Japanese Import Cars | Import Cars to Kenya | Car Importers in Kenya | Best Cars in Kenya

Would you like to import Japanese cars to Kenya? Are you looking for the car import process to Kenya?

Many people toy with the idea of importing their cars directly but quickly abandon the idea because they don’t know where to start.

Importing cars sounds mysterious, complicated, risky, and involves a lot of paperwork, especially when you try to do it alone. 

As such, most people turn to middlemen, who, by the way, also import cars from Japan to Kenya.

This option feels more convenient as you simply walk in, select a car, pay for it and drive off.

Unfortunately, intermediaries charge exorbitant prices for their vehicles due to showrooms expenses like lighting, security, and daily car maintenance. 

This means that the amount you’ll pay will be way more than the total cost of importing a car from Japan to Kenya.

Key Benefits of Importing Your cars with Bestcarsforsaleinkenya.co.ke

+ Up to 20% cheaper than buying from a yard.

+ Get a clear car with undoctored mileage.

+ Escape hassles of dealing with car brokers.

+ Get the absolute latest number plates.

+ Import any car you want, including the latest models

+ Genuine, low mileage car (as low as 5,000 kms).

+ Choose from a huge variety of cars for sale in Japan.

+ Easy to get a car that matches all your requirements.

+ Guarantee that the car is accident free

+ Pay in instalments clearing when the car arrives in Kenya.

+ We handle the importation process for you

+ We handle all KRA clearance for you.

+ Get a free, 3 month insurance cover.

Contact Us and Save Over 20%

– Importing Your Car is Over 20% Cheaper Compared
to Buying from a Yard

Demerits of Importing
– You have to wait for your new car to be shipped



Japanese Used Cars for Sale in Kenya by Owners

Further, what you see is what you get. Your choice and vehicle features are limited to what the yard is offering.

For the money you’re spending, you would probably get more features had you chosen to import.

So, today, we will demystify the importation process. It’s a relatively smooth process if you work with reputable car importers in Kenya like BestCarsforSaleinKenya.co.ke.

Note that not all car sellers in Kenya offer the importation service because most want to add their mark-up by selling cars from their showrooms. 

1. Familiarize Yourself with Regulations for Importing a Car in Kenya

Knowing what the law says concerning car imports will save you a lot of headaches later on.

At BestCarsforSaleinKenya.co.ke, we know all these regulations and ensure the vehicle you import with us meets every one of these laws. 

We understand that all cars coming into the country must comply with Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) requirements which state in part that:

  • The car should be at most 8-year from the day it was first registered – 8-year and below.
  • The vehicle should pass the KEBS roadworthiness inspection by the agent in the country of origin.
  • The car must be ready to drive on Kenyan road, which means a Right-Hand-Drive unless it is a special-purpose model like a Fire Tender or an Ambulance.

The requirements apply to everyone bringing a car into the country – whether you’re returning from abroad or importing a vehicle.

2. Vehicle Identification

We’ll specifically look at how we identify and import Japanese vehicles to Kenya for our individual and organization clients.

Kenya receives approximately 90,000 Japanese imports every year, making Japan a key source market for used cars.

There are two ways we go about this – direct purchase or auction.

Direct Purchase

We can opt to get your vehicle from reputable Japanese dealerships and individuals selling vehicles every day.

The first thing we to do is to visit a Japanese car website and identify a car that meets your specifications.

Next, we request an invoice for the car and provide our contact details for further communication.

Since we’re importing your car, we state everything you have told us so they can give us a comprehensive quote.

If the price is satisfactory and the car meets all your needs, we go ahead and let them know and initiate the payment process.

We try to respond to the quote fast to ensure the vehicle isn’t sold to someone else.

Most dealerships prefer the wire transfer payment method, although some companies are open to PayPal payments.

Once the transfer is complete, we forward the proof of payment (receipt) to the seller. In turn, the seller will acknowledge receipt of the money and commence the shipping process.

We then receive your vehicle at the port (Mombasa) and bring it to your doorstep or agreed location. 


We prefer the auction method to the direct purchase because of various reasons, as you will learn here.

First, numerous Japanese auction sites offer budget-friendly Japanese import cars in pristine conditions. 

Second, if the vehicle has any defects, we easily find this information on the auction sheet, which is not the case with the direct purchase. 

Third, auctions are held from Monday to Saturday during working hours, and we find a wide range of vehicles to choose from.

Fourth, we only buy your car from well-known auction locations as they guarantee high-quality cars and services.

