Dealers rush to import cars as govt sets deadline for 2016 vehicles

Commercial car dealers and individuals rush to beat the December 31 deadline for 2016 manufactured units as the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) issues guidelines under the eight-year rule that locks out older cars from being shipped into the country.

Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) said while importers are rushing to beat the eight-year rule, which has traditionally driven up numbers as the year closes, a shortage of dollars has affected imports in the last three months this year.

“We have many importers bringing more cars this month of December to comply with the eight-year-rule but numbers of imports are not as many as previous years due to inflation and shortage of dollars” said CIAK chairman Peter Otieno.

He added, “We are rushing against time so that traders with 2016 registered vehicles are not locked out leading to losses of millions of shillings.”

The eight-year rule once caught up with importers in 2014 when more than 2,000 used motor vehicles registered beyond 8 years were barred from entering the country.

This week, KEBS indicated that from January 1, 2024, only second-hand vehicles which were registered from January 1, 2017, will be allowed into the country.

The standard check agency said the guidelines were in line with the eight-year age limit that was imposed on the importation of used vehicles.

“We wish to notify all importers of used/second-hand motor vehicles, including returning residents, diplomatic staff and the general public, that in observance of clause 2.5 of KS 1515:2000 on the eight (8) year age limit requirement, only Right Hand Drive (RHD) motor vehicles whose Year of First Registration is from January 1, 2017 and later shall be allowed into the country effective 1st January 2024.

“Vehicles exported to Kenya shall be expected to comply with KS 1515:2000- Kenya Code of Practice for Inspection of Road Vehicles while vehicles from countries where KEBS has an inspection agency (i.e. Japan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Thailand, Singapore, and South Africa) shall be accompanied with a Certificate of Roadworthiness (COR) issued by Quality Inspection Services Inc. Japan (QISJ) which is an inspection company contracted by KEBS,” read the notice in part.

The rules will aso affect returning residents, diplomatic staff and the general public state that beginning January 1, 2024, only right-hand drive vehicles will be allowed into the country.

The eight-year age limit on used vehicles was introduced to safeguard against the dumping of second-hand vehicles into the country.

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