Buying a car online: What you need to consider first

It is important to know the type of fuel that your dream car uses before buying one.   PHOTo/Promise Twinamukye

What you need to know:

But should you buy a car online? Is the process too complicated for some potential clients? There are, however, technical concerns that an online car buyer should consider before clicking on the order button for a given vehicle

Consumers are becoming more comfortable with buying a variety of things online, including cars. This is attributed to the convenience and time-efficient it presents.

But should you buy a car online? Is the process too complicated for some potential clients? There are, however, technical concerns that an online car buyer should consider before clicking on the order button for a given vehicle.

During the launch of Kabugizi Motors, a company dealing in online car importation in Kampala, Mr Paul Kaganzi, an automotive mechanic, said it is very important to approach the decision of buying a car carefully especially online.

The first and most important factor to consider according to Mr Kaganzi is to know the purpose of the vehicle you are buying.

He said the main classification are small cars, sport utility vehicles (SUV), mini-buses, and pick-up trucks. So what is the purpose of the vehicle you are buying? Are you going to move luggage where you need more cargo space, is the vehicle going to be your business, is it to be for passengers, are you a young family that will be taking kids to school?

“When a dealer presents a vehicle to you, those are some of the major factors to consider, especially when buying a car online,” he said.

Engine size is another crucial factor that should not be ignored because it affects your budget and most buyers are looking for a good deal.

Engine size

A buyer should think about how much they are going to spend while operating a given car, and know the size of the car because different cars have different sizes, for instance, if you are buying a car for purpose of commuting from home to the office,  you will be concerned about fuel consumption because most of the time you are in the traffic jam.

“Engine size has an impact on your economy because of the fuel consumption and maintenance. The smaller the engine, the better your fuel economy and maintenance cost,” Mr Kaganzi said.

If you are looking for a car, especially for upcountry trips, you will not go with a smaller engine because you need more power on the road, especially when you are overspeeding and overtaking.

It is important to know the type of fuel that your dream car uses alongside the size of the engine.

“One should be able to decide whether they are going for a petrol engine or diesel. Why should I not go for a diesel, diesel engines are good for towing, and carrying cargo, if you are buying a small car, go for petrol because it is easier to maintain,” he added.

Safety is a big concern that a car buyer should not compromise. “Today, we have safety technology and advancement in cars. Traditionally, we only had seat belts but currently, we have airbags, ask your dealer how safe is it. Does it have airbags, does it have twin airbags?” he added

“All in all, you must engage the dealer with an idea of a car you want to buy,”

Mr Benedict Buhangizi, the  Chief Executive Officer of  Kabugizi Motors, said professional online car importers always advise their customers on which cars to buy depending on their needs.

He said due to the revised car importation policy by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), most cars that are required to be imported to Uganda now are of 2007/8 year of manufacture.

“Under the new policy, URA considers the year of manufacture of car imports to be 2007/8. This is because of the world’s environmental concerns. They need to reduce the carbon emissions from these cars,” he said. 

Cars that are imported are required to be inspected by UNBS. 

He added that there has been so much need for car importation online because importers who have bonds are constrained because of paying many taxes.

Before getting customers, a dealer keeps the car in the bond as they look for buyers and during this time, they are incurring more costs.

Recently URA directed that all vehicles manufactured from 2007/8, should be cleared at the point of importation or at the port.

With the coming of the single customs territory, according to URA, members of East African Community stopped looking at each other as independent states but as business partners.

“If someone imports a car and brings it to the port the requirement to pay at the port is for the used motor vehicles from 2007/2008 but other used vehicles that are a little lower than that, can be allowed to come in the country and put in a warehouse for a period, not more than six months,” an official from URA who didn’t want to be quoted said.

Car importation process

According to Mr Buhangizi, the process starts with the client’s need, selection then they (dealers) contact the partners abroad.

Based on the client’s needs, we assess and give advice and consultancy. We select the car, and organise for you the payment process, upon confirming the payment which is a minimum 40 percent, we work on the shipments which come with the bill of landing, and customer details. Upon getting your consignee details, we notify the other party in charge of shipping the car to the port,” he said.

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