Export to Africa

Jim Autos Thailand is Thailand’s oldest, largest and most trusted dealership. Jim Autos is run and operated by the Quraishi Family which has been in the automotive business since 1911. Our great-grandfather established Asia’s first dealership in 1911 on the principles of honesty and integrity, unparalleled customer service, top selection and quality and lowest possible price. We continue to abide by these four principles. If  you need to reach us no matter what your continent, please email us at [email protected].

Our Dubai division Jim Autos Dubai is Dubai’s top car exporter to the world and of course Jim Dubai is the Dubai’s top exporter to both RHD and LHD countries to Africa.

We are Thailand’s, Singapore’s, England United Kingdom’s and Dubai’s largest exporter of cars, sedans, petrol 4x4s and diesel 4x4s to Africa, Asia, Americas, Europe and the Pacific.

Following countries in Africa are Right Hand Drive countries: Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Here a Thai vehicle can be driven without any conversion and we are sending vehicles to most of these countries either directly or via our gateway cities.

South Africa and Dubai act as gateways to most of these countries. Our Gold Partners and sister companies in these countries had always provided quality Thailand made Jim Autos exported vehicles to the entire continent, not just right hand drive vehicles but also our quality converted LHD vehicles.

Jim Autos Dubai is now supplying not only Thailand made but also quality Japanese RHD and Dubai local Left Hand Drive vehicles exported by our sister companies in Japan and Singapore, to all parts of the Dark Continent. You may reach Jim Dubai at [email protected].

Southern Africa

SACU (the Southern African Customs Union)

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is the oldest Customs Union in the world.  SACU came into existence on 11 December 1979 with the signature of the Customs Union Agreement between South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. It entered into force on the 1st of March 1970, thereby replacing the Customs Union Agreement of 1910. It was renegotiated in 1994.

SACU revenue constitutes a substantial share of the state revenue of the BLNS (Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland) countries.

Products imported into South Africa can therefore circulate freely within these 4 countries.

South Africa – RHD

South Africa is one of Bloomstar’s – and by extension Jim Motors’ – global hub. Our Gold Partners have dealership in Durban Port and after keeping the vehicles suitable for South African markets, they resell the rest to the customers who flock to Durban port from all parts of Africa. We are exporting a number of new and Jim Quality Toyota and Mitsubishi vehicles to South Africa, some for South African consumers while the vast number of vehicles are imported for the express purpose of re-export to other Southern African countries.

The main zones of economic concentration are located in the main South African conglomerations: Johannesburg / Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.

The entire motor vehicle imports and exports (over 175,000 units in 2003/04) are handled through two major car terminals at Durban, East London with an additional number handled at Port Elizabeth. Durban Container Terminal (DCT) is South Africa’s largest and one of the busiest and best equipped in the southern Hemisphere. DCT serves as a pivotal hub for the entire southern Africa region, serving trade links to the Far East, Middle East, Australasia, South America, North America and Europe. The terminal also serves as a transshipment hub for East Africa and Indian Ocean islands.

The Durban Car Terminal is one of Africa’s largest car terminals. It has continued to expand and during 2003/04 handled a total of 139,189 motor units. This is expected to increase beyond 160,000 for 2004/05. The terminal occupies a dedicated area with exclusive access to a single berth (R berth) via an overhead bridge and operates a 24-hour, 365 day a year service. A multi level parking facility, commissioned in May 2004 increased the yard capacity to 7,000 motor units. A further addition to the terminal is under consideration.

The East London Car Terminal has provision for 2,800 motor units in a modern multi-level facility. The terminal is currently (June 2004) applying for ISO9001:2000 accreditation. During 2003/04 East London handled a total of 34,900 motor vehicles. Vehicles for export are stored in a four-storey building with an annual throughput capacity of 50,000 motor units. The terminal is linked to the adjacent DaimlerChrysler manufacturing plant by a dedicated private road and opens onto its own berthing area of two berths. A port-deepening programme currently underway will permit larger car carrier vessels to access the terminal.

Importation of Used Vehicles

A study carried out in 2004 by the Competition Authority of South Africa (which regulates competition among the industries) found out that cars in South Africa cost twice as much as in Australia. This is because strict control measures are used to restrict the number of legal import permits issued to allow used vehicles into SA. In terms of current legislation, used vehicles qualifying for an import permit include those for returning residents and immigrants, vintage cars, racing cars, donated vehicles for welfare organizations and adapted vehicles for persons with physical disabilities. Without a legal import permit, imported used vehicles cannot be registered on the National Information Transport System (NaTIS) while the system also combats stolen and non-complying vehicle registrations. All vehicle-manufacturing plants have also been linked on line to the system to facilitate the collation of data of vehicles produced. Government and industry are engaged in various actions and initiatives to effectively combat the illegal import of used vehicles into SA. The focus of the task teams has been extended to also include imported new vehicles not complying with the SA Bureau of Standards compulsory vehicle specifications as well as illegal registrations on the NaTIS. In this regard the SABS Letter of Authority (LOA) was introduced in 2000 as a means of certification of compliance with SABS standards. The LOA has been instrumental in combating the increasing levels of imports of non-complying vehicles, which tend to have sub-standard safety features to the detriment of road safety. In addition, SABS homologation is the procedure to ensure that all new vehicle models comply with the relevant SA legislation, standards and specifications, as well as codes of practice, for motor vehicles intended for use by the public on public roads. The process for homologation must be carried out before any motor vehicle model is introduced into the SA market. This prevents the need to withdraw a motor vehicle model before it enters the market and reduces the possibility of resultant legal action against the supplier. A process of homologation is also requiring in respect of motor vehicle tires.

