Illegally imported cars flood SA

2007-03-27 21:36

Johannesburg - Pretoria police have warned motorists intending to buy second-hand cars to beware of illegally imported vehicles.

Superintendent Ronnie Naidoo said on Tuesday a large number of vehicles were being brought into the country under false pretences.

"Unscrupulous dealers are acquiring these vehicles and importing them on the pretext that these vehicles are in transit and destined for neighbouring countries that do not prohibit the importation of second-hand vehicles," said Naidoo.

The number of illegally imported vehicles had risen over the years.

"In 1994, about 15 cases of illegally imported cars were reported. At the moment the number has risen from 15 to about 20 000 vehicles a year."

Sometimes the cars remained in the country or were sent to other countries where they were registered and brought back to South Africa.

"These vehicles are then registered in South Africa and sold to unsuspecting buyers," said Naidoo.

Most of the cars - which had been imported without the International Trade and Administration Commission (Itac) permit - were being imported from Japan, Europe and Singapore.

The vehicles also did not conform to safety and roadworthy requirements.

"They are usually not roadworthy in the country of origin and spares are difficult to obtain."

Although the vehicles were imported illegally, some of them would be allowed into the country under strict circumstances.

"Some of the documents required for this are import permits, an SARS customs bill of entry form, as well as an SABS letter of authority showing that the vehicle conformed to the country's safety standards," said Naidoo.

No one had been arrested in connection with the imported vehicles.

"No one has been arrested because its usually the victims(motorists) who are found in possession of these vehicles. So the cars get impounded," he said.

"The SAPS recommends that if you are intending to purchase a second-hand vehicle and there is uncertainty of the vehicle's origin, please verify this by checking with the International Vehicle Identification Desk on 012-365-9540," said Naidoo.

  • Jakes - 2007-08-07 08:51

    I concur: if I can buy a Toyota Corolla (proudly South African) in AUSTRALIA, with ALL the extras for LESS than the base model in SA, then we are being ripped off! VIVA the Grey Importers, VIVA! I worked in Dubai last year, and cars IMPORTED to Dubai are up to 50% cheaper. Another thing: the 2nd-hand car price is kept artificially high by bank and dealer collusion: there is no lattitude for dealers to offer better trade-ins than stipulated by the manufacturer, nor may the 2nd-hand dealers cut prices of old used stock.

  • Ouch - 2007-08-07 08:51

    Scott. I totally agree with you although still illegal. I is amazing to see the profit margins on vehicles built in SA compared to the same vehicles overseas (even those imported from here). A leading motor publication printed this late last year. Mostly the Japanese makers screwing the SA cutomers. AND STILL US SOUTH AFRICANS ARE SOOOO LOYAL TO THEM. WAKE UP PEOPLE

  • Eelke - 2007-08-07 08:51

    The comment about road worthyness is nonsense. SABS can be very difficult rather because of lack of knowledge of the standards of origin, than actual poor quality. Spares can be an issue. Local manufacturers are not supplying spares if they know that its an import! I and most friends drive grey imports legally in Botswana and "all" have been very satisfied. The Singapore Toyotas are very similar to SA models. Japanese Pajero, some Nissans and Isuzus are also similar to SA models. Grey imports are available from the internet or Durban harbour or neighbouring countries. The legal registration of any foreign secondhand cars in SA is a logistic nightmare.

  • Another ripped-off SA resident - 2007-08-07 08:51

    The only reason why people buy illegally imported cars is because we(SA residents) get ripped off by unrealistic high prices. It is very easy to determine a realistic price on NEW cars in SA. Just see the value depreciation(first 3 years) of any new car which will indicate just exactly how much you were overcharged at the time of purchasing it. It is because there is no decent OR any price control in SA on most articles(except fuel) that such unreasonable prices can be charged, but whats new, the people who should be responsible to monitor and regulate business are busy chasing the gravy train themselves. How many of us can afford to loose R50,000 - R100,000 on depreciation of a vehicle in a year - and yes, these are the figures on some of the more expensive cars ?!! I am convinced that if these cars were sold at a realitic price(potentially @ 50% less) then the depreciation would also be way less drastic AND AFFORDABLE.

