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Andrew Mwaura

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One of the most common questions that potential customers ask me is how the duty and related taxes of an imported car is arrived at.

First, the year of manufacture of the vehicle you intend to import plays a major part in determining the duty. Another major influence is “The first date of registration” We will however get to that a little bit later.


The duty payable on the importation of a motor vehicle is arrived at as follows according to KRA’s FAQ Q3 
􀂃 Import Duty: 25% of the CIF value of the vehicle
􀂃 Excise Duty: 20% of the (CIF value + Import Duty)
􀂃 VAT: 16% of the (CIF value + Import Duty + Excise Duty)
􀂃 IDF: 2.25% of the CIF value or Ksh. 5,000, whichever is higher, is payable.
CIF – This is the customs value of the vehicle i.e. the Cost, Insurance & Freight paid for the vehicle. The CIF value of the vehicle is also deduced from the Current Retail Selling Price (CRSP) of the vehicle
However, the KRA uses the CRSP rather than the CIF of a vehicle. For example if two of us import year 2008 BMW 318i with similar dates of first registration but different CIF, we pay the same duty.
This link  leads you to an MS Excel sheet with the current CRSP list as given by the KRA. It has most common vehicle models imported into Kenya
This link gives you a duty calculator that does the donkey work for you. All you do is insert figures where appropriate. On Cell C15 of this calculator, labelled “depreciation” you insert the cost depreciation rate. For example, if the car is brand new, it has nil depreciation. A one year old car has a depreciation rate of 10%, 2 years old 20%, 3 has 30%, 4 has 40%, 5 has 50%, 6 has 60% while a 7 year old car has rate of 70%.
This is where the first date of registration plays part. For example, if one import’s a car manufactured in year 2003 first registered in the month of February, which make it 7 years old as at the date of this post and therefore 70% rate applies. If another person imports a similar unit, manufactured in 2003, first registered in December and it lands in Mombasa before December 2010, it’s considered as a 6 year old car and therefore 60% rate applies which in turn increases the duty considerably.
You will also notice cell D11 and D12 labelled CC. You insert the engine capacities are guided. The CC plays a part too. For example, Toyota Corolla NZE model, 1300cc, 1500cc, 1600cc, 1800cc and 2200cc diesel.  However, the cost of the each of these models varies in the CRSP and therefore the engine capacity plays a small part.
Case study
Whenever I come across customers, I put all these considerations in place when identifying and giving quotations on any unit. For instance, early this month, a lady called Joan, called me and explained she had a budget of KES 900k and wanted to bring in a  2000cc Nissan Xtrail. I gave her my estimates for a 2003 unit registered between January and July of the same year. My quotation hit KES 1.2M with a CIF of US$9500 and she asked me how I had arrived at that figures while she had identified a number of units with CIF of US$8500 and US$7000 in one of the Japanese companies websites advertised in the Kenyan dailies. I asked for the web address and to her word, there were units going at that much. However, one unit, lets call it unit A US$8500 was a December (date of first registration) 2004. The second one (unit B) US$7000 was a September 2006 which makes it 5 years old. Using our calculator and KRA’s CRSP figure of KES 3,650,000 for a 2000cc Nissan Xtrail,
Unit A (US$8800):  Yr 2004 Dec (5 years old) duty payable = KES 634,798
Unit B (US$7300): Yr 2006 July (4 years old) Duty payable = KES 762,758
My quote: 2003 July (7 years old) duty payable = KES 378,879
Had she not consulted, she would have imported unit B which appeared cheaper not knowing how much it would cost to clear. Such are the mistakes that people make and their units end up accumulating demurrage before they can raise the duty. At times people are unable to raise the duties or by the time they are able to, the demurrage is too much. Your vehicles could end up auctioned to pay off storage fees and to decongest the port.

The AuthorAnthony Mwaura, heads the Imports Desk at Hilltop Junction Motors on Ngong Road, Opposite Kenya Science Teachers College.