Used Vehicle Import Procedure

In order to import a used vehicle for resale, you must first obtain a import permit by applying at the Directorate: Import & Export Control, Private Bag X192, Pretoria, 0001. A Letter of Authority (LoA) is also required and application for this must be made to the South African Bureau of Standards, Private Bag X191, Pretoria, 0001. See below for phone and email.

Importers are, however, cautioned that the Directorate Import & Export Control does not issue permits in this regard and are well advised to first contact their office directly for more information. (Please see the preceding section for restriction on used car imports

At present the Customs duty on motor cycles imported into South Africa is zero.

However, please note that ad-valorem duty on:

  • Motor cycles with an engine capacity not exceeding 800cm is 5%
  • Motor bikes with an engine capacity exceeding 800cm – 10%

The ad valorem duty is calculated on the value for Customs duty purposes plus 15% thereof, plus the Customs duty.

These duties are subject to change without prior notice.

Second-hand motor cycles are also subject to an import permit and Letter of Authority (LoA).

Here are the documents you will need:

An example of how duties for a motor vehicle would be calculated is shown below.




Motor cars, assembled 40%

The value for duty purposes is the price paid or payable for the motor vehicle. If a special reduced price was paid for the vehicle or the vehicle was not purchased then a value for Customs purposes can be determined in consultation with the Controller for Customs & Excise at the time of clearance.

Example: To calculate the Customs duty payable on a motor vehicle with a value of say

Value for Duty purposes: R100,000.00
Customs duty payable @ 40%: R 40,000.00




The value for Ad-Valorem Customs duty purposes shall be the value for Customs duty purposes as described above, uplifted by 15% of such value plus the Customs duty payable.

Example: To calculate the Ad-Valorem duty payable on a motor vehicle with a value of R100 000.00

Plus 15% of this value R 15,000.00
Plus Customs duty payable (A/Example) R 40,000.00
R155 000 x 0.000035 = 5.55% – 0.5% = 5.05%
Ad-Valorem duty payable (R155 000 x 5.05%) R 7 634,00



  Customs Duty R40,000.00
Ad-Valorem Customs Duty R 7,634.00


Details Costs     Tax
Car Purchase price: 100,000  
Plus 15% of Value 15,000  
Car Price+15% 115,000  
Customs Duty 40,000 40,000
Car+Import+Customs 155,000  
Ad Valorem (155,000 x 0.000035 = 5.55% – 0.5%= 5.05%) 7,828 7,828
Total: 162,828 47,828

Importing Used Cars into South Africa

Permanent Importation of Vehicles into South Africa

1. Motor Cars (New or Used)

a) Import Duty and Tax

* Customs duty = 36% (motor cars more than 20 years old are subject to 20% customs duty)
* Ad valorem customs duty (based on a sliding scale depending on the value of the vehicle, with a minimum of 0.75% and a maximum of 20%)
* Value-added tax (VAT) = 14%

As an example, the cumulative duties and taxes payable on a car with a value of approximately R200 000 are ±70% of the market value. All vehicles with a value for ad valorem customs duty purposes of less than R130 000 do not pay ad valorem customs duty on importation into South Africa.

If the original purchase invoice is not available, three written valuations must be obtained from motorcar dealers in the country of export to assist the customs clearance process in South Africa.

b) Import Permit

All used motor vehicles are subject to the production of an Import Permit that must be obtained prior to the vehicle being shipped to South Africa. Applications for Import Permits should be addressed to:

The Director of Import and Export Control
Trade and Industry
Private Bag X192
South Africa

E-mail: [email protected]

Please Note – Import Permits are only forwarded to South African addresses.

c) Letter of Authority

All new and used motor vehicles being imported into South Africa are also subject to the production of a Letter of Authority. Applications for Letters of Authority should be addressed to:

The South African Bureau of Standards
Private Bag X192
South Africa

E-mail: [email protected]

E-mail: [email protected]

Your attention is drawn to the fact that the importation of left-hand drive vehicles is generally prohibited if registered in the name of an importer on or after 1 January 2000 unless authorised by the SABS.

