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What is the Most Efficient Way for Buying a Car in Saudi Arabia in 2023?

(This article was last updated on Jan. 23, 2023.)

What is the most efficient way for buying a car in Saudi Arabia in 2023? – That will be the topic of today’s article.

If you have any questions or want to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use these contact options.


Buying a car in Saudi Arabia can be a lengthy procedure, however it will be familiar if you have already lived in the Middle East. Be prepared to hand out forms, letters, and photocopies of various documents, especially if you are buying a secondhand automobile, as is the case with any bureaucratic business.

A new car purchase is a little easier because the dealership will handle all of the paperwork for you (in most situations). A Saudi driving license is required for buying a car in Saudi Arabia. No dealer will sell you a vehicle unless you already own one, and no exhibition will authorize ownership transfer without one.

A lesser-known fact is that not everyone in the Kingdom is allowed to own an automobile. Pick-up trucks are classified commercial vehicles and can only be owned by Saudi Arabian citizens.

On the other hand, cars that seat more than five people are classified as family vehicles, and they can only be owned by families. In fact, in order to purchase a family car, the buyer must present a letter from his work detailing his family’s affairs.

Because gasoline is as cheap as chips in Saudi Arabia, many expats overlook the cost of gasoline when purchasing a vehicle. Many people choose a 4×4 since it is more suitable for desert driving; yet, a sedan is equally adequate for city driving.

Always examine the tyres when buying a car in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere, as the hot asphalt tends to cause tyre wear and strain. Furthermore, whether purchasing a new or used car, always consider the cost of replacement parts, since some vehicle types may appear to be good value until they break down and components become prohibitively expensive.

Buying a Car in Saudi Arabia: Some Definitions

Before we get into the nitty gritty of buying a car in Saudi Arabia, we will first define a few phrases that are relevant to the discussion.

Fahas: The vehicle test that shows road worthiness is also known as MVPI (Motor Vehicle Periodic Inspection). A circular sticker is placed on the car’s windshield to show this.

Istimarah: This is the registration card for the car. The registration card must always be kept with the vehicle and must be renewed every three years. Only if the car has passed the MVPI will the istimarah be issued.

All used automobile transfers in Saudi Arabia must proceed through a third party; thus the buyer will hand over his car and istimarah to the exhibition, and you will deposit your funds. The money and the car will be held at the show until all of the documentation is completed and the transfer of ownership is completed.

Muroor: This is the traffic police station where you fill out the documentation for buying or selling a secondhand car.

Buying a Car in Saudi Arabia: New vs Old

What should I note when buying a new vehicle?

buying a car in saudi arabia new
Grand Touring Performance edition of Lucid’s electric Air sedan. Image by Lucid Motors

When relocating to a new nation and investing money, thorough study and employing the help of a financial planner is essential. Always do your research on the brand of automobile you want to buy, read several forums, and inquire about the air conditioning (which is critical) and whether the car is often breaking down for some reason.

Also look into the cost of spare parts, since this may influence your decision to purchase a specific brand. It’s also a good idea to do some research on insurance rates and premiums so you know what you need and what you should bargain for.

When buying a new car in Saudi Arabia, it is usually advisable to go to a respected car dealership. The dealership will display the vehicle’s complete specifications, giving the buyer peace of mind that his vehicle is indeed new.

Furthermore, if the dealership is reputable, it’s common to assume that it will manage the process of car registration, insurance, and even the motor vehicle loan for you. Do not just assume such and always ask the dealer to do all paperwork prior to closing the sale. There will always be an English-speaking salesperson on hand to answer expat buyers’ questions.

Remember that you can still haggle on the price and package when purchasing a new automobile. Negotiation is prevalent in the Middle East and asking for a better offer is not considered impolite.

Furthermore, during specific seasons of the year, such as Ramadan, cars are sold at a discount. It’s a smart idea to find out when these sales are happening because the savings are usually worth the wait.

What about purchasing a used automobile?

buying a car in saudi arabia used
Used cars are exported from the UAE to Saudi Arabia. Image by Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Buying a secondhand automobile is always risky because the buyer has no idea how the vehicle was driven or maintained, or whether it has been in an accident, which is why it is better to be prepared.

Here are some pointers for those looking to buy a secondhand car:

Decide on a budget. Do some research to find out what a reasonable price for a used vehicle is based on its age, model, and make. Because there is no official standard for used car prices, automobiles are sold at market value; therefore, research about the car’s price is critical.

A used car can be found in a dealership showroom, a car souq, or on one of the numerous websites that advertise used cars. Buying a used automobile from a showroom or a car souq is not recommended since the price may be inflated, and you will end up paying more for the car than if you bought it from an individual.

When you’ve discovered the automobile you want, especially if you found it online, make an appointment to see it. Because cars do not rust in the Middle Eastern environment, they appear to be brand new on the surface. However, deeper inspection may reveal certain damages, so ensure that the automobile is thoroughly inspected by a mechanic, particularly the undercarriage.

Take the automobile for a test drive with the mechanic to see if the gears and engine are in working order. Even though it may appear to be a time-consuming task, thoroughly inspecting the vehicle is well worth the effort.

Avoid cars that are more than five years old or have a high mileage because they require extra upkeep. If the car’s owner isn’t the salesman, don’t buy it (in a private sale). Cars with a history of accidents may also require more maintenance and be more difficult to resale.

Always haggle over the price no matter how fair it appears to be.

Finally, attempt to purchase a car from someone who is selling it because they are leaving the Kingdom, not because they have to.

Buying a Car in Saudi Arabia: Necessary Paperwork

What documents are needed for purchasing automobile?

When buying an automobile, there are a lot of paperwork that must be presented. A letter from the Saudi sponsor or employer is the most important. Most employers are used to receiving such letters and are familiar with their format. The letter must be attested by the Chamber of Commerce if the company is not a government organization.

If the car is a family vehicle, the employee’s family status must be included in the letter. Proof of insurance is also required and must be presented when the transaction is completed.

When purchasing a used car, you may be required to complete the paperwork at the Muroor yourself; however, certain exhibits will do so for a price. There are a lot of documents that must be given to the Muroor if you undertake the process yourself. Make certain that all of the documents have been translated!

The Muroor will issue you an istimarah for the car in your name once you have filed all of your documentation and everything is in order. With the new istimarah, you can claim the car from the display.

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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