  • scott - 2007-08-07 08:51

    This should be a wake up call for the car industry who have for year traded under the monopoly which is support by the RSA Government. Why can a car be acquired from 60-70% of our retail value overseas, if this is the case then I say to those importing the cars well done, this will put pressure on the industry to correct itself.

  • JoJo - 2007-08-07 08:51

    So I can buy cars at a third of the price? I wonder if any of them were made in SA. Now that would be funny Not roadworthy? with some of the money I save, I bribe anyone! But seriously where can I get one?

  • Randy - 2007-08-07 08:53

    Worrying about the non-road-worthiness of these imports is less of a worry than the current non-road-worthy vehicles that are allowed to use our road simply by paying a bribe to the traffic cops.

  • DAN - 2007-08-07 08:53

    How stupid do you really get,most of the imported cars you can see that "hey,i havent seen this in SA".The point of the matter is when you buy a second hand vehicle you should take somebody with that can identify SA CLEARED cars.It is not that complicated to see this.CHECK FOR CHASSIS #S,MANUFACTURERS ETC.And before i forget,cops that tell these illegal driven cars to make a "tekkie" and dont notice the make of these cars,OPEN YOUR EYES AND ACT AS POLICEMEN.

  • Tuffy - 2007-08-07 08:53

    Of government incompetence. I think the whole world already takes that point as a given. Easy to solve the problem if they really want to - do NOT allow ANY imports without paying the required taxes and duties and the like. SHOULD the vehicle then be exported the taxes/duties etcetera can be reclaimed. Proviso - the system to manage this must be effective. IF SARS can be effective why cant Customs & Excise be? Yeah, I know - too many jobs for cronies and people who fought for freedom. I agree that protection to the local industry should cease so they can compete (or try to) in an open market. Why is it that African countries always have to be treated specially to prevent total degeneration into poverty and anarchy? Id really like RSA to stop telling everyone we are competent and to start showing our competence.

  • Nathi - 2007-08-07 08:53

    This is a serious issue. I imported a car and was given a letter of authority by SABS. When the car arrived in then they backtracked and wanted me to change windows, tyres, seatbelts, lights, etc. Mind u these were original Nissan parts. I am told they only recognise European standards not Asian. Pure discrimination! But the issue is, it depends who u pay. Look how many foreigners with imported cars have local number plates?

  • Billionaire Goat - 2007-08-07 08:53

    Whatever! just get over it if u cant beat the japanese price.America was like that a while back and all it did was protect the manufacturing nightmares at GM and Ford the arrival of toyota, honda and nissan have made cars there a whole lot affordable and has led to GM and Ford to put their sock up. Why should I pay for ineffieciency in the market. I definetly going to get one of those imports.

  • Dennis - 2007-08-07 08:53

    The model for car price setting in South Africa shouild be looked at with the following in view. Our African neighbours as well as Central and East Africans share a bouyant demand for second hand vehicles. (With the exception of stolen vehicles )second hand South African vehicles are too expensive for our neighbours despite a clear logistic advantage. It is ridiculous that second hand cars are cheaper to import form JAPAN!!! than simply to come down to SA and drive one back. If SA pricing was more realistic a bouyant secondhand market would mean even greater new vehicle sales in SA, as well as the rest of Africa. Much greater numbers of vehicles new and secondhand can be absorbed by other African states.

  • DownSouth - 2007-08-07 08:56

    Comments like the cars imported are not roadworthy, are absolute nonsense and are set up to artifically inflate the local car sales market. It is a well known fact that South African car prices are out of sync with the rest of the world. The second hand car market fills an essential void in the market. The government should choose to either regulate or de-regulate all industries, not cherry pick, like protect the car maunfacters and expose the clothing manufacturers.

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