2. Motor Cycles (New or Used)

* Above 800 cc = Customs duty free, 7% ad valorem customs duty, plus 14 % value-added tax 200 – 800 cc = Customs duty free, 5% ad valorem customs duty, plus 14% value-added tax Under 200 cc = Customs duty free, ad valorem customs duty free, plus 14 % value-added tax.
* An Import Permit is required for all used motor cycles (see above).
* If the original purchase invoice is not available, three written valuations must be obtained from motorcycle dealers in the country of export to assist the customs clearance process in South Africa.
* Immigrants who are in possession of a Permanent Residence Certificate may import one motor vehicle per family without the payment of customs duties and tax on change of residence to South Africa on condition that the vehicle is registered in the importer’s name and has been owned and used by the importer for a period of at least 12 months before shipment of the vehicle to South Africa.
* All rates of import duty and tax are subject to amendment without prior notification.

Motor Vehicles imported by natural persons on change of Permanent Residence to South Africa

1. Rebate of Duties

In terms of item 407.04 of Schedule number 4 to the Customs and Excise Act –

• Immigrants, and
• South African residents who originally emigrated from the Republic obtained permanent residents status abroad, and thereafter return,

being natural persons, may after obtaining permanent residence in South Africa/return to South Africa permanently, import ONE MOTOR VEHICLE PER FAMILY under full rebate of customs duties for his/her own personal use, provided that the vehicle so imported was the personal property of the importer, and was owned and used by him/her for a period of not less than 12 months prior to the Importer’s departure for the South Africa.

South African Residents, please note that unless you comply with all three elements, i.e:

01. you originally emigrated from the South Africa;
02. you obtained permanent residents’ status abroad; and
03. you again return to the South Africa permanently,

you do not qualify for the rebate of duty.


– Should the vehicle have been owned and used for a period of less than twelve months prior to departure, the amount of duty rebated will be reduced pro-rata, according to the number of days less than 12 months.

– If the vehicle is second-hand, an application for an import permit must be made, prior to shipment of the vehicle to South Africa, to:

The Director of Import and Export Control
Private Bag X192
South Africa

E-mail: [email protected]

– All vehicles being imported into the South Africa require an original Letter of Authority, application for which must be made to:

The South African Bureau of Standards
Private Bag X192
South Africa

E-mail: [email protected]

E-mail: [email protected]

2. Specific Exclusions

Please note that the following persons do not qualify for the rebate –

• South African citizens travelling abroad;
• South African citizens taking up temporary residence in a foreign country, irrespective of the period involved, i.e. for study, work permit, contract work, etc.; and
• Foreign nationals taking up temporary residence in South Africa.

For any period that a vehicle may be registered in a company’s name during the twelve months period prior to shipment, the rebate will be reduced on a pro-rata basis.

3. Documents to be Produced

In support of the clearance of the vehicle in South Africa, the following documentation must be produced to your clearing agent/Customs –

* Immigrants must produce their permanent residence permit issued by the Department of Home Affairs (or a copy thereof)
* Returning South Africans must produce proof of emigration from the Republic, proof of permanent residence obtained abroad as well as evidence that such permanent residence has been withdrawn
* A duly completed form DA 304 A
* Purchase documents
* Registration certificate/permit
* Documentary evidence of the date on which delivery of the vehicle was taken
* Documentary evidence of the date on which the vehicle was handed to the shipper for shipment to South Africa
* An import permit (used vehicles); and
* An original Letter of Authority (all vehicles)

4. Additional Information

A vehicle shall not be deemed to be personally owned and used by an importer unless such importer was at all reasonable times personally present at the place where the vehicle was used. The period of use is deemed to be from the date on which the vehicle was registered in the name of the importer (whichever is the later), until the date on which the vehicle was delivered by the importer to the shipper or other agent for the purpose of shipment or dispatch to South Africa.

Vehicles imported under the provisions of item 407.04 may not be offered, advertised, lent, hired, leased, pledged, given away, exchanged, sold or otherwise disposed of within a period of 20 months from the date of it being cleared for Customs purposes in South Africa. Prior permission must be obtained, should an importer wish to dispose of the vehicle within the 20 month period after the date of clearance.

For the purposes of item 407.04, during the initial period of 20 months after the date of clearance in South Africa, an importer shall, if he or she is absent for a continuous period of longer than 3 months from the place where the vehicle is usually used in South Africa, be deemed not to have imported the vehicle for his/her own or personal use, and the duty determined by the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service shall be payable as from the date of such absence

South Africa Auto Industry

The South African motor industry is undergoing a radical process of change. Import protection of over 100, three years ago, can be complemented to zero and this means that local companies must now compete with the best in the world. Government legislation is in place to bring the mixed economy of South Africa into the world arena once again. This means major adjustment and reconstruction in the local auto industry. SA’s volumes of new car sales (just under 215 000 for 1999) is too small to attract international companies looking for markets, especially when one considers that this is shared between 7 car assemblers, and many independent importers, offering over 750 model variants to the local market. The government, in a process of positive engagement with labor, component manufacturers and assemblers, has reviewed the legislation that oversees the local industry. The result is an industry plan that will, short and long term, put South Africa into the global sourcing picture in the international motor industry.


