A Japanese online car dealer has set up operations in Kenya, offering to protect local consumers from fraud that has seen some buyers pay for vehicles that are never delivered.
Japanese-based Carview Corporation has invested Sh50 million to open an office in Nairobiâ€™s Westlands area and guarantees delivery and quality of cars bought through its website.
The opening of the office comes at a time when fraud targeting online car dealers has risen in tandem with the growth of used cars in the country.
Last year alone, Kenyaâ€™s embassy in Japan said more than 30 Kenyans reported loss of over Sh25 million to rogue online dealers who failed to deliver the ordered cars.
Carview Kenya says customers will pay for their cars through local banks and if the Japanese sellers fail to ship in the car, buyers will be refunded the full amount.
â€œWe are able to offer our clients not only a secure payment platform, but they are also able to track their vehicles at any given time using the platform which is available in our store,â€ said Moses Mbugua, a manager at Carview.
He added that many Kenyans wishing to buy used vehicles from overseas markets such as Japan and Europe rely on the internet to access information on the model, price and seller.
However, payments are usually risky since buyers have no way of confirming whether the vehicle will be delivered to their expectations with most of the online dealers having offices on Kenya.
Carview says it will serve individuals buying cars for their own use as well as those who buy in bulk to resell.
Mr Mbugua said the company can negotiate on behalf of buyers in what can see them save between Sh50,000 and Sh100,000.
The growth of used cars in the Kenyan market is what has attracted Carview to set up shop in the country.
Official data shows that 37,899 used cars were sold in the Kenyan market between January and August last year, accounting for 82 per cent of total cars sold in the period.
New car dealers sold only 8,118 units in the same period and have blamed the liberalisation of the market for the influx of the cheaper used cars.
The government allows importation of used cars aged up to eight years.-Business Daily