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AMG has just developed a completely new AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine with a peak output of up to 420 kW (544 to 571 hp) and maximum torque of up to 900 newton metres will enter the lineup in summer 2010.

The new eight-cylinder unit known internally as the M 157 comes with a wealth of technological highlights such as direct petrol injection with spray-guided combustion and twin turbochargers, all hand built in line with AMGs famous one-man,one-engine policy

AMG was founded as a manufacturer of racing engines in 1967 by former Mercedes engineers Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher in Burgstall an der Murr, near Stuttgart. The letters “AMG” stand for Aufrecht, Melcher and Großaspach, Aufrecht’s birthplace.

AMG started off by designing and testing racing engines. It expanded its business into building custom road cars based upon standard Mercedes cars.

In 1971, the company entered the spectacular 300 SEL 6.8 AMG at the 24-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium). The car won a class victory and second place in the overall ranking for AMG – and made the company world-famous overnight.

To showcase the new engine, AMG placed it in a spectacular S 63 showcar it unveiled at the recent Geneva Motorshow. The car is decorated with sponsoring stickers identical to those on its historic predecessor.

Theres even exotic wood trim in the style of the original car in the interior!!

Naturally, the S 63 AMG delivers superior performance at sports car level: the high-performance saloon accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds, and has an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. The 100 km/h mark is reached in just 4.4 seconds with the AMG Performance package, with the top speed increased to an electronically limited 300 km/h.


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Yesterday, I was on my way home, smarting from an incident at a bank which just killed my day, when I suddenly thought about the Lamborghini Miura.

Just like that it pops into my mind and I remember how important it was for Lamborghini. It was the first time they dared to go against the Status Quo.

The tractor business was doing great, the oil crisis hadn’t hit, the economy was fine, then out jumps Ferrucio Lamborghini, with some new sportscar.

Lamborghini owes it existance to poor customer service.

As a wealthy agricultural machinery manufacturer, Ferruccio Lamborghini was able to take up some issues he was having with the clutch of his 250 GT directly with Enzo Ferarri.

Legend has it that Enzo was insulted that a man who made tractors could dare critique his fine motor cars. So like good Italians they got into a heated argument.

Lamborgini later had one of his mechanics fix the clutch. It turned out it was from the same manufacturer as some of the ones he used on his tractors.

So as a result of poor customer service, Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A was born.

But like most startups, after a while, things fell apart .

The thing is, he was trying to do it just like everyone else.

His first attempt at a sportscar, the 350 GTV wasn’t warmly received by the motoring community. It looked exactly like any other Sportscar. Then he came up with the Miura.

The car was named after the Spanish Miura bull breeders, whose animals have a proverbial attack instinct. It was a complete departure from the design language of the day and its wedge shape can still be seen in most of todays sportscars.

At the time, sportcars basically looked like the Jaguar E-Type. They were curvy, they had long hoods and short rear overhangs. Today we look at the the E-types and Ferrari 250s and Mercedes 300SLs, and marvel at how graceful and elegant they look.

The Mercedes 300SL “Gullwing” the fastest production car at the time

But make no mistake, at the time they were just as radical as the supercars of today. The 1966-72 period the Miura was produced was the time of the Peugeot 404!!

Truth be told the Miura really owes its radical styling cues to another Ferarri basher, the Ford GT40.

However what caught the attention of the motoring public was what lay inside.

The Miura was powered by a 3.9L V12 engine transversely mounted in the middle of the car, right behind the passenger cell.

This unusual engine layout led to incredible interest in the vehicle. In fact, at the 1965 Turin Motor Show, only the chassis was shown, but multiple orders for the car were placed!

The car was not a commercial success, only 764 were built. But it placed Lamborghini firmly in the spotlight as a serious contender, a spot it occupies to this day.

In 2006 , A retro Lamborghini Miura concept car was presented. It was the first design by the then new Lamborghini chief, Walter de’Silva, and it commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 1966 introduction of the original Miura in Geneva.

