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A guide to imporing cars from Japan
Vj
#1 Posted : Wednesday, October 06, 2010 8:20:47 PM
Rank: New-farer


Joined: 9/6/2010
Posts: 96
Location: nairobi, kenya
There are three main sources of used cars for the Kenyan market, Japan, Dubai and Singapore. Japan is the most popular and reliable source, thanks to the fact that the cars are clean and in relatively good condition. The process is also transparent. Previously, Dubai and Singapore were popular sources of the used cars. Dubai lost out after claims that most of these cars are first stolen from Japan, while Singapore had quality issues. More than 90 percent of the used imports now come from Japan.

Importing a used car is an easy do-it-yourself process. From the comfort of your office seat, you can buy a car straight from Japan and have it delivered to your parking lot. The process takes 30-45 days. Below is a step by step guide.

Know what you want
As with the other ways of buying a car, the first step is to identify exactly what you want. List down the extras, transmission, colour, mileage….. This will help narrow down your search and save you time roaming the internet. Just because Japan is home to Toyota, Subaru and Mitsubishi does not mean the makes are their only mainstay. If you fancy a Lamborghini or Ferrari, you can get it here too. But as a basic rule, choose a car that’s suitable for our roads and climate. This will minimise your expenses on tropicalising the car. The year and month of registration of the car is also important as it will affect the amount of duty payable on the car. For the lowest duty it is advisable to buy a car that is seven years old and has been registered in a month that precedes its arrival month in Kenya, i.e.in October 2010 you should buy a car registered before October 2003. You can check the registration date of the vehicle by entering the vehicle chassis number on the sbtrading or japanpartner website.

Identify your Source
Buying a car through the web has three dimensions: Logging onto a website and purchasing from any of the models posted, bidding online from any of the auctions in Japan and placing an order through the exporting companies. Most Kenyans use the first method. According to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the main used car dealers that export used cars to Kenya are in Tokyo, Kinki, Nagoya, Okinawa and Tohoku. These are regulated by an umbrella body, the Japan Used Motor Vehicle Exporters Association (JUMVEA). It’s JUMVEA that arbitrates any would-be disputes between you and the car exporter. The members of the umbrella body are listed on the website www.jumvea.or.jp. Some of the websites have specific web pages for Kenyan customers, whereby they only list cars manufactured after year 2003 and the most popular makes and models. If you don’t get the car you are looking for, you can request from any of these companies via email. Buying from auctions (USS, held every day and Global Online held every Monday) often entails sending a deposit to get a bidding number. Although it is advisable to choose a JUMEVA registered exporter, there are other credible exporters like Papera and IBC who are not members of JUMEVA. It is best to carry out your own research regarding an exporter and search the internet to see if any claims of fraud or poor services have been reported.

Ascertain quality
The quality of the used cars is normally graded to the scale of 5. Most of the suppliers will give you a separate grading for the tyres, interior, body work and engine. If the overall grade is above 4, the car is in good condition. All cars imported into the country must be inspected for roadworthiness by the Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Centre (JEVIC) and awarded a certificate. This certificate is one of the mandatory documents for clearing the car at the Mombasa Port.

Making an order
This can be done either via email, web chat or phone. The price quoted can be either Free On Board (FOB) or Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF). The former does not include freight charges and marine insurance. You can negotiate for a discount. Furnish your supplier with your name, contact details and address so that he can process a Proforma Invoice. This reflects the agreed price of the car and is demanded by your bank when wiring the payment. Depending on the company, you can either remit 100% of the value of the car before shipping or 50% down payment. Often, the Japanese supplier will not release the export documents in case you have not paid the whole amount for the car. To save money, it’s advisable to remit the money (in dollars) when the exchange rate to the shilling is low. It takes about two days for the money to reach your supplier’s bank account in Japan.

Shipping
This is the responsibility of your Japanese exporter. And herein lies the beauty of dealing with established companies. Since they have an established supply network, it’s easier for them to book your car promptly for shipment. Small companies run helter-skelter around the congested Japan ports seeking to secure any slot on the car carriers. Normally, two ships leave Japan for Kenya every month. Depending on the shipping company, the ship may either be on a direct Japan-Mombasa route or may first detour to Dubai or Durban. Freight normally takes 22 days.