The Motor Industry Development Program (MIDP) is the name of the legislation governing the local motor industry. It was enacted in September 1995 with the major objective of slowly re-introducing South Africa into the international motor industry. This was to be done by slowly reducing import tariffs to give local industry an opportunity to adapt. In practice, the GATT binding on imports was set at 50%, but the government felt that this level of protection was too high and subsequently set lower tariffs on imports of vehicles and components. Whereas this has resulted in the loss of about half of the people employed in the total industry over the past 5 years (to around 290 000) the South African motor industry is now starting to show aspects of international competitiveness. The MIDP has just been revisited and fine-tuning adjustments will be announced for implementation in mid-2000. In essence, local assemblers will produce volumes in excess of 30 000 vehicles per model by the mid-two thousands. Some are planning 60 – 80 thousand. Some vehicles will be exported and the local model range will be supplemented by imports. This will allow local material content of 65 – 75%. Thus local component volumes will increase between two and four times, which means that local component manufacturing becomes a very attractive business.


The tariff on completely built up (CBU) passenger vehicles is presently at 38% (of the vale of the motor vehicle), and a 14% VAT applies. There is also an AD VALORUM duty (of approximately 2% – depending on value of vehicle). The same duties apply to completely knocked down (CKD) passenger vehicles. The tariff on the heavy truck market is 20%, with a 14% VAT. Again, there is also an AD VALORUM duty (of approximately 2% – depending on value of vehicle). The import duties on components are approximately 30%, depending on the component.

South African Contact Info

Here is contact information for relevant South African departments:

Department of Trade and Industry Directorate :
Import and Export Control
Private Bag X192
Tel : +27 12 310-9791
Fax 27 12 322 7403
e-mail [email protected]

Commissioner for Customs and Excise
South African Revenue Service
Tel: 27 12 314 9911
Fax: 27 12 325 7992

Customs Code Number Section
Tel 27 12 314 9713
Fax 27 12 324 4498

e-mail [email protected]

Namibia – RHD

If you want to import a vehicle, you must first obtain an import permit from the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The import duties and VAT are then paid to the Customs Division of the Ministry of Finance. After this, the importing company applies for the Interpol clearance with the customs paid document (known as the IM4) and the release order from customs. Once the police clearance is obtained, the company obtains a roadworthy certificate from NaTIS, which also inspects the engine and chassis numbers before registering the vehicle. Namibia Traffic Information System (NaTIS) is a department of Roads Authority. This system is intended to be part of a the Southern African Development Community (SADC)-wide system and through this system the Authority maintains both a database of all vehicles registered in Namibia and collects the Vehicle Licence and Registration fees on behalf of the Road Fund Administration. (Incidentally, SADC member countries are Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.)

NaTIS requires the police clearance, customs release and payment receipt, roadworthy certificate and original de-registration certificate from the country of export before registering the vehicle. If the de-registration is in a foreign language, NaTIS requires a sworn translation from a registered translator.

Cars from SACU (Southern African Customs Union) are allowed. If vehicle is imported from Swaziland or Lesotho or South Africa, you will also need SARPCO (the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation) clearance before the vehicle leaves the country of origin.

SARPCCO was established in August 1995 to promote and strengthen co-operation among member states and foster joint strategies for the management of all forms of cross-border and related crimes. Countries party to the organisation include Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Namibia was the only country in the SACU region that allowed importation of used cars but Ministry of Trade and Industry controversially slapped a ban on the importation of used cars older than five years from Japan on 5 December last year.  South Africa had historically discouraged importation of used cars to protects its automobile industry but since Namibia has no local automobile industry, this decision only affected customers pockets.

Used car importers complain that the ban came after the local Retail Motor Industry (RMI), a loose federation of mostly white used-car dealerships, sought for months to have the so-called ‘grey imports’ banned from Namibia. Cheaper Japanese cars were affecting the sales of new and higher priced local used vehicles.

Earlier in July 2005, The Namibian Minister of Trade and Industry, Jesaya Nyamu, clarified that Namibia had not banned the importation of second-hand cars. “Second-hand motor vehicles that are not older than five years are still permitted to be imported into Namibia, while imports for those that are older than five years from countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland are also allowed,” he said.

Botswana – RHD

Botswana is another member of SACU. Registration data suggests that some 1000 cars are bought every week in this poor country. Botswana, unlike Namibia and Swaziland, does not restrict the imports to cars that are less than five years old. As a matter of fact, Botswana has no law prohibiting the import of used vehicles.

Most of the imported cars come from Japan but vehicles are also being imported from Singapore, UK and Malaysia. Jim exported vehicles have also begun making their way from our South African hub.

Dealers of new and local used vehicles have been complaining vociferously that importation of Japanese used cars is affecting their sales considerably. They are also claiming that Japanese used car importers are presenting lower prices invoices to cheat on duty.

