car imports

Before you import your next car, read this!

Times are fast changing, and the Kenya Government is pushing in as far as it can to ensure that its Big 4 agendas are realized. Buying a car in Kenya is a huge move, it is not one that you jump right into. Most Kenyans prefer importing second-hand vehicles whose age limit was to be lowered to five from eight years. Most people find the importing option cheaper than purchasing from local dealers. Be in the know of import laws and bans and how they translate financially before making a decision.

The government will not relent on its efforts to make the country a motor vehicles manufacturing hub, Industrialisation CS Peter Munya has said.

Engineers at Association of Vehicles Assembly (AVA) go through their paces as they locally assemble Kenya’s Administration police vehicles

This comes as the government continues to implement the new National Automotive Policy (2019) that supports local assembling and manufacturing, as opposed to used second hand cars.

The government plans to reduce the age limit of used cars from eight years to five years by July next year with plans to ban the importation of second hand cars, mainly from Japan, in the long run.

The government has already placed an embargo on the importation of some types of second hand spare parts as it moves to implement the National Automotive Policy (2019).

The National Automotive Policy (2019) policies objectives include;

  1. Increase contribution to GDP To support the growth of the automotive industry in Kenya and become one of the major contributors of a considerable proportion of the manufacturing sector GDP by 2023.
  2. To scale-up exports of automotive products to EAC region from current about 5% to 15% by 2022.
  3. To create a solid foundation for job creation in the automotive sector, both direct and indirect, over the next decade and become a major driver of the manufacturing skills Centre of excellence.
  4. To give a supportive environment for R&D efforts in the automotive sector for indigenous research, design and engineering in both automotive vehicles and components; including adaption of disruptive technologies.

The government plans to give a supportive environment for Research and Development in both automotive vehicles and components, including adaption of disruptive technologies. Plans are also in place to give tax incentives to local players.

Car dealers have however accused the government of leaving them out in the policy implementation process, even as they accuse the state of pushing the poor out of the car market.

“Which stakeholders is government involving? We have no idea because we are not being consulted in anything,” Kenya Auto Bazaar Association (KABA) chairman John Kipchumba told the Star.

The Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) on the other hand has insisted locally assembled units are expensive by more than Sh600,000, compared to imported used cars, which will make the units un-affordable by majority of Kenyans.

The government had planned to ban importation of vehicles of above 1500 cc which are five years and above starting July this year. An uproar by car importers has however seen the government push the directive to July next year to allow consultation with industry players.

The new motor vehicle policy is a 15-year programme that will be a build up to Kenya producing its own motor vehicles either partially or completely, according to the ministry.

For many ex Japan car buyers, the reality is that the government is putting plans for you to buy locally assembled vehicles, and this will happen sooner than later despite the slow growth of the local assemblies. This comes after official data showed that new car manufacturers Peugeot and Volkswagen (VW) had failed to impress, two years since they made a grand return to Kenya despite heavy government incentives

Kenya imports between 10,000 and 12,000 second hand cars a month mainly from Japan which accounts for more than 80 per cent of imports. Other sources are UAE, UK, Singapore and South Africa.

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