•The last vessel carrying motor vehicles this year is expected at the Port of Mombasa today, as importers rush to beat the eight-year rule deadline.
•The government has been pushing to reduce the age limit of used cars in favor of newer car on environmental grounds and to promote the local automotive industry.
You have four days remaining to clear any imported 2012 manufactured vehicle, as government agencies led by the Kenya Bureau of Standards monitor compliance with the eight-year age limit rule.
Starting midnight 31, all vehicles manufactured or first registered in 2012 will not be allowed into the country.
Four vessels carrying motor vehicles have arrived at the Port of Mombasa in the last three days, the Kenya Ports Authority data shows, as importers rush to beat the deadline.
The vessels are Leo Leader and Jolly Perla which arrived on Thursday (December 26), Morning Ninni which arrived yesterday and Grand Diamond which is expected in the country this morning.
Car importers are hopeful no vehicles will be locked out as all are expected to beat the deadline, mainly late orders made in November and early December.
These units are expected to be in the last motor vehicles vessel for this year which arrives today at 6am.
“We have always been sensitizing our members to observe the eight year rule and make orders early enough. We don’t expect any 2012 vehicle to arrive past the deadline,” Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) chairman Peter Otieno told the Star in a telephone interview.
The last time a major hiccup was witnessed was in 2014 when more than 2,000 used motor vehicles registered in 2006 were locked out over the age limit rule.
At least 14 vessels carrying units have docked at the Port in the last two weeks with the last two months of the year being the busiest.
“Between January and March imports average 3,000 to 4,000 before picking up to 9,000 in the second half of the year. Vehicles coming in between November and December are not less than thirteen thousand per month. It can go up to 15, 000 units,” Otieno noted.
Kenya imports used cars mainly from Japan (the lead market), United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Singapore and South Africa.
Starting January 1, only 2013 manufactured–second hand cars and below will be allowed into the country.
Meanwhile, sales of second hand cars which account for 85 per cent of all vehicles sold in the country annually have remained low this year, according to the Kenya Auto Bazaar Association (KABA).
This has been blamed on ‘tough economic times’ as a large number of Kenyans remained constrain on disposable income.
“There is a liquidity problem. Cash started disappearing in June and what we have witnessed this year is low sales compared to last year,” KABA chairman John Kipchumba said.
The country imports about 130,000 second-hand vehicles annually where an estimated Sh60 billion is spent on these units which are much cheaper than new cars.
The government has been pushing to reduce the age limit of used cars in favor of newer cars. This is on environmental grounds and promoting the local automotive industry.
Importers and dealers have however warned the local market will not meet the demand while majority of Kenyans will not afford new cars.
The Economic Survey 2019 shows new registration of motor vehicles increased to 102,036 units in 2018 from 91,071 units in 2017.