Since Botswana has no automobile industry, it makes sense to allow import of quality Japanese, Thai and Singaporean vehicles. If Botswana to restrict foreign import South Africa will jump in to fill the gap and we know that South African cars are many times more expensive than foreign imports. A study carried out in 2004 by the Competition Authority of South Africa (which regulates competition among the industries) found out that cars in South Africa cost twice as much as in Australia.

Duties: Importers are charged a customs duty of 50.5 per cent of the value of the car, 10 per cent sales tax and other duties of about 5 per cent. The second-hand cars, which are imported from South Africa but originate in Japan, attract customs duty at 36 per cent and value added tax (VAT) at 10 per cent. Semi-knocked down (SKD) vehicles can be imported into Botswana at 23% duty.

Import Procedure: Customs officers only assess customs duty and VAT on imported cars and issue motor vehicle clearance certificates. Registration is then done at the Department of Road Transport and Safety. Any person who clears an imported vehicle is required to complete a customs declaration form and pay customs duty and VAT. The importer is also required to submit documents such as suppliers invoice, transport document, and police clearance to facilitate the clearance. Importers who were unable to complete customs documents were required to engage the services of customs clearing and forwarding agents.


There are no local content regulations or import restrictions. I don’t have recent figures but import taxes on motor vehicles in 1998 were 40 to 80 percent of CIF value, depending on the type of vehicle. A VAT of 20 percent is charged to each vehicle imported.

Mozambique (Moçambique) – RHD

This former Portuguese colony gained its independence in 1975, but its economy was devastated by its official Marxism, large-scale emigration of whites, economic dependence on South Africa, a severe drought, and a prolonged civil war. The ruling party formally abandoned Marxism in 1989, and a new constitution the following year provided for multiparty elections and a free market economy. A UN-negotiated peace agreement with rebel forces ended the fighting in 1992. Mozambique is gradually climbing out of the hole its liberators had created.

Jim Autos expect Mozambique to be an important market for our cars, pickups and SUVs. As Mozambique’s economy gains momentum there is growing demand for right-hand drive passenger and hauling vehicles. Toyota dominates the passenger and light truck market and since we are one of the largest exporter of Toyota vehicles, the potential for our success is great. City and inter-city bus service is being re-established, as is inter-city truck hauling. With road upgrades in progress, demands for additional mass transit and goods transport vehicles has increased.

Mozambique does not use import quotas. The time consuming and bureaucratic customs clearance procedures are considered by many to be a significant non-tariff barrier.

Dec 30 / 99 (IPP) Table II item 07 states that vehicles falling into tariff headings 8702 to 870490 and motorcycles (8711) may not be imported if more than 5 years has passed since they were first registered.

Import Duties: Here are the import duties on vehicles:-

  • All single and extra cabs diesel pickups command a duty of 5% on the CIF price; No VAT tax
  • All double cab pickups command a 5% duty plus 30% other taxes on the CIF price
  • All buses more than 3 seats command a 5% duty on the CIF price as well as 17% VAT

Import Taxes and License Requirements – No import taxes aside from tariffs and VAT are imposed. All importers must be licensed by the National Directorate of Trade of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Registration is straightforward and has not been used as a non-tariff barrier.

Special Import/Export Requirements and Certifications – All importers and exporters must be duly licensed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Pre-shipment inspections are currently mandatory for all imports.

Import Procedure: First an importer or his duly authorised representative submits a PD (Pré-Declaração – Pre-Declaration) – submitted on the DU before the goods are shipped from the country of origin or first shipment. A 15% deposit is also made at this time. DU (Documento Único – Single Document) is a form used both for pre-declaration and declaration.

When the vehicle has arrived, importer makes a declaration again on DU. The final declaration must agree with the PD. Some changes are permissible, others are not. In particular, the description of the goods must be the same. Whilst the quantity may vary, please note that the FOB value may not vary by more than 5% from that given on the PD.

If your car does not arrive prior to the 180 day limit and no request to extend the validity of the PD was submitted, the deposit is forfeited. You must make a written request to the Customs post listed on the PD. There will be a charge of 1.5% of the CIF value of the goods to cover the costs incurred by the State. The repayment will be made (less the charge above) at the same location where the original deposit was paid.

In case the vehicle arrives in the country without a valid PD, the importer must apply for a post-shipment inspection to be carried out and pay a fine of 30% on the CIF value of the vehicle.

When the DU is presented, Customs will check that all of the mandatory boxes have been completed in the correct format and that all of the required supporting documents have been presented. If they are satisfied, the documents will be accepted. If not, the documents will be rejected and returned to the declarant. After acceptance of the documents, Customs will carry out a detailed check on the information shown on them. If this check reveals any errors – or if clarification is required – a query notice will be issued to the declarant.


5 year rule applies for cars and 9 year for vans. You can import Sedan cars and Wagon less than 5 years old, registration month is important, car must be at Port Louis port within the month of Registration. Van type vehicle you can import only under 9 years, registration month is import as noted above.