Lamborghini’s president and CEO at the time, Stephan Winkelmann decided the concept would never be brought to production, saying

“The Miura was a celebration of our history, but Lamborghini is about the future. “

Those words ring true to this day.


At the Total Kenya Motorshow I had a chat with some chaps at the Yana Stand who explained to me what the numbers on a tyre mean. Heres a summary

1.Tyre width
This three-digit number refers to the overall width of the tyre in millimeters.

2.Profile/Aspect ratio
The relationship between tyre height and tyre width. The higher the number, the taller the sidewall. The lower the number the smaller the sidewall, hence the term low-profile tyre

The letter R indicates radial-ply as opposed to bias-ply tyre construction.

4.Wheel diameter
This number indicates the size of wheel the tyre is designed to fit onto.

5.Load index
A relative scale that indicates how much weight the tyre is certified to carry at maximum inflation. It can range from zero to 279. The higher the number, the greater the load-carrying capacity.

6.Primary speed rating
This specifies the maximum speed at which a tyre is certified to carry its maximum load. Primary speed ratings range from A (lowest) to Z (highest). (Some tyres also carry more specific secondary ratings.)


Rolls Royce Limited was created over a famous lunch brokered by Henry Edmunds in May 1904 at the Midlands Hotel in Manchester. Edmunds brought together Henry Royce, a successful engineer and Charles Rolls, the owner of one of the worlds first car dealerships.

The meeting led to an agreement that Rolls would exclusively sell as many cars as Royce could produce. The marque launched in 1904 following the verbal agreement made in May although a formal agreement was not signed between the two until December.

C.S. Rolls & Co were the sole agents for a series of two, three, four and six cylinder cars that broke the mould for engineering and craftsmanship. By 1907 Royce had created the first Silver Ghost, a car of legendary smoothness that completed a 14,371-mile virtually non-stop run that led a journalist at the prestigious publication Autocar to call it ‘the best car in the world’.

Fast forward to the Paris motor show, 2006: Rolls-Royce announced that work had begun on a new model series. The new car would be in production and on sale by the turn of the decade. The only other facts confirmed at that stage were that it would be smaller than the Phantom saloon and priced somewhere between EUR200,000 and EUR300,000 before tax. Speculation about its style and specification began almost immediately…

Little was seen of the new car, codenamed RR4, until the spring of 2008, when Rolls-Royce released the first official sketches. As sightings of secret development models on the road increased, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars unveiled 200EX, the experimental forerunner to Ghost, at the Geneva motor show in March 2009. An instant hit, 200EX bore the trademark Rolls-Royce design cues but in altogether more compelling fashion. It was a clear statement of intent.

Inside, Ghost is refined and cosseting. Entering and exiting is both effortless and graceful – the low sill height means you step ‘onto’ rather than ‘into’ Ghost. The unique rear-hinged coach doors open to 83 degrees adding an extra sense of theatre for the rear passengers.

Once inside, you are greeted by a simple yet contemporary interior with large expanses of soft full grain leather, natural wood veneers and Blenheim wool carpets. The cashmere-blend roof lining adds to the sense of openness and space, enhanced by the optional Panorama sunroof.

“Ghost is one of the most revered names in automotive industry,” said Chief Executive Officer, Tom Purves. “It evokes images of adventure and technical innovation. The first cars to bear the Ghost name were known not only for impressive dependability and refinement but also great flair and style.”

All Rolls-Royce cars feature a Power in Reserve dial on the facia. It’s a reminder that there is always power to spare in the V12 engines – at 70mph they use less than 10 percent of available power. Delivering 75% of torque at just 1,000rpm, working in perfect balance with the automatic gearbox, the acceleration is so smooth it feels like you are in an infinite first gear. This effortless power, combined with our unique dynamic chassis and cutting-edge suspension creates the famous Rolls-Royce ‘magic carpet ride’.

