Tips on importing used cars from Japan to Zambia

Sara Drawwater
4 February 2013
In Zambia today, the number of people buying cars has increased dramatically. A car is no longer seen as a luxury but a necessity. One of the fastest growing car trends in Zambia is the efficient and…

In Zambia today, the number of people buying cars has increased dramatically. A car is no longer seen as a luxury but a necessity. One of the fastest growing car trends in Zambia is the efficient and convenient online purchase of used cars from Japanese companies. Japan is renowned for good quality second hand cars at affordable prices.

QualityOne of the most important advantages of buying a car from Japan is quality assurance. Japan has a strict ‘condition examination’ system called “Shaken”. All vehicles being driven in Japan have to pass this Shaken inspection every two to three years. If inspectors find that any part of the vehicle is not working properly, the examination will be declared as ‘failed’. Vehicles that fail Shaken must be repaired and then inspected again. As well as keeping vehicles in tip top condition, this system ensures that Japanese users drive their vehicles with great care and pay attention to regular maintenance. Replacing engine oil and other consumable items without delay is standard practice. As a result of this culture, most Japanese used cars are in superb condition.

ConvenienceWith more than ten major Japanese websites that supply vehicles to Zambia at the click of a button, shopping for cars online has become much more convenient. These websites offer a variety of models at different prices, allowing anybody with internet access the opportunity to choose their dream car from the comfort of their home or office.

Purchasing costsThe first step is to choose a car online and request for an invoice that includes freight (delivery) charges. The breakdown of the total cost of the invoice should be as follows:

  • Car cost (Free On Board)
  • Freight charge up to Dar es Salaam
  • Freight insurance
  • JEVIC inspection fee

JEVIC is an inspection required by the Zambian Government for all vehicles imported from overseas. Vehicle should successfully pass this inspection in Japan before shipment. Additional expenses that will be incurred are port facility charges at Dar es Salaam and transportation costs from the port to Zambia. These costs may vary depending on vehicle size, so it is necessary to ask clearing agents about the specific cost for each imported vehicle. Transit time or delivery time from Japan to Dar es Salaam is about one month, and from Dar es Salaam to Zambia is about two weeks.

Important tips for a safe purchaseDespite the advantages, there is always a danger of fraudulent companies that ship cars in a bad condition, or even a completely different vehicle from what was actually ordered. In the worst case scenario, some cars have been known not to arrive at all. Whilst nothing can absolutely guarantee a safe purchase, there are things you can do to minimise the risk:

1. The payment beneficiary account should be a bank account based in JapanThe beneficiary account of a website offering Japanese cars should be a Japanese account. The most common Japanese banks are Bank of Tokyo — Mitsubishi UFJ, Mitsui Sumitomo Bank and Mizuho Bank. Using these well known bank accounts minimises the risks.

2. Be suspicious of really cheap carsWhile comparing different websites, you may come across some offering extraordinarily cheap vehicles. In that case, it is very important to compare the total cost of the car including the expenses mentioned above. The total landing cost of an attractively cheap car may not be so appealing after all calculations have been made. Another reason to be wary of extremely cheap cars is that some exporters try to hide the bad condition of a car by selling it cheap. It is important to check the listed photos carefully. Take note of aspects that may not have been covered by the pictures.

3. Phone the exporterWhen dealing with a car company from Japan for the first time, it is important tocommunicate with the sales person of that company by phone. If your intention topurchase a car has been expressed through an email and a call, the sales staff will definitely contact you back. One round of communication should be able to give you an intuitive idea of whether or not you can trust that company.

cardealpage.comOne of the major websites offering Japanese used vehicles to the Zambian market is CardealPage. This company offers a variety of cars that include trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles at a reasonable price. is currently developing a promotional offer especially for clients based in Zambia. To find out about this offer, email

Sales consultants at have more than eight years experience in selling vehicles via the their website. These professional sales consultants guarantee a prompt response to all enquiries. There is also a useful FAQ section from website.

With thanks to Mr Hideharu Osari, President of CardealPage Co Ltd of Japan, for the content of this blog post. CardealPage Co Ltd operates the website