We have all probably wondered whether we should not buy one of these cheap Japanese imports, but thenÖ.
Firstly let me define the following:
SA Model, means the vehicle as sold by SA/Namibian dealers and in my eyes should be the right McCoy
Grey market is a vehicle that is very similar to the one sold by SA dealers, but is imported via an independent agent.
Japanese import is the 2índ hand vehicle that has been scrapped of Japanese roads and is now being sold outside of Japan.
The last 2 categories seem to be of interest to most potential vehicle acquirers, solely because of price.
If you intend buying such vehicle, ask the supplier what the spare parts availability is. Can he get you the necessary spares at a decent price ? Forget going to the agent of that vehicle, as I sympathise with him for not helping you. Donít forget that he is in no way obliged to do anything, but ask you to leave his premises.
I get daily calls on Windscreens, Engines, Gearboxes, Airfilters etc. So the parts availability seems not that hot.
There are certain suppliers, such as Russell in Swakop, that do seem to back their merchandise from what I gather.
The SA suppliers have a dealer network that can source you the correct parts within (hopefully) a day or so. They back their vehicles with an (extended) warranty. Should a production fault creep in, their dealers get notified. The Technicians in the Workshop are trained on your Vehicle. So if they uphold their end of the bargain, you get a win win situation.
Grey market is cheaper, but you also get new, or good 2índ hand vehicles. Except you often have no service backup. The parts have to be sourced from the country of origin, so you might wait a few months for a new fender. The local workshops (I am not saying dealers) should be able to help you with expertise though and pirate parts often exist.
Japanese Import. You are getting a scrapped vehicle with no background info ! You might be lucky in obtaining a Crown that was pampered by a granny for its life of 10 000 kmís. you might also get a MR 2 that was thrashed through its 40 000 km life without a service.
I recently got such an MR2 to modify. Firstly the Turbo was blown and cost 7000 to replace. Then the inside of the Motor was gunked up- engine rebuild, but where do you get the parts ?
I have a friend with a Landcruiser Station wagon 4500 Petrol. Bought as a low mileage grey import. His rear diff blew because the mechanic last servicing it, forgot to tighten the drain plug. Who is going to pay for that elusive diff. His ratio differs from our local one.
Same as with the R28 Nissan Diesel Engine, which seems to be a Dieselfied L28.
You canít even get pistons for these things locally, but people buy these engines without a care.
The only parts I might be able to supply for such petrol cars/engines; is the Computerbox, by substituting a GOTECH, the Exhaust, plugwires and the K&N Filter.
I often hear that our new cars are of the most expensive in the world. Also I have often heard the story of ďwhy can the grey import be so much cheaperĒ. Please compare apples with apples, new vs. 2índ hand and product support as well as backup goes. Yes competition is good for the marketplace ! As long as it is fair competition.
There should be a Law enforcing importers to keep spares, same enforcing the OEMís to stock parts for their vehicles. Have you tried to obtain a timing cover, pulley, flywheel or intake for a Ford V6 lately ? Are they just as bad as the pirate importers, stating that their suppliers canít deliver (for how many years now) ?
I have previously written about Pirate parts vs. OEM- so you can look that up in a backcopy of your Agriforum or on www.nicksracing.com. If you can help me find a supplier of engine parts for these grey imports, it would be most appreciated. But in the end, you have to decide which of these suppliers are honourable enough in supplying you with the necessary backup at a fair price.