There are no local content regulations. The maximum value of an imported vehicle without a general import license has been increased from $1,500 to $4,500. The vehicles must be less than 4 years old. Vehicles can only be resold after 1 year of ownership.

East Africa

East African Community (EAC)

Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – members of the East African Community (EAC) trading bloc – agreed to implement a customs union from January 2005, abolishing an anti-dumping duty on imported second-hand vehicles. Kenya, the region’s biggest economy, was forced to scrap a 20% anti-dumping duty on imported used vehicles as a result of joining the EAC. The other two countries had no import duties.

 Recently, Kenya has asked the East African Community (EAC) Council of Ministers to reinstate the 20 percent duty on second hand cars in order to protect the second hand industry from the intense competition that has resulted from the relaxation of the duty. Response to this proposal was immediate. The Kenya Auto Bazaar Association’s (KABA) Secretary Cahrles Munyori commented: “Of course they cannot introduce it (suspended duty) unless they want to go against the EAC protocol. Uganda and Tanzania do not have this duty.”

On the other side of the dispute are Kenyan car manufacturers, who are, according to Munyori, trying to ensure that only cars younger than 6 years are able to enter the EAC. This would be achieved by amending the Kenya Safety Standards rule which currently requires second hand car imports to be eight years old or younger. Muyori also indicated that Uganda and Tanzania don’t have any law on their statute books that provides for the same result.

Kenya – RHD

Kenya is another Right Hand Drive country. Port Of Entry is Mombasa. You can import any vehicle that is less than eight years old, but it is required to have a Pre Inspection Certificate & SGS inspection.

Kenya had a 10 year old rule and you are not allowed to import a vehicle older than that. Recently, the Kenyan authorities have started banning vehicles that are eight years old. The Kenya Bureau of Standards is using the K21515 2000 standard clause stating that vehicles above eight years should not be allowed in Kenya. After protests by the Kenya Auto Bazaar Association, the government agreed to clear all vehicles imported before the ban was implemented. They agreed that vehicles lying at Mombasa port and over eight years but below ten, would attract a new duty of Sh. 6,000 while those above ten years a new fee of Sh. 10,000.

Pre-export inspection is required which we can arrange. We are working with Kenyan dealers both directly and through our Gold Partner in South Africa and our dealership in Dubai.

In July 2005, a request by car importers to nullify importation documents was rejected by the High Court. Recently Francis Thuranira, the Kenyan Customs Commissioner had issued routine orders to customs’ officers giving guidelines on how to undertake valuation of imported secondhand vehicles. The Association of Clearing Warehouse and Freight Forwarders of Kenya had sought orders to quash the introduction of the routine orders but the High Court rejected their plea in July of 2005. The Association had argued that the orders were illegal while KRA maintained that the routine orders were internal documents of the authority. They asserted that the orders guided customs officials on the value of imported motor vehicles and therefore did not affect the association.

Mr Justice Maraga ruled that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) was obeying the law in introducing the routine orders and calculating value added tax to impose on the imported vehicles. He also said that the instructions, also known as “routine orders”, were issued according to the East African Customs Management Act and the Customs and Excise Act.

No local content regulations exist, but components manufactured locally may not be imported. There are no export requirements. An import license accompanied by a 100 percent refundable prior import deposit is required. Importing medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles with a 3-ton or more load capacity is prohibited unless they are completely dismantled and contain no components that may be produced locally. The import duty on assembled passenger cars is 50 percent on the C.I.F. value in addition to a 40 percent sales tax. The duty on components for assembly is 25 percent. Importers have been directed to seek 90 to 180 days credit overseas. Import protection is accorded to local producers of the following automotive components: sealers, adhesives, batteries, tires, tubes, paints, flat glass, canvas, soft trim, upholstery, insulation, radiators, exhaust systems, leaf springs, spare wheel carriers, seat frames, wiring harnesses, and brake linings


  • Excise duty on all vehicles is now 20% irrespective of engine size
  • 20% dumping fees on all vehicles has been removed
  • Cumulative taxes on all vehicles has been set at 76.75% of dutiable value
  • Import duty is 25% of dutiable value.
  • Excise Duty 20% of Excise Duty Value.
  • VAT is 16% of VAT value.
  • Import Declaration Form (I. D. F.) processing fees is 2.75% with a minimum of shs 5,000 that is paid in advance on application.
  • Calculated cumulatively, Import Duty+ Excise Duty + V.A.T+IDF will work out to 76.75% on all vehicles irrespective of engine size.
  • AGE LIMIT – In Kenya Importation of used vehicles is limited to eight years. All used motor vehicles originating from Japan and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) -Dubai,will be subject to destination inspection. Importers of vehicles from Japan and the U.A.E will be expected to present their motor vehicles to Japan Auto Appraisal Institute (JAAI) in Japan and JAAI/  CAAC in Dubai who will inspect the motor vehicles and issue a certificate of roadworthiness, which shall be presented for clearance purposes.
  • Pre-shipment inspection by Cotecna and Bivac International is no longer a requirement from 1st July 2005. Dutiable values will now be determined by custom authorities at Mombasa Port.
  • Import Declaration Forms (IDFs) will be processed by KRA-customs services.
  • Import duty, excise duty, VAT and I. D. F fees are calculated based on dutiable value which is not necessarily the purchase price.


