Below is a guide on how buy a car in Kenya without be conned. That is what to check for genuine cars, tips, tax procedures and importation steps.
Where to Buy a Car from
We encourage people to buy cars in Kenya from car dealers rather than private sellers. Buying a car from a private seller or friend means that you will have to manage all the paperwork and if you are not smart enough in doing car background checks, you might be conned.
Buying vehicles from car dealers or bazaar might be expensive but the risks are low. Car dealers will also do the paperwork for you and give you a warranty.
What to look for when calculating cost of a car
The cost of the car you want to buy is mostly affected by;
- Make: Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, mazda, BMW e.tc. Toyota cars are normally expensive because they have been known to be durable.
- Body Type: Sedan, Pick up, van, Bus, Truck, SUV, Station Wagon e.t.c
- Condition: Whether it is used or new
- Mileage: for used car, mileage is the distance the car has covered since the day it was bought by the first buyer.
- Age: This how old the car is since it was manufactured and registered.
- CC: This is the engine capacity. The amount of fuel the car consumes in a particular distance
- Transmission: Whether it is automatic or manual
- Fuel: Whether it consumes petrol or Diesel
- Driver: Whether it is 2WD or 4WD
- Seats: The number of seats available in the car
After considering all the above listed factors against your budget now you are ready for the next step of buying your car.
Process of Importing a Car to Kenya
After you have identified the type of car you want to buy, the next step is importing. Below is what you should know about importing a car to Kenya:
- Select Dealer: Get car dealers who will help you with the importation process. Do not deal with car dealers who have no physical location in Kenya as it might take several months to receive your car. We recommend sbt japan (Their offices are located in Parklands Road, Park Suite Building, 3rd Floor, Nairobi, you can call them through Phone number +254709915000 for directions).
- Purchase of Vehicle: After selecting your car, it is time to start the buying process. Some dealers will need you to pay some deposit so that they can start the importation process.
- Deregistration and Car Inspection: After payment, the vehicle will undergo de-registration in the country of origin for instance Japan. It will also go through inspection to meet set standards of car importation in Kenya. The standards include; The car must be less than 8 years old from the date it was registered, The car must be right hand drive, the car must have a Cancelled logbook from the country of importation e.t.c.
- Car Shipping: Your dealer will identify the available ship from the source country that will dock in Mombasa and shipping is organized. You will be required to pay some amount depending on how you agree with your dealer before shipping begins.
- Clearing and registration: Once it arrives in Kenya, you have to pay KRA duties and levies. They include 25% import duty, excised duty of 20% to 30% (depending on the type of vehicle engine), value added tax of 16%, importation declaration fees of 2%, and railway development Levey of 1.5%.
Note: Recommended countries to import cars from are Japan, Singapore, UK and Dubai
Take a test drive (for local buyers)
Do not buy a car before you take it for a test drive. Below is a list of important things that you should check during a test drive. This is for those who are buying locally:
- Blind sports: Find out whether the car has blind sport monitors
- Handling: check whether the car can easily take sharp turns.
- Gears: Check whether the gears are working well.
- Brakes: Check whether the gears do apply and “catch” quickly
- Noise: Listen to the noise in the cabin
- Safety: Does it have airbags, blind spot sensors, parking assistant, safety belts, all car lights e.t.c
You can learn more on: How to buy a second hand car in Kenya
Important: When buying a car in Kenya, check the logbook and ensure it is written Transfer Number and not duplicate number. For those who need to import with SBT Japan visit their offices in Parklands, Park Suites, 3rd Floor, Nairobi.
Do not go through any website online that claims to sell or import cars and send money. There are sites that have vehicles for display online which do not exist to scam people. Lastly, only buy a car which has proper legal documentation.