers are to submit requests to TISI before being tested at the TAI. The whole process takes three weeks to complete, said Mr Patima.
The Customs Department reports 2,000 cars are awaiting testing at ports.
After testing is finished, the TAI will submit a letter to TISI before the department can approve the registration.
The luxury is presented at the 2013 Bangkok Motor Show running until Apr 7, 2013. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
Kriangkrai Limnantharak, the managing director of Auto Image, said importers asked for the extension because a large number of cars have already been delivered to customers after November. He said it is almost impossible to recall cars already sold to customers.
Chanchai Pilawan, the managing director of Mini Bangkok 2001 Co, said he is concerned that consumers will file a complaint against importers because they have already received their cars but are unable to obtain a licence.
About the author
- Writer: Nanchanok Wongsamuth
Position: News Reporter