Powered by a new twin turbo 6.6-litre V12 engine, it is virtually silent, with 80% of its torque available from idle. Coupled with the 8-speed ZF gearbox it accelerates from 0-62 mph in just 4.9 seconds and has a governed top-speed of 155 mph.

The V12 engine remains whisper-quiet even when accelerating – Ghost’s occupants will only notice the scenery pass at a quicker rate. Engineered to grip the road at all times, it creates a more dynamic drive for the owner who occasionally takes the wheel.


1800 CC. All Constitutional Office Holders can no longer drive a car with an engine capacity greater than 1800CC.

Some ministers hav described this limition as childish, teenage even but I’ve managed to come up with 10 Cars of the best cars sold in Kenya within this limitation

  1. Mercedes Benz E-Class

(as usual, click on image to make it larger)

The daddy of government vehicles has a new model out, the 2009 W212 Chassis, we would have seen it sooner if it wasn’t for Uhuru’s accompanying freeze on purchasing, the E-200 sports a 1796cc engine that puts out 180HP and does 0-100Kph in 8 Seconds (its big brother the E-63 AMG will do this in 4 seconds flat), however Mercedes isn’t all about speed.

The new E class will have many new innovations and technologies available like the ability to recognise and adhere to speed limits from the signs on the side of the road, and Night View Assist Plus. A rear seat package will have similar amenities to that of a rear seat in the S class

A private ceremony was held at the Viminale Palace where Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. donated a police version of the company’s newest super sports car, Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia, to the head of the Italian State Police, Prefect Antonio Manganelli.

The new Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia, which replaces the previous Gallardo in use by the Italian police force since 2004 has a 560 horsepower engine that can reach speeds of up to 326 Km/h. The car will begin service with the Lazio Highway Police Department in order to continue accident and crime prevention to sustain security on the Italian roads.

In addition to the clearly effective deterrent offered by the presence and visibility of a Lamborghini on the highway, the technological equipment on board these vehicles makes them highly effective in the control of hazardous behaviour on the roads (high speeds, driving in the emergency lane, dangerous over-taking); the automatic recognition of number plate tracking and real-time transmission of images to the control rooms.

The cabin of the super sports car is fitted with the latest advancements in police technology to immediately document the evidence of any transgression. The video system is positioned in the center of the cabin with a camera fitted next to the rear view mirror and a computer and recording equipment behind the seats. As soon as police officers discover a suspicious driver, they activate the ”Proof Video Data System.” With the help of GPS data, the device can calculate the location, direction of movement and speed of the Lamborghini. This combined with the distance and time before intercept, accurately determines the speed of the vehicle being pursued.

Using radio data transmission, the video system in the Gallardo Polizia transfers its images in real time to the relevant police station. There, the videos are stored and used for automatic number plate retrieval. This information can be used for immediate identification of stolen vehicles.

In addition to its high tech equipment, the Gallardo is also fitted with the ”classic” array of police equipment, such as a gun holster, police radio equipment and the ”Paletta,” the traditional hand-held stop sign used to advise motorists and traffic offenders to pull over. Officers can then use a removable screen to show offenders their misdeeds immediately, complete with an overlay of all the associated data.

The Lamborghini is used regularly for urgent medical transportation too. Lamborghini’s have never had loads of luggage space, howerver , the luggage compartment in the front of the vehicle is equipped with a specialized refrigeration system for safe transportation of donor organs. For extreme emergencies, there is also a tiny defibrillator stored in the car.

Only officers from traffic departments Special Operations Team, made up of arguably the luckiest police officers in the world, are permitted to drive the Gallardo. Each person on the team – which includes three women – has undertaken driver training with Lamborghini, under the leadership of the Lamborghini test drivers. They also receive special training in the use of the Gallardo’s medical equipment.