Fifth, we always work with an auction consultant in Japan to help us identify a car that meets your needs, thereby hastening the process.

Six, the auction house inspects every vehicle on its site and provides a detailed auction sheet that outlines the car’s condition.

Some of the information we find on an auction sheet (which we provide you) includes:

  • Car maake
  • Car model
  • Year of First Registration
  • Vehicle Grade
  • Number of Doors
  • Seating Capacity
  • Engine Displacement (cc)
  • Chassis Number
  • Mileage
  • Fuel Type
  • Color
  • Accessories

The auction sheet also provides the car’s condition, such as changed parts, paint chips, scratches, dents, or rust.

While some damages are easily repairable, it’s up to you to decide what damages are deal-breakers and which ones are not.

If you’re unwilling to accept the car’s present conditions, you can always tell us look for another vehicle within site.

Once we find a car that’s appealing to you, we then bid for the vehicle by paying a deposit via wire transfer.

If your bid wins, then we send the balance along with any other relevant fees.

If you lose the bid, then the deposit amount is refunded or allocated to another car if you so wish. Then the bidding process starts again.

3. Vehicle Inspection

Once the purchase process is complete, we take your car to a KEBS-Approved inspectIon center for a mandatory inspection.

The inspector verifies the vehicle’s documents, ensures that the car meets KEBS requirements (mentioned above), and conducts physical checks on the vehicle.

Some of the things they look for include:

  • External inspection
  • Internal inspection
  • Odometer integrity check
  • Radioactive contamination
  • Electrical wiring, lighting system, and equipment inspection

If everything is in order, the inspector issues an inspection certificate. This certificate will be required for clearance at the port of Mombasa.

What Happens if Your Car Fails the KEBS Inspection?

If the car fails the inspection, the inspector will advise us accordingly. If the problem can be sorted out, they will recommend repairs be undertaken at a garage.

If the problem is that the car can’t be exported to Kenya, you’ll have to purchase another vehicle.

This is why we recommend working with reputable car importers like BestCarsforSaleinKenya.co.ke because we only bid for good quality cars that passes the inspection. 

It will save you time, money, and other frustrations.

4. Shipping

Cars can be shipped in a container or on a RoRo service. That depends on the amount you are willing to spend. The shipping costs will typically be included in the purchase price.

Containers are expensive but guarantee that the vehicle will arrive at the port in good condition.

A RoRo (roll-on roll-off) is a purpose-built vessel specially designed to ferry vehicles on an open platform. It looks like a floating car park.

This transportation method is relatively safe and guarantees timely departure and arrival dates.

Speaking of dates, it takes roughly 30 – 40 days to import Japanese cars to the country.

We ensure we provide the exact location where your car should be de delivered to minimize the risk of loss or theft.

You can even opt to pick your car at our yard.

Roll-On Roll-Off Cars for Sale in Kenya Shipping Process
Import Cars from Japan - Roll-On Roll-Off Shipping Process

5. Clearance and Importation Fees

Once your car reaches the port of Mombasa, it’s offloaded and driven to a container freight station. It will stay here until the clearance process is complete.

Unfortunately, you can’t handle the clearance process yourself – you will need to seek the services of a KRA-approved clearing agent. 

This is because these agents have been empowered by KRA and have access to the KRA portal to facilitate the clearance of motor vehicles.

Moreover, they have extensive knowledge and expertise in car imports and will provide all assistance you need.

Lucky for us at BestCarsforSaleinKenya.co.ke, we already have an agent for that, guaranteeing a fast clearance.

Documents needed for clearance include:

  • The Original Commercial Invoice
  • The Original Logbook (canceled) from the country of origin. This book is required by the NTSA (National Transport and Safety Authority) to issue you an Original Kenyan Logbook
  • Pre-shipment inspection certificate. Also known as a certificate of roadworthiness.
  • Original Bill of Lading issued by the carrier to acknowledge receipt of the cargo (your car) for shipment
  • Copy of your PIN certificate or Copy of Certificate of Incorporation if the vehicle belongs to a company

The agent will generate an entry sheet from the KRA portal that shows all taxes payable to KRA.

You can always verify this information using the online car import duty calculator from Kenya Revenue Authority.

These taxes include:

  • Import Declaration Fee
  • Import duty fee
  • Value Added Tax (VAT)
  • Railway Development Levy
  • Excise Duty

Factors that Affect Import Fees

Several factors have a direct impact on import fees.

