How Much Does it Cost to Import a UK Car to Kenya?

Photo: By MHH International-A prestige car importer

By MHH International-A prestige car importer

One of the first steps to consider when importing a car from the UK to Kenya is clearly understanding the costs involved. This article will tell you about all of the costs which are necessary, how much you will pay for each element and some additional services which you may like to use. This will help you clearly understand the final cost of importing your dream car so you can plan your finances before you fall in love with that perfect car.

The Cost of the Car

The first thing to consider is the cost of the car. What many people don’t realise is that many dealers will discount their cars by a fraction and some dealer won’t discount at all. Some dealers will even add on a buyer’s fee which can be from £100 to £300 on top of the advertised price. These are typically the car supermarkets which won’t discount and will add the buying fees. Independent dealerships are more likely to give discounts, however this can be instead of the preparation work that the car needed. So you might think that you are getting £100 – £500 off. But then when you notice the car is sue a service, they will advise that they are not going to perform a service as they have given you a discount. So quite often the cost of the car is a true reflection of the price you will pay in the end.

VAT Qualifying Cars

Cars that are less than 3 or 4 years old might be vat qualifying of they have been owned by a business. This is the holy grail for export as it means that a 20% reduction in the advertised price can be achieved. However not all dealers are prepared to claim the VAT back for you as they are not set up to process the paperwork. At MHH we sell all cars net of VAT and process the reclaim as part of the service. This can reduce the number of cars available as the older the car we are looking at, the fewer VAT qualifying cars are on the market.

UK Transportation

On top of the cost of the car, you have the cost of UK transportation. That could range from £50 up to £500 depending on where the car is in the UK. If it’s in Northern Ireland it could cost £550 to collect the car. This is combination of insurance, trains, planes, people’s time and fuel to collect and return the car.

QISJ Inspection

Once the car has been collected, it will need to have a QISJ inspection for Kenya. This is approximately £145 +VAT. Again as a UK company we don’t charge the UK VAT to our customers, so you pay just the cost price of £145. But if you are paying an individual then it will cost you £174 and try to reclaim the VAT yourself.

Shipping to Mombasa

You can ship your car from the UK to Mombasa using the cheaper ‘roll on roll off’ service or in a container. The roll on roll off service is the most popular for cars under £40,000. You should expect to pay from £980 for an SUV and container shipping costs from £1,200 – £1,500 for a 20ft container. The container service incurs additional costs at the port in Kenya. This can cost between 20,000 – 30,000 Ksh. Container shipping is only really required for high value cars. We suggest that cars from £30,000 and above may consider a container but it’s not a necessity. One of the downsides of choosing a container service is that it’s much harder to nominate your CFS (Container Freight Services) and this can have an effect on whether you are familiar with the team receiving your car and know that your car is being looked after responsibly. The shipping time is about the same for each service.

Marine Insurance

The is a necessity for Kenyan car imports. The have to be insured whilst on the water. This has to be arranged with a Kenyan insurance company. The cost is typical 0.4% of the value of your car. For C&F business marine insurance is for you to arrange as the buyer.

Importing Agent Fees

Finally, you may want to choose an agent in the UK to help you buy and export your car. Many UK dealers are interested in helping overseas buyers purchase a car as it is too complex for them. So we select the best cars to suit your budget, assess the car for quality, negotiate on your behalf to get the best price, make sure everything is supplied correctly i.e. 2 keys, mats, spare tyre, locking wheel nut and manuals. We make sure the mileage is genuine, the car has been maintained and the car is supplied to a very high standard, manage the shipping booking and ensure it reaches the port in a timely manner. Finally we DHL all loose items and vital paperwork to our office in Nairobi or your clearing agent for safe keeping. This is included in the fees.

These fees can vary depending on your agent. You may find that a family member who is employed may charge very little, but then you will have to wait for the collection, inspection to happen around his schedule. You can even miss the opportunity to buy a car if your buyer can only view cars at the weekend and the car has sold. A professional importer such as MHH International who charge approximately 8% for the service.  Within that 8% we find your cars, negotiate the best price and act as an independent set of eyes appraising the car. Importantly we sell the car to you net of VAT. It is quite common for importers to require you to pay for the UK VAT when they buy the car and return the VAT to you when it has been reclaimed. With MHH International you will not need to pay us for the UK VAT. We cover that cost for you.

These are all the costs you need to take into account for your car to reach Mombasa, commonly known as a C&F service. Be aware that some UK dealers claim to operate an export service, but as it is not their core business, you may find your export is delayed and not managed as professionally as you would expect. As a professional importer it is our priority that all cars are exported to a high professional standard.

Costs to have a car cleared into Kenya

Port charges: As your car arrives you will have port charges which are between 60,000 – 80,000 Ksh depending on the size of your vehicle. This includes IDF fees, radiation fees and 14 to 27 days free storage within the CFS.

Clearing agent: You will need a clearing agent to complete the IDF entry for your car which normally costs 10,000-30,000 Ksh. We provide a clearing and registration service for many clients which is 8% of your vehicle cost. This can be reduced for clients who can pay greater proportion of the car’s costs up front.

Excise, Import Duty, VAT & Levies

Duties in Kenya for used cars are calculated using the CRSP table supplied by the KRA. There are at least two website which help you to accurately calculate the duty, taxes and levies for your car. We recommend looking at these two sites;

Registration Fees

Registration will cost between 15,000 – 23,000 Ksh to register your car. This is done by your clearing agent. If you have a special number plate the cost to have this transferred is 30,000 Ksh. It can sometimes delay the time it takes to register your vehicle.

Now your car is cleared you are now able to collect your car from the CFS.

Costs for cars being delivered to Nairobi

If you are having your car delivered to Nairobi then there are a few costs involved.

Transport to Nairobi

Transporting your car to Nairobi can cost between 20,000 – 25,000 Ksh for a multi car carrier or up to 60,000 Ksh for a single car carrier. Of course the cost can be kept low by having someone drive it for you. But obviously the risk of allowing an individual can be extremely high, so we urge you to be very careful.

Preparation Before Receiving Your Car

We believe that our clients want to receive the new car in great condition. Having been on a long journey, it is in need of a freshen up. So we valet the car for you. Sometimes a car might have had a small scratch during its journey which we also repair before you receive it.  And finally we give the car a minor service to make sure that it is in good order afterall it hasn’t been driven for over 6 weeks. These extra touches are not normal for an importer. But we know that going the extra mile for our clients makes all the difference.

3 Month Warranty

We provide an automatic 3 month warranty for all the cars we have cleared (unless the client has asked us not to).

Asset Finance Cars.

Cars bought with asset finance are required by the banks to have a tracker fitted. This costs between 50,000 – 75,000 Ksh and is included in your quote automatically.

You will appreciate that importing your car is very involved. For those who are willing to do it themselves to save the money we hope this gives a comprehensive guide on what to expect. Employing a professional importer to take care of the tasks makes life much simpler and is easily worth the investment for the peace of mind it gives you. The hardest part is choosing which car to buy. . . but we can help you with that too. Just contact the team to find out more about how we can help to import your next car.


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