Advantages and disadvantages of new cars

Pros and Cons of Buying New Cars vs Used Cars

First-time car buyers may be confused in either purchasing a new or used car. With tons of financing options available, does it make sense to pick a new car over a grey import one? In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of purchasing a new car versus a grey import.

1. AffordabilityNew vs used cars; which one is more affordable

Advantage: Used Cars/ Grey Import

These cars attract less duty hence are affordable to the majority of the working population. The boom of the middle class has led financing institutions like Saccos and banks to target this segment for growth. The result is many Kenyans can access credit to purchase these cars easily.

Disadvantage: New Cars

New cars attract high duty and taxes from the Government, hence the cost price is steep and subsequently locks out a huge chunk of the population.
However, if finance is available then it makes sense for anyone engaging in commercial activities like construction, mining or transportation to consider a new vehicle due to added advantages of warranties. That’s in comparison to lack of warranties when it comes to grey imports.

2. TropicalizationNew vs Used cars: which one is more tropicalised

Advantage: New Cars

If you intend to buy a new car from an authorized dealer, then you will definitely get a vehicle that is tropicalized from the factory and is able to cope with our road conditions.
Therefore, cars that are brought in to the country do not require any form of modification, thus offer great savings to the owner.

Disadvantage: Used Car

Used cars, unfortunately, are sourced in developed countries where severity levels are low. This means that the car comes with a softer suspension system and high fuel grade systems, just but to name a few things.

The result is one has to do a major upgrade to the used car once it arrives in Kenya in order for it to cope with our harsh terrain e.g. fitting heavy-duty coil springs and shocks, replacing the standard radiator with a tropical one to increase cooling efficiency and much more.

3. High specification levelsNew vs used car: which ones have a high specification level

Advantage: Used Cars

Grey import vehicles have higher specification levels as compared to local derivatives. These extra features increase the allure of grey imports and this is the main reason why many Kenyans prefer to import cars from overseas than locally as there is value for the money spent on purchasing the grey import.

Disadvantage: New Cars

Locally sourced vehicles most times have standard features and appeal less to many buyers. Reason being, adding extra features like leather seats, decent audio and sunroof add extra cost to the listed price.
A good example is the Toyota Prado. The Local one lacks certain creature comforts like power heated seats, cruise control and satellite navigation, while all these come as standard on the grey import derivative.

4. Availability of affordable spare partsNew vs used cars: which one has spare parts that can be easily found

Advantage: Used cars

Liberalisation of the motor industry made spare parts, readily available at a much lower price than what dealers retail. That is why certain models like the Toyota Corolla became very popular with buyers. This has made used cars the choice of many Kenyans.

Disadvantage: New Cars

Buyers of new cars have to cough an extra shilling for genuine spare parts as they are quite expensive, last long and are required for servicing as stipulated in the warranty rules and regulations. These parts are often not widely available and one has to order in advance to acquire them.

5. Financing options

New vs used cars: which one has better financing options

Advantage: New Cars

Most accredited lending institutions are able to give you up 100% finance to new car buyers, depending on credit rating and also the fact new cars come with a warranty. The risk is way lower than that of a used vehicle.

Disadvantage: Used Cars

Asset finance institutions are weary of the grey import sector as it is a high-risk venture to them. Since grey imports lack warranties, it’s hard for them to offer customers a line of credit easily.
However, the growth of the insurance industry has made banks attract grey import buyers, insulating themselves from default by taking insurance over loans issued. This has led to competition between banks, enticing the consumer with asset finance packages that are hard to resist.

6. Warranties

New vs used cars: which one has warranty options

Advantage: New cars

All new vehicles come with a manufacturer guaranteed warranty on paintwork, mechanical and drivetrain of the vehicle. Should any issue arise in form of a defective part in the operation of the vehicle, the dealer is obliged to sort that issue at no cost to the owner.

Disadvantage: Used cars

Grey imports brought into Kenya are about 7 years old, past their warranty mandate, if anything is to happen to the vehicle, the owner takes full liability and that is costly.
For example, certain Volkswagen models have transmission problems, when they arrive in Kenya. Unsuspecting customers buy these cars only to incur transmission issues later and they bare the cost of expensive repairs.


The choice between purchasing a new car or used one solely depends on the many factors mentioned above. The decision you arrive at will boil down to matters that make sense to you. If you appreciate all the benefits of a new car and you have the capacity to buy one, feel free and get yourself a trouble-free vehicle.

As for the rest of us, If you need sound advice on which grey import you need to buy,  Timam cars will give you that and much more. From sourcing and delivering cars to your doorstep, Timam Cars will ensure you have a stress-free time when you import cars through them. They are also Verified by Cheki.

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