The Lamborghini wears its uniform with pride, painted in accordance with requirements in ”blu Polizia” – whereby the white stripes and lettering follow the Gallardo’s dynamic design angles. Its main patrol beat be central and southern Italy, primarily on the motorway between Salerno and Reggio Calabria.

The police beacon on the roof of the Gallardo had to be aerodynamically optimized being that the new police car reaches a considerably higher top speed than regular service vehicles.. Despite the extremely flat construction of the signal lighting, blue LEDs are fitted round the base to ensure the visual signal cannot be missed. The roof-mounted lighting is supported by further blue LED signals on the front, sides and rear of the light’s aluminium shell.

Alongside its daily operational duties, the Gallardo also has regular public appearance obligations, such as its role as parade leader every year in Rome’s traditional ”Festa di Polizia,” or its escort responsibilities at events with historical vehicles, like the Targa Florio and the Milan – San Remo Rally. Its predecessor even represented the Italian police in New York City at the 2005 ”Columbus Day” parade.

This is a truly remarkable piece of police equipment, its no wonder the Italian police force is among the best motivated in the world.


I’ve been very lazy when it comes to this blog. I cant help it, my new job is eating up all my time, plus they’re strongly against unlimited internet access.

My love for cars stays strong, but rarely does it intersect with politics. Like almost every Kenyan right now I’m an armchair political analyst, so you can imagine the look on my face when The Standard wrote an article about what they think our Prime Minister Designate will be driving soon.

Now their speculation has been horribly wrong in the past (Ksh 40 Million Hummer H2) and the Government was uncharacteristically swift with its response so there may be some fire behind all the smoke.

Just in case they’re right this time, here are the facts

The S-Guard is Merc’s armoured S-Class, built from the ground up to protect world leaders – 90 governments worldwide use an S-Guard – and those who need defending from criminals and terrorists, while also whisking them around in supreme comfort.

Demand for special-protection vehicles is rising and is currently especially high in Latin America, Africa and Southern Europe, where most buyers opt for High-Protection vehicles that will withstand bullets from handguns up to the .44 Magnum. In Central Europe and the former Soviet states, however, Highest-Protection Guard models are more the norm, where they have to defend against military-grade rifles and high-velocity ammo. Then there’s also demand from, surprisingly, Kenya.

The S-Guard is produced on a dedicated production line at Mercedes’s factory in Sindelfingen, so, rather than retrofitting the protective elements in the doors, rear wall, side panels, roof lining and firewall etc of a finished vehicle, they are fully integrated into the bodyshell as the car is built. All the body-structure reinforcements, required due to the extra weight of the protective elements, can therefore be incorporated right from the start.

This means that all a car’s potential weak spots – gaps in the body, at the doors or at the joins between metal and glass sections – are fully protected from attack, this overlapping system preventing bullets from getting through to the inside of the car. In fact, there are 250 points around the car that are tested ballistically, all of which are carried out with dummies inside.

The integration of the special protection elements also means that the body structure is reinforced, instead of having extra strain exerted on it by the additional weight. The necessary body-structure reinforcements, such as chassis suspension units or sturdier door hinges and window frames, can also be integrated right from the start.

So the reinforced steel plating and polycarbonate windows added to the shell of an S-Class not only make it a much more impenetrable proposition, but also a considerably heavier one, weighing in at 4,200kg. The doors themselves are 130kg each.

But how good is all this protection, really? Well the S-Guard is built to a standard called B6/B7, which means that the armour is designed to resist military-standard small-arms projectiles (including armour-piercing bullets), which have a velocity almost twice that of bullets fired from a revolver. It also offers protection against fragments from hand grenades and explosive charges.

Of course, it’s all very well talking about all the protection the car offers, but what about ensuring that all the vehicles have the right materials to keep their principals intact? That’s where DaimlerChrysler’s resident sniper comes in.