Tracking and clearance
The exporter will send the vehicle documents by courier service and give you a tracking number. These documents are mandatory, for KRA to clear the vehicle. They include the invoice, three copies of Bill of Lading (which certifies that the car is onboard the particular ship), a JEVIC inspection certificate, original vehicle logbook and deregistration certificate. The BOL also bears the estimated time of arrival of the ship. These documents must be forwarded to your clearing agent.

Mandatory clearance fees
Import Declaration Fee: This is normally 2.25% of CIF value with a minimum of Kshs 5,000, this is the first payment made in the process of clearing. It normally takes a few days to process.

Duty: KRA employs two methods in determining the dutiable/customs value of the imported vehicle (of the two methods shown below KRA will use the customs value that will result in the highest duty):

1.As per the the CIF value of the car shown on the invoice
2.KRA may also determine the dutiable value based on the current retail selling price of the car (CRSP), this is the price of a brand new car similar to the imported car that is available locally. The CRSP value is then depreciated according to the age of the imported car to arrive at the dutiable value. The newer the car, the higher the duty, as it will have a lower depreciation
The links to the CRSP list is:
http://www.kra.go.ke/not.../SEPTEMBER_CRSP2010.xls
the CRSP value and age of the car should be entered into the valuation template whose link is:
http://www.kra.go.ke/cus...%20Motor%20Vehicles.xls

Once the dutiable/customs value is arrived at the duty is worked out as follows:
1.Import duty: is 25% of dutiable/customs value.
2.Excise Duty: 20% of dutiable/customs value + import duty.
3.VAT: 16% of dutiable/customs value + import duty + excise duty
In addition. The duty is also quoted inclusive registration, normally Ksh12,000 for a usual passenger car.

Shipping line charges: These average around Ksh 5,000 for a saloon car
Port charges: These depend on the duration the car stays at the container terminals. The longer the stay, the higher the charges. It’s therefore advisable to embark on the clearing process as soon as the car docks at the port. For a normal saloon car you can expect to pay port charges of around Ksh 20,000

Other charges
Agency Fee: This is the service fee you pay to your clearing agent. It averages Ksh10,000 a car. A word of advice here is to use established companies as opposed to individuals. This is because large companies tend to solve minor problems faster and have a good network to deal with the different agencies responsible for releasing the car. There have been some incidences in which individual clearing agents conspire with officials to create problems for you in order to make a quick buck. Once again it is up to you to carry out some research and select a good agent.

Insurance: The maritime insurance will cover your car for a period of 14 days at the port. Once your car leaves the port you will be responsible for your own insurance. Although there are different types of insurance covers available it is advisable to get full comprehensive cover, this will cost between 4% to 8% of the cars total value depending on the insurer.

Minor service: As the car has been on the high seas for around a month it is advisable to undertake a minor service that includes an oil change, oil and fuel filter change, and if necessary a spark plugs change. depending on the car this will cost you anything from Ksh 4,000 to 10,000. Please be sure to use the correct engine oil, some new cars require synthetic engine oil.

Transport: There are 3 way you can get you car to its destination;
1. Getting the clearing company to arrange for a driver to deliver the car, this will cost you around Ksh 8,000 for the driver and another Ksh 5,000 to 6,000 for fuel. The downside to this method is that the drivers tend to use your car as a matatu from Mombasa to Nairobi, sometimes making your car very dirty. there have also been incidences of rough driving and removal of accessories like seat covers, wheel caps etc.
2. Use a car carrier, this will cost around Ksh 15,000 to 20,000 and can be arranged by the clearing agent. A downside is that you may have to wait a few days for the entire carrier to be filled.
3. Going down to Mombasa and bringing the car yourself, you'll have to pay for your transport to the city, accommodation and fuel to bring your car to its destination.
Vj attached the following image(s):
japancr.jpg (21kb) downloaded 37 time(s).
Before you can be be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid.
Tebes
#2 Posted : Wednesday, October 06, 2010 10:30:43 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 11/26/2008
Posts: 2,095
1. Shipping/port charges?
2. Insurance for the vehicle?
3. Fuel and minor service on arrival?
4. Fuel upcountry if destination "ni gari ya bara"


Insight though is helpful for first time importers.
"Never regret, if its good, its wonderful. If its bad, its experience."
mjuaji wa stocks
#3 Posted : Thursday, October 07, 2010 10:25:43 AM
Rank: Member


Joined: 1/16/2010
Posts: 671
Location: nairobi
@Vj....very useful info indeed.