If you have bought a vehicle outside Kenya and would like to ship it home, an importer will do all pre-shipment documentation, clearance through the port and registration. As per the current import regulations, they will also require copies of your National ID/Passport and PIN certificate.

To qualify for duty exemption, you must;

  1. Have owned the car for a continuous period of 12 months.
  2. Have stayed in the country (foreign) for a period of 24 months within which you must NOT resided in KENYA for more than 3 months continuously.

However,vehicles belonging to returning residents must abide to the Kenyan standards as stipulated by the Kenya bureau of standards (K.B.S). The importation of Used Motor Vehicles into Kenya is covered under the Kenya Standard Code of Practice for Inspection of Road Vehicles KS03 1515:2000.The Standard spells out three major criteria for acceptances of the Vehicles for importation.

These are:

  1. Age Limit: All road vehicles, which are more than eight years old from the year of manufacture, shall not be allowed for importation. Currently we are accepting cars manufactured in 1999 and after.
  2. Left Hand Drive: All left hand drive vehicles are not allowed for registration unless they are for special purpose i.e. Ambulances, Fire Tenders and large construction vehicles imported for projects and to be eventually donated the Kenya Government.
  3. Road Worthiness: All used vehicles imported into Kenya shall be inspected for Road Worthiness, safety and other requirements.

Tanzania – RHD

You can import used vehicles of all kinds but a pre-inspection certificate is required

We are exporting both new and used vehicles either directly or through our sister companies and our Gold Partners into Tanzania.

As mentioned above, used cars can now come in without any duty. This has caused a flood of used cars to land on Tanzanian shores. Just one Dar es Salaam-based shipping line agent, Diamond is projecting to discharge 2000 vehicles per month. Most of these vehicles are coming from Japan and Dubai.

Excise duty is charged on specific or ad-valorem rate, and the tax base for the ad-valorem rate is the C.I.F value plus the import duty. The applicable ad-valorem excise duty rate for saloons and station wagon motor vehicles with engine capacity in excess of 2000cc is 10%. VAT is imposed on scheduled imports into the mainland Tanzania at a single positive rate of 20%. The taxable value for VAT on imports is the CIF value plus customs duty, excise duty and any other import tax applicable.

The other taxes levied on your vehicle are:

Registration Tax: This is a tax collected on the first registration of motor vehicles in the country. The tax is levied at a flat rate of TZS 95,000 (US$83) per registration for motor vehicles and TZS 32,000 (US$28) for motor cycles.

Transfer Tax: On transferring the ownership of a motor vehicle the new owner pays a transfer fee of TZS 55,000 (US$48) in addition to ensuring that all taxes on importation have been correctly paid.

Car Benefit tax: All commercial private companies not involved in transport business have to pay TZS 100,000 (US$88) per vehicle owned per annum.

Foreign Motor Vehicle Permit and Transit Charges: All non-commercial foreign motor vehicles temporally imported into Tanzania pay a fee of US$ 20 per vehicle for every 30 days stay in the country. Foreign commercial vehicles of up to three axles are charged in addition a transit charge of US$ 6 per 100 km covered.


Uganda has recently increased its import tariff on used commercial vehicles from 7% to 25%. Used Car dealers are claiming that this is killing the sector.

Muhamed Tariq Javaid, the Used Cars Importers Association chairman, and the managing director of Coin a car depot in Ntinda, recently told a press conference at his office, that since the tariff was effected on February 1, their sales had dropped by 40%


Malawi – RHD

Fiery sunlight glittering from Lake Nyasa gave the name “Malawi” – land of flaming waters – to an ancient Bantu empire. Present-day descendants revived the name when what had once been Nyasaland became independent in 1974 . Completely landlocked in southeast Africa, Malawi borders Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique.

Malawi imports a lot of used cars from Japan either directly but mostly via South Africa. Most of Jim Autos exported quality vehicles are reaching Malawi through South Africa.

This is good news for middle class Malawians but bad for the Motor Traders’ Association of Malawi whose pocketbook is affected directly because their overprized cars are no longer attractive. The Association is therefore making sounds about Malawi turning into a dumping ground for illegally imported second-hand car.

According to the association, its members’ investments and profitability are negatively affected by the situation.

The association has asked their government to “ban the importation of second-hand vehicles over five years old and to increase duties on imported second-hand vehicles more than three years old, and to increase duties over and above the laid down tariff rate by 25% for new vehicles that have not been imported by the official distributor of that make of vehicle”.  If their self-serving recommendation is accepted Thailand-made new vehicle sale will also be affected.

Despite Association’s protestation, prices for cars are high. Many foreigners import new vehicles from South Africa or directly from country of manufacture and drive or have them transported to post.