Deep in the bowels of one of Sindelfingen’s many buildings is the company’s ballistic laboratory, home to a man with a large rifle, who spends his day shooting at random samples of the steel plates and polycarbonate glass fitted to the S-Guard. This process means that every batch of materials used is rigorously tested to ensure that every S-Guard that goes out can do its job if pressed into service.

Watching the sniper shooting at chunks of steel and polycarbonate-layered glass, it’s possible to see how the materials used in building the S-Guard actually work. The energy of the bullet – which travels at a speed of 830 metres per second – is absorbed by the glass or steel and transferred back to the projectile, causing it to fragment. After shooting the glass, it’s possible to see tiny bits of metal that previously made up the bullet in the layers.

When used against the steel, the fragments are scattered all around, with the steel left with no deformation to its structure, just a mark where the bullet struck.

All the extra protection means that the fully enclosed passenger cell is highly secure, safe and comfortable. However, it’s not just the materials used in the car that keep the passengers safe: there’s all the usual electronic control systems such as ESP, ABS, etc (although modified to take the extra weight into consideration) that ensure the S-Class’s driving dynamics are maintained. Plus it comes fitted with S-Class safety features such as Pre-Safe brakes and Brake Assist.

There are also numerous additional features to make riding in the S-Guard safer than playing on a bouncy castle while dressed in an American football uniform. There’s a reversing camera to monitor the rear of the car; run-flat tyres; a self-sealing fuel tank that uses the same material as military helicopters; a fire-extinguishing system; an emergency fresh-air system that counteracts dangerous gaseous substances; a pneumatic emergency control system for the power windows that operates independently of the on-board electronics; an emergency boot-opening facility that allows occupants to free themselves from the boot of the car using a switch on the inside of the boot lid (handy if you’ve been kidnapped in your own car); infrared lights and camera; and a Panic Alarm System that can be activated from anywhere in the vehicle, locking the doors to create a protected zone and alerting the outside world by means of visual and audible alarm signals, plus an intercom.

Perhaps the most cunning thing of all about the S-Guard though, is the fact that you can’t tell the difference between it and a standard S-Class. From the outside, there is absolutely nothing to indicate that the car is in any way special.

The layers of ballistic glass that form the windows are held together with a sealant that has the same refractive properties of the glass it bonds. The result? Rays of light passing through the glass don’t bend, they go straight through, so you don’t get that “Bank Teller” look.

When you get behind the wheel, however, and start driving, it soon becomes apparent that you are, in fact, driving a tank. Starting up the engine and driving in straight line is fine: the S-Guard is equipped with the S 600 biturbo V12 engine, which generates 509bhp and 612lb-ft of torque, so there’s plenty of power on tap to pull the car along.

However, when you start throwing it around a handling course, you realise that you have to start rethinking your concept of braking. You’re steering a 4,200kg car – and that’s a lot of weight to try to stop when you need to. The inertia generated by such as weight means that if you try braking where you normally would when approaching a corner, you find yourself running out of road, an act accompanied by tyre-squealing reminiscent of an airliner touching down. Despite the agility that exists in the car’s S-Class DNA, brake too late and you find yourself doing some wrestling with the wheel.

After a few minutes, though, you begin to get the hang of the car and can start cornering with speed and precision, while still managing to make the car squeal like a pig.

Moving a four-tonne car through a series of cones at 50mph is no picnic at the best of times: so you’d think that doing it with a flat tyre would be verging on insanity. Not in the S-Guard. The Michelin PAX run-flats mean that you can still manage to steer the car through all the gaps as if on the usual complement of four fully inflated wheels, the car responding to steering inputs with barely discernable difference. Very impressive.

So if you’ve ever been careless enough to incur a fatwa, have to drive through Colombia while directing the war on drugs, or are just unfortunate enough to have so much money that you and your family a target for kidnappers, you should seriously consider an S-Guard. You’ll be able to relax for two reasons: first, the peace of mind in knowing that you’re virtually impregnable while in your car; plus you’ll be sitting in a car seat that can give you a massage which will make all your cares just melt away.

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