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Do we really know what a new car looks like?

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This is how an engine of a brand new Toyota Hilux pick-up looks like. It starts and sounds well and is very neat inside. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA 

By Christine Katende

Posted  Thursday, May 1   2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Many Ugandans cannot afford brand new cars so they buy used ones. Strange as it may sound, some people actually forget that the cars are old and refer to them as new. Marketing promoters also take advantage of people’s ignorance and often advertise used cars as brand new vehicles. When we asked some Ugandans what a new car looks like, answers were varied. Christine Katende talked to some people and below are their views.

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THE BACKGROUND
In the 1970s and 1980s, people would buy brand new cars thanks to companies such as Afro Motors, Wavah Holdings, Walusimbi’s Garage and Spear Motors, among others. Later, especially in the 1990s, a market for used vehicles emerged. Although more brand new vehicle dealers have since joined the market, used vehicle dealers have far outstripped those dealing in new vehicles.

As a policy, government and some non-governmental organisations are supposed to buy brand new vehicles. Brand new vehicles are more reliable than used ones because they have a warranty. Should anything happen to them when the warranty is still on, owners are compensated. New vehicles are supposed to be serviced from their parent dealer’s workshops.

Unfortunately, this policy is not strictly followed and it is no longer news to see a government vehicle in a “questionable” or dingy garage. Used vehicles have no warranty because they are no longer new and some have exchanged various owners. Some used cars are well maintained to the extent that some Ugandans think they are new. Used cars are by far quite affordable and this explains why business is booming. Currently, there is no law limiting the age of used vehicles and as such, some very old vehicles are imported.

“To me, a new car is one with all the original parts intact and in good condition. It should be able to reach faraway places like Gulu, Kotido among others. On top of that, a new car should have a new number plate. It is hard to get an old car with a fresh plate. It is only those that have just been brought to the country,”
Brian Nsereko, builder

“I describe a new car basing on the make and its appearance. New cars are those that are driven by celebrities and high profile people like ministers and ambassadors, among others. A new car cannot be owned by just anyone because they are not affordable,”
Cathie Jjumaba, marketer

“To me, a new car is one that has just been imported in the country because we do not manufacture cars in Uganda. However, it should be in a good condition that enables it move to faraway places like Masaka, Mbarara among others,”
Charles Lwanga Busulwa,
school director

“A new car is that one with a new number plate with a good appearance. It has to be attractive with a nice interior. Normally, new cars have automatic systems and are owned or driven by rich people,”
Faridah Nabaseruka, Researcher

“To me, a new car is fast, it is comfortable and it does not make weird sounds. It is fuel efficient and it is powerful. A new car is one that can manage Uganda’s bad roads,”
Robert Lubega, manicurist

“ A new car is one that has never moved or been used by anyone, it should be in a good condition with a good and strong engine. A new car should have zero mileage,”
Isaac Kibuuka, graphics designer

“Many Ugandans confuse new cars for those with new number plates and may be the nice colour a car has. But the fact is that, a new car is that one with zero mileage. It is a brand new machine from the factory and has never been used by anyone,”
Mariam Namala, cosmetologist

“ I take a new car to be that with a new or current number plate and a good appearance. It should have a good engine that does not produce bad sound when driving. It should also be faster compared to old ones,”
Mary Nakato, businesswoman

“ A new car is described by its interior, model, appearance, name and the number plate like UAU. It should also be fast and new in the country. New cars are expensive, they are not easy to acquire by anyone, apart from the rich people,”
Simon Cephas Ediau, KK security officer

“ It should be right from the factory with zero mileage. It is unfortunate that people here mistake new cars with those with new number plates or those that have just been got from the local bonds yet they are not. It is because they have already been driven or owned before,”
Swamadu Kabagambe, driver

“To me, a number plate is none of the qualities that describe a new car. A new car is one that is got from Toyota Uganda or Spear Motors. Those from the bonds are not new though they are sprayed and given new plates to make us think that they are new ,”
Mathias Kamya, boda boda rider

“ A car, is new depending on the model like 2013 or 2014. It should be new from the factory and new on the market. A new car is fast, strong and is able to handle Ugandan roads and can be driven in all conditions, including bad weather,”
Rogers Mpaata Otaku, actor