Vehicles shipped to Malawi are routed via the South African port of Durban, then driven or trucked to Malawi. Transit time from point of origin is usually 2-3 months.

Thailand made pickups and SUVs have a great potential market here. Many of the principal points in Malawi are connected by all-weather tarmac road, but other than travel to main cities a four-wheel-drive vehicle or one with good road clearance is recommended. Some dirt roads are impassable to all but high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles during the rainy season. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is also essential for weekend and holiday travel to game parks and lodges in Malawi and the region. Automatic or standard transmission vehicles are acceptable.

Depending on the vehicle value, size, and country of origin, customs duty rates payable for used cars average about 80% of the sales price.

West Africa

Burkina Faso

There are no local content regulations or import restrictions. Burkina Faso imposes a 76 percent tax on imported motor vehicles based on value.


There are no local content regulations or import restrictions. The import tariff on new and used motor vehicles is 41 percent C.I.F. value.

Ghana – LHD

Formed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the British Togoland trust territory, Ghana in 1957 became the first country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa.

As a former British colony, it was a Right Hand Drive country but switched to LHD to ease border crossings with its LHD neighbours. The 10 year old rule is in vogue here as well. An imported vehicle cannot be more than 10 years old on importation and must be LHD.

Ghana has no local content or export performance requirements. Ghana imposes several taxes on imported vehicles. In June of 1998, the government of Ghana banned the importation of vehicles more than 10 years old.

The purchase tax on passenger vehicles varies according to the engine size as follows:

  • Automobiles with engines under 1900 ccs are charged a 10 percent import duty and no sales tax
  • Automobiles between 1900 – 2500 cc are charged a 10 percent import duty and a 15 percent sales tax
  • Automobiles with engines exceeding 2500 ccs are charged a 10 percent plus a 15 percent sales tax. In addition they are assessed a 17.5 percent special tax

Ivory Coast

There are no local content regulations or import restrictions on new motor vehicles. Since 1997, the Ivorian Government has taken steps to liberalize the market for used vehicles.

North Africa


Algeria has a promising market for both commercial and personal use automobiles. The annual demand for new cars stands at approximately 65,000 to 80,000 units. The renewing ratio increased from 1.5% in 2000 to 2% in 2002. 84% of the existing car force is more than 10 years of age; only 6% is less than 5 years old. Algeria imports all vehicles with the exception of large trucks and buses that are manufactured domestically by the state owned company, SINV.

All cars imported for onward sale must be less than three years old. New car sales account for 35% of the market, while 65% of car sales are used. The car market has substantially evolved over the past 10 years, making a much wider variety of automobiles available. The current trend is likely to be more pronounced over the next several years as carmakers compete to control the market. There are, however, relatively few carmakers currently engaged in the market. Diesel powered motor vehicles are in high demand, however essence motors constitute the majority of the supply. Beginning in early 2003, the GOA began a program to implement strict and regular inspection standards for both commercial and personal use vehicles. In addition to cars, there is an extremely high demand for legitimate and affordable spare parts.

Custom duties: 15%

VAT: 17%


Import duties on passenger cars range from 30-160 percent, divided as follows:

– Cars with engines <= 1.0 liter displacement pay a 40 percent tariff

-Cars with engines between 1.0-1.3 liters displacement pay a 55 percent tariff

-Cars with an engine between 1.3-1.6 liters displacement pay a 100 percent tariff

-Cars with an engine between 1.6 – 2.0 liters displacement pay a 135 percent tariff

-Cars with an engine >= 2.0 liters pay a 135 percent tariff

In addition, a sales tax is also levied on motor vehicles by engine size as follows:

-Motor vehicles with engines up to 1.6 liters pay 10 percent

-Between 1.6 – 2.0 liters pay 20 percent

-Engines larger than 2.0 liters pay 45 percent.


There are no local content regulations or import restrictions. Import duties are levied on new automobiles as follows. There is a base duty of 45 percent levied on all automobiles. Added to the base duty are a 12.5 percent fiscal tax and a value added tax of 19 percent for vehicles with engines under 1800 cc’s and 30 percent over 1800 cc’s.


Imported vehicles must be less than 3 years old. All taxes and duties must be paid in convertible currency. Customs duties for motor vehicles are 17.5 percent. Also applied are a 0.25 percent para fiscal tax and a 15 percent PFI duty. In addition, there is a value added tax (VAT) on motor vehicles, of 19 percent.

The consumption tax progressively increases as the engine size increases. Engines smaller than 900 cc’s are assessed an 11-25 percent consumption tax, while engines larger than 2500 cc’s are assessed a 207-256 percent tax

Jim Motor’s other services to Africa

(1) We can freight genuine and quality third party parts and accessories to any part of Africa

(2) SKD’s: Semi Knocked Down’s. We can SKD new vehicles, including Buses, Land Cruisers and pickup trucks to your country’s SKD specifications.

Note: This page is still under construction, if you have relevant information, please don’t hesitate to drop in a line at [email protected]

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