Buying a Car in Uganda

New 4x4 Landcruiser Jeep
Brand new landcruiser

The process of buying a car in Uganda can be understood differently by each individual and there is no definite way to define it. What you know as the right thing to do might not necessarily mean the right thing to someone else. We bring you the different aspects involved based on how you would like to proceed with owning your car. We can classify this in two aspects that is; buying a brand new car and buying a used car – this can be second hand, third hand or whatever hand you might want to find it fitting for you.

Buying a Brand New Car in Uganda:

By a brand new car here I mean a car that has never been driven by anyone, it should be on 00 mileage and as we can commonly say straight from the factory. We do have showrooms for Toyota Uganda, Nissan Motors, and Spear Motors. You can go at any of their locations, identify a vehicle you are interested in and they will give you a quote. Normally it involves a process of bargaining for a favorable rate although the vehicles on display normally have a price attached to them.

Once you have identified the cost of the vehicle, you speak to any of the sales representative for a fee that you would require to pay as taxes for that particular vehicle. They will give you a total fee and then you are also advised on the cost of the number plate. Alternatively, you are given a lamp some fee that includes all costs involved with the vehicle and you are only handed a key and logbook of your vehicle once payment has been made in full. Toyota Uganda for instance gives you a 3 year warranty or a warranty of up to 100,000KM.

This is the most ideal thing to do however, note that brand new vehicles carry an expensive price tag hence, most Ugandans have resorted to purchasing used vehicles.


Buying a Used Car in Uganda:

This is the bestselling venture process used by most Ugandans to acquire a vehicle to drive. This involves a number of processes used by different people which are explained as follows;

Buying from the car Owner:

This would basically involve a direct negotiation between the one purchasing the car and the car owner. The car owner might be a friend or someone who mentioned to somebody that they are willing to cash in on their vehicle. Sometimes it might involve middle men who would also want a cut for connecting the buyer and seller of the vehicle. In order to conduct this kind of business, be sure to check with Uganda Revenue Authority the authenticity of the logbook that is whether the vehicle is registered in the names of the one selling, check with Kampala Capital City Authority, whether the vehicle has any pending parking tickets and most importantly, check with the Uganda Police whether they are any traffic related tickets owed by the vehicle. After all these checks have been made, then you can go ahead and continue with the process of negotiating for the value of the vehicle.

Buying from Registered bonded warehouses:

These bonded warehouses normally import cars from mostly Japan and United Arab Emirates. All the vehicles in the bonded warehouses are either second hand from outside Uganda or vehicles brought to be resold by previous owners in Uganda. It is possible to take your car to the bond, negotiate for another car that you want and exchange with the one you have, then top up a fee that is agreed upon by both parties to get another one. Normally, they would give you an all-inclusive price of the car and you walk away with your car keys in the pocket then given some time for your vehicle log book to be processed.

Buying a car from Japan or United Arab Emirates:

Some people have resorted to this kind of way in order to save a shilling that would otherwise have been made as a commission by the car dealers. This process involves going to a website, the most commonly used include Be Forward and SBT Japan. Find the type of car that you would want to acquire, make an inquiry and negotiate on the price to be paid for its shipment to Mombasa or Dar es Salaam, then make an online payment through the bank. After paying in the bank, they require you send a scanned copy of the payment slip and they start on the process of preparing for the car to be shipped out. Once all is done, they will give you an estimate of when to expect it at your preferred port. Once the car gets to the port, you can either find a clearing agent or Be Forward can do this service of clearing the car and getting it too you in Kampala. Once the vehicle gets to Kampala, you would have to be advised on the amount of money to pay in taxes as well as vehicle registration. Once payment has been made in URA, you would be advised to pick up your number plates then you are good to go on the road. Note that, you would require the services of a clearing agent for this process to move smoothly.


What to Consider when Buying a Used Car in Uganda:

Note that when buying a used car from outside Uganda, you are not able to know the condition of the car bar what you are shown in the pictures so, you go for it while knowing.

When buying a car in Uganda, be sure to make a market survey to know the prevailing market prices of that particular vehicle you want to purchase.

If you happen to purchase a vehicle from someone or from the bonded warehouse, be sure to go with your trusted mechanic who will check the vehicle for mechanical issues and advise accordingly on what needs to be done on the vehicle before purchasing it.

You MUST have a TIN number in order to have ownership of the car as this is a requirement need to be put on your vehicle logbook.

When buying a car especially from someone, it is highly advisable that you make the transaction in the bank and in the presence of witnesses to reduce the chances of being conned.