Kindly answer the questions above....many will benefit.
God gave me the power to make wealth ... Blessed the work of my hands & enabled be A SELF MADE BILLIONAIRE ...... TO GOD THE FATHER OF MY LORD JESUS CHRIST; BE THE GLORY NOW & FOREVER MORE!

Vj
#4 Posted : Thursday, October 07, 2010 3:44:29 PM
Rank: New-farer


Joined: 9/6/2010
Posts: 96
Location: nairobi, kenya
I have edited the post to include the points mentioned by Tebes
Before you can be be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid.
Eddy
#5 Posted : Thursday, October 07, 2010 4:44:27 PM
Rank: Member


Joined: 7/20/2006
Posts: 277
@VJ.....Thumps up, this is god work!!
jerry
#6 Posted : Thursday, October 07, 2010 5:13:31 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 9/29/2006
Posts: 2,561
Gud info, especially the KRA site on CRSP.
The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it's conformity.
Tebes
#7 Posted : Friday, October 08, 2010 1:35:04 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 11/26/2008
Posts: 2,095
Thank you VJ, the above is a basic and comprehensive guide to those who wish to import vehicles they have identified into Kenya. Also KRA has in the past advised importers to make duty payments themselves payable to Commissioner of Customs services through National bank or Coop. bank. This forms the bulk of clearance costs at the port. The rest of the payments(about 10% of total vehicle cost) can be done by the clearing agent.
"Never regret, if its good, its wonderful. If its bad, its experience."
Chaka
#8 Posted : Friday, October 08, 2010 3:43:25 PM
Rank: Veteran


Joined: 2/16/2007
Posts: 1,853
@Thebes,
The clearing agents normally insist one obtains a banker's cheque for duty payment in favour of 'commissioner of customs services'
What you are saying is that one can pay cash to the KRA account at NBK or CO-OP?
holycow
#9 Posted : Friday, October 08, 2010 4:02:12 PM
Rank: Veteran


Joined: 11/11/2006
Posts: 946
Location: Home
Very informative indeed.
Telegraphic Transfer charge is 0.25% of the wired amount.
I've come across Paytrade, wonder if its the Paypal equivalent in the vehicle importation world.
Tebes
#10 Posted : Friday, October 08, 2010 5:19:39 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 11/26/2008
Posts: 2,095
Chaka wrote:
@Thebes,
The clearing agents normally insist one obtains a banker's cheque for duty payment in favour of 'commissioner of customs services'
What you are saying is that one can pay cash to the KRA account at NBK or CO-OP?


@Chaka
You are correct. Bankers Cheques only no cash.
"Never regret, if its good, its wonderful. If its bad, its experience."
Tebes
#11 Posted : Friday, October 08, 2010 5:34:36 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 11/26/2008
Posts: 2,095
holycow wrote:
Very informative indeed.
Telegraphic Transfer charge is 0.25% of the wired amount.
I've come across Paytrade, wonder if its the Paypal equivalent in the vehicle importation world.



@Holycow
With pay-trade, you pay them money, they hold the money, informs the exporter that it holds funds until they receive shipping documents from the exporter. That way your funds are guaranteed payback if vehicle is not shipped but all this come at a fee.


