Importing a car During COVID-19? What You should Know

When the first COVID 19 case was confirmed in China in December 2019 nobody could predict how it would change the way the world operates. Suddenly, wearing masks and sanitizing have become the buzz words that we have live with.

Worldwide, this pandemic has affected business across all industries. With movement cessations in place in different countries, the car import industry has been one of the most hit. For a country like Kenya where 80% of the vehicles on the roads are second hand imports, this is an issue of great concern.

If you are in the market for a new import, or were in the process of importing before COVID 19 and you are now ready to proceed, here are a few things that you should know:

Brace for longer timelines

Everything is much slower, and will inevitably take more time than it should. Japan, which is the major exporting market for used cars, imposed a state of emergency in mid-April. This was characterized by restricted movement, working from home and rigorous standards of social distancing.

While some car auctions remained open, they had fewer cars than usual. The processes of de-registering, inspecting and shipping were also taking longer than usual.

While Japan has now opened up and things are slowly getting back to normal, it will still take time. Expect some delays in buying and shipping of cars.

Expect delays at the port of Mombasa

When your car finally leaves Japan for Mombasa, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

 However, with Kenya’s response to the pandemic there will be fewer KRA and NTSA staff at the port.

This means more delays. For instance, it is taking up to a month to get a logbook, down from a few days in the past.

Transportation from Mombasa

The issue of transportation is another difficulty that you might encounter.

Some car carriers such as Corner Garage have stopped their operations indefinitely.

This means that other than your car taking much longer to reach you, you may have to pay more to find one of the few car carriers still in operation.

Overall costs may be higher

Owing to global market shocks caused by the pandemic, the Kenyan shilling has weakened considerably against the dollar. This may impact the cost of importing a car.

Delays are expensive, and waiting at every stage of the car import process means that you are spending money directly or indirectly.

Is it all doom and gloom?

No, it is not. As the COVID 19 pandemic settles around the world, things will continue to stabilize. We have already seen much improvement in the various processes and this can only get better.

At AutoAssista we are open and ready to help you import your dream car from Japan to Kenya. Visit our website www.autoassista.com for a wide selection of vehicles in Japanese auctions, as well as information on our import process.