How to import used Japanese cars to Kenya

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September 24, 2017

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  • If you are like many and are wondering how to import a used Japanese car to Kenya, you are not alone. As a matter of fact, according to the Daily Nation, selling and buying used Japanese cars has never been a better business in Kenya. In 2014, alone, more than 100,000 used Japanese cars were imported making Japanese cars some of the most used varieties of vehicles in Kenya.  Japanese second-hand vehicles can be purchased practically from any car yard in Kenya.  You can also get them from various local private dealers; however, the deals tend to be expensive.

Why you should import used Japanese cars to Kenya

Did you know that you can import used Japanese cars to Kenya by yourself very easily? The process is actually not as complicated as many assume it will be. As a matter of fact, you can save up to KES 200,000 if you import your used cars yourself. Additionally, most second-hand cars available for purchase in Kenya are originally from Japan. This is because Japanese cars are right-hand drive, which means that they can be used on Kenyan roads. Japanese vehicle models are also considerably less expensive for Kenyan buyers than say German or American brands.

Japanese used cars are favored for their quality and price, which is why most people would rather go to the trouble of importing the cars themselves at a much lower price. After a few years of use, many Japanese people prefer to move on to another vehicle therefore genuine mileage is typically guaranteed when buying Japanese used cars.

How to import a used Japanese car to Kenya: a step by step guide

Step 1: Look for a seller

The first phase of importing a used Japanese car to Kenya starts with the process of finding a dealer. You can visit any major Japanese car dealer’s website to identify the make or the model of the car that you want to buy. There are numerous companies to choose from which can make the selection process daunting, but if you are aware of what you are looking for, the process is generally much less complicated.

When looking for a seller, conduct thorough research. Ask your friends that have real experience shipping used Japanese cars to Kenya. Also, ensure that you ask your vendor for testimonials of real Kenyans that have purchased their goods

Step 2: Identify your brand

Select or define the model, year of manufacture and brand of the car that you want. Please note that as per KEBS standards, cars which are older than 8 years old are not allowed in Kenya. Kenya Customs enforces this rule which only allows cars that were manufactured in 2008 onwards to be imported.

Step 3: Make your purchase order

Make your purchase order from your selected seller. A purchase order or PO is basically a request from you instructing your seller to provide you with a Proforma Invoice. Your purchase order might include:

FOB information/price- FOB stands for Freight on Board. The FOB  is not the complete cost of your vehicle because the car still has to be inspected by JEVIC which is the equivalent of the KEBS body in Kenya. JEVIC’s job is to ensure that the quality standards of your used Japanese car are adhered to before any shipping takes place.

CIF price- the CIF price stands for the Cost of Insurance and Freight. This amount is the final cost of importing your used Japanese vehicle. Most sellers will reduce the final CIF price if you negotiate properly or depending on the number of units you are importing from your preferred dealer.

Step 4: Accept the Motor Sale Agreement contract

At this juncture, you will have to accept the Motor Sale Agreement contract, which is the final invoice. You receive the invoice by remitting the cash to your seller’s bank account. In most cases, you can pay the money via Telegraphic transfer, which is referred to as T/T by many Kenyan banks.  Ensure that you ask the teller to copy vital details such as the brand, engine, and reference number on the Transfer Form because they are crucial.

Step 5: Send your transfer form to your seller

Scan the transfer form from the bank and send it to your seller. The seller will then notify you by email when and if your car is ready to be shipped to Kenya. It characteristically takes about a week for the inspection to take place and for your vehicle to be transferred to the loading bay or one of the Japanese ports.

Step 6: Confirm your shipping address

The next step involves verifying your address for your Bill of Landing or B/L.  Your chosen seller will ask you to confirm the address for your B/L copies, which will essentially prove that the car is yours. Most Japanese traders prefer to send the B/L copies via courier service.

Step 7: Transfer the clearing services to Sidoman

Once you receive your B/L copy, you will have to transfer the clearing services to a reliable listed agent with KRA like Sidoman.  Sidoman will then process your import documentation through Kenya customs and clear your vehicle on your behalf.

An import declaration fee (IDF) of 2.25% of the CIF value, which is usually a minimum of KES 5,000 is payable. CIF refers to the customs value of your vehicle that is, the cost, insurance and the freight charge for your car.The final fee is determined by Customs depending on the value of your vehicle and the duty rate that is applicable.

Step 8: Get a Tax report

Once Sidoman declares the vehicle with customs, Sidoman will be issued with a Tax report. The duty to be paid when someone imports a vehicle from Japan to Kenya is made up of:

  • Import duty which is 25% of the CIF value of your car.
  • Excise tax which is 20% of the CIF value plus import duty
  • VAT, which is 16% of the excise tax plus the CIF value and the import duty
  • IDF which is 2.25% of the CIF value
  • In general, you will pay your vehicle’s duty via a banker’s cheque which will be addressed to the commissioner of customs KRA. Sidoman will then use your receipt to clear the car on your behalf.

Step 9: Pay Sidoman

Here, you will have to pay Sidoman a reasonable and affordable fee which includes the clearing agent fee and other port handling charges which differ from one vehicle model to another. Please note that your used Japanese car will take around 3 to 4 weeks to arrive at the port of Mombasa.

Step 10: Organize with Sidoman where you want your car delivered

After you have finished making all the necessary payments, you can arrange with Sidoman to either have your car delivered to you or you can pick it up directly from Mombasa.




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