Pay-trade charges a minimum of 150 dollars. You will add this amount to the agreed CIF cost of the vehicle, and send to an advised account in favor of pay-trade.
"Never regret, if its good, its wonderful. If its bad, its experience."
bartum
#12 Posted : Friday, October 08, 2010 8:09:53 PM
Rank: Veteran


Joined: 8/11/2010
Posts: 955
Location: nairobi
VJ kindly assisst me answer following questions.
1)who are best clearing agents you use.
2)the cheap and best in quality car export company in japan.
Regards
Vj
#13 Posted : Friday, October 08, 2010 10:22:47 PM
Rank: New-farer


Joined: 9/6/2010
Posts: 96
Location: nairobi, kenya
bartum wrote:
VJ kindly assisst me answer following questions.
1)who are best clearing agents you use.
2)the cheap and best in quality car export company in japan.
Regards



@Bartum
Personally I use Agility logistics as my clearing agent, over time i have developed a great relationship with them to the extent they pay my duty so the car is released on time. I have also had good experiences with Romark freight and Mitcell Cotts.

I have found that Jans trading, Al Ain Japan and Papera have lower prices and reliable service for common cars like toyota and nissan, for top luxury cars and 4x4's IBCjapan and SBTjapan are quite competitive. The key thing when searching for a car is to look around for a car that meets your needs and negotiate aggressively. Be sure to clarify all you doubts
Before you can be be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid.
Vj
#14 Posted : Friday, October 08, 2010 10:38:55 PM
Rank: New-farer


Joined: 9/6/2010
Posts: 96
Location: nairobi, kenya
Tebes wrote:

Pay-trade charges a minimum of 150 dollars. You will add this amount to the agreed CIF cost of the vehicle, and send to an advised account in favor of pay-trade.


Tebes is right about what Pay-trade is, it was introduced due to a number of rogue car dealers operating from tradecarview.com who fleeced around 1 million dollars from unsuspecting customers.

However Pay-trade is quite expensive as it charges 3.5% of the cost of the car with a minimum charge of $150. As there are plenty of reliable and trusted exporters, there is no point in paying for such a service.
Before you can be be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid.
livie
#15 Posted : Monday, October 11, 2010 1:12:57 PM
Rank: Veteran


Joined: 11/1/2008
Posts: 801
thanx @vj very informative, was looking to import my own soon,wouldnt mind droppin u a line....please let me have you mail mines's wanyama(at)dr(dot)com
If you are going to be thinking only one thing, you might as well be thinking big. -Donald J . Trump
bartum
#16 Posted : Monday, October 11, 2010 1:35:32 PM
Rank: Veteran


Joined: 8/11/2010
Posts: 955
Location: nairobi
Vj wrote:
bartum wrote:
VJ kindly assisst me answer following questions.
1)who are best clearing agents you use.
2)the cheap and best in quality car export company in japan.
Regards



@Bartum
Personally I use Agility logistics as my clearing agent, over time i have developed a great relationship with them to the extent they pay my duty so the car is released on time. I have also had good experiences with Romark freight and Mitcell Cotts.

I have found that Jans trading, Al Ain Japan and Papera have lower prices and reliable service for common cars like toyota and nissan, for top luxury cars and 4x4's IBCjapan and SBTjapan are quite competitive. The key thing when searching for a car is to look around for a car that meets your needs and negotiate aggressively. Be sure to clarify all you doubts

thanks alot VJ
seppuku
#17 Posted : Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:51:11 PM
Rank: Veteran


Joined: 5/11/2010
Posts: 917
Very informative. Thanks a lot. I have bookmarked this page for when I will need to buy a car.
Learn first to treat your time as you would your money, then treat your money as you do your time.
half_empty
#18 Posted : Tuesday, October 12, 2010 2:51:53 PM
Rank: Member


Joined: 3/23/2007
Posts: 127
Good stuff VJ.
Once paid extra duty after being told that the first payment was rejected by KRA for being insufficient. Something to do with the model having more specs compared to the one listed on CRSP. Now wondering whether my clearing agent set me up.
mukiha
#19 Posted : Tuesday, October 12, 2010 3:01:01 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 6/27/2008
Posts: 4,114
Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause
Nothing is real unless it can be named; nothing has value unless it can be sold; money is worthless unless you spend it.
mukiha
#20 Posted : Tuesday, October 12, 2010 3:02:33 PM
Rank: Elder


Joined: 6/27/2008
Posts: 4,114
What I cant understand is why KRA doesn't have a duty calculator on their website; or do they?
Nothing is real unless it can be named; nothing has value unless it can be sold; money is worthless unless you spend it.
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