  • Age: Newer models attract a higher import duty as they are more expensive. A consumer buying a 2021 model will pay more than the one bringing in an older model.
  • Make: Cars with higher resale values fetch lower fees than those with lower resale values. Now you know why Toyotas are more common and rank top among cheap cars in Kenya.
  • Carbon Emissions: Countries are required to pay fees based on their carbon footprints. As such, vehicles with higher emissions (fuel guzzlers) pay more fees.

Clearance and forwarding fees are negotiable but mostly range 15,000/- to 30,000/-. Other costs that you may incur include:

  • Cost of insurance depending on your Insurance
  • Cost of fuel to your final destination.
  • Minor car service to give your car a clean bill of health before being delivered/handed over to you.

Give or take, the process takes around ten working days to complete, but there are instances where it may take longer.

Delays can be occasioned by downtimes on the online systems and shortages of physical registration plates, among other things.

This leads us to the last step in the importation process.

6. Vehicle Registration

This final step requires you to create an account with the NTSA. It’s a relatively simple process that takes minutes to complete and we can help you create one.

Once you’re done, the clearing agent will access your account and apply for registration.

On successful registration, the car details and a new number plate will reflect on your account.

The clearing agent will collect the physical plates, fix them on your car, and you are good to go.

Importation Proces: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions we receive from customers who want to import Japanese cars.

1. How Much Does it Cost to Import a Car From Japan to Kenya?

The cost of importing cars to Kenya is based on the vehicle’s month/year of registration, the Current Retail Selling Price (CRSP), and taxes due.

You can access the online KRA import duty calculator for a precise estimate on how much your preferred car will cost.

2. What Does Current Retail Selling Price Mean?

The Current Retail Selling Price (CRSP) is the predetermined vehicle price set by the Kenya Motor Industry Association and KRA.

It determines the value of an imported vehicle based on how much a brand new car of the same make/model is going for.

3.How Long Does it Take to Import a Car from Japan to Kenya?

The entire process from identification to the moment you walk away with your car may take 57 – 60 days.

The duration may be affected by several factors, including delayed shipping, clearance by KRA, or a shortage of physical number plates from NTSA.

4. Why are Japanese Import Cars So Cheap?

One of the critical reasons Japanese Import Cars are cheaper is that they are sold and bought in bulk.

Since the sellers handle huge volumes, they can afford to keep their margins low, giving their buyers great prices.

On the other hand, bulk buyers can negotiate better shipping and storage rates, keeping the total costs low.

5. Is It Hard to Import a Car From Japan?

It’s not hard to import a car from Japan. The process may take a longer time than buying one already in the country, but the overall cost will be cheaper.

We recommend working with a reliable car dealer to make the process even smoother.

6. Is Importing a Car From Japan Cheaper Than Buying From a Yard?

Yes, importing a car is cheaper than buying a car from a yard or showroom. This is because cars in yards and showrooms require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition.

These maintenance costs and the dealer’s overhead expenses (lighting, security, etc.) are factored in the final figure, making the cars more expensive.

7. Can You Finance an Imported Car?

Traditionally, hire purchase terms for cars in Kenya were only for vehicles already in the country.

That has since changed, with several banks now offering up to 80% financing for car imports.

They even include import duty, port charges, clearing agent fees, insurance, and other fees in their taxes in their quotes.

8. How Old Should a Car Be to Import to Kenya?

The Kenya Bureau of Standards requires that all car imports be less than eight years old from the year of the first registration.

KEBS-approved inspectors from the vehicle’s country of origin ensure that vehicles comply with this regulation before giving them the green light for shipping.

9. What Are the Best Japanese Car Brands?

Japan is responsible for some of the best and most reliable vehicles in the world. Their best car brands include Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Isuzu, Suzuki, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Daihatsu.

Japanese luxury brands take Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, Toyota Century, and Toyota Crown.

10. What's the Cheapest Car in Japan?

There are many budget-friendly Japanese Imports Cars for Sale. Some of the cheapest cars include Honda Fit, Honda Accord Type R, Toyota Yaris, and Nissan Versa.

We recommend visiting a reputable car importer for more information on cheap cars in Kenya.

Import Your Car with BestCarsforSaleinKenya.co.ke

That is the car importation process for Kenyan buyers. At a glance, the process feels lengthy, but it turns out cheaper for buyers who are willing to wait a while.

Working with a reputable car dealer makes the task even more manageable as they know exactly what to do at every stage.

Talk to our team at +254-728-308-043 if you would like to import Japanese cars to Kenya.

We’re on hand to answer any questions you may have and handle vehicle importation on your behalf.