Growth is good, and economic growth in Africa has been very good in the last few years. And how do the wealthy spend their money? Apparently, it isn't on houses. After all, who's going to see you in your house? Today, it's 4×4 or nothing, luxury 4×4s to be exact. Actually, you'll find most luxury SUVs to be equipped with AWD (All-Wheel Drive). However, for the past four years, as a matter of fact, the Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) segment has been steadily growing. It's no longer shocking to see wealthy young drivers in their tall luxury SUVs cruising the same streets where older cars are rusting away. At the same time, economy cars scurry about like mice around an elephant's feet, a beautiful elephant's feet, that is.
True, luxury sedans are also seeing a rise in popularity, but nothing says “look at me” like a shiny luxury SUV, and a number of automakers have stepped up to supply them. After Toyota practically invented the Crossover SUV, the Toyota RAV4, Range Rover took it one step further and invented the Luxury SUV. Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Jeep, Lexus, Porsche, Volvo, and Volkswagen, have followed in their tire tracks, producing a number of luxurious SUVs. Here are some of the best-selling luxury SUVs in Africa.
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For the first time BE FORWARD held a 5-day student internship program, February 24th – March 7th. We invited five students from India who are currently studying at the Chiba University of Commerce in Japan through a partnership with Sir Padampat Singhania University in Udaipur, India.
During the internship they were able to spend time in our office learning about our car exporting business, with direct job shadowing of our sales and marketing teams. The interns also spent a day in the field at both the Kawasaki and Yokohama ports where we handle all of the logistics of shipping to overseas.
We were happy to have the students here and we hope they could take away some useful skills that will be valuable in their future careers. Continue reading “BE FORWARD Holds First Student Internship Program” »
Since the used car export business is very lucrative, online cons have pervaded the business from all angles, seeking to make a quick buck out of unwary buyers. Of course, many people have realized that it is cheaper to buy Japanese secondhand cars online than from the local dealerships. Online, there will be more variety, more value, and better prices. The main risk however is that one may lose all their money if they fall into the hands of scammers.
Continue reading “How to Avoid Online Cons When Importing a Car from Japan” »
Considering that, for many of us, an automobile could be the second-biggest investment you'll ever make. It only makes sense, therefore, that you'll want to find someone who can take care of it for you, that is, a trustworthy mechanic or technician. Unfortunately, it seems that, these days, there are some people that think they can pick up a wrench and call themselves a mechanic. Sure, they may be mechanically inclined, but does that make them competent? More importantly, should you entrust your automobile to inexperienced and untrained hands?
Automobiles are more complicated than ever, so finding a well-trained and competent automobile mechanic has become more important than ever, but how do you choose? Unfortunately, there's no one thing that identifies a good mechanic, but here are a few steps to help you find a trustworthy automobile mechanic.
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“Sell this, … we wouldn’t dare”, says Mr. Mureithi, a primary school teacher in Central Kenya. “It has been in the family for more than 15 years now, and it still runs as good as new,” speaking of the old blue Toyota Hilux pickup. In Africa, those lucky enough to own cars treat them like heirlooms.
In Africa, Toyota is synonymous with off-road terrains, especially for humanitarian organizations that have to reach people in the remote interiors. In many ways, since its establishment in 1936, Toyota has been changing lives all over the world. However, it is in Africa where the positive impacts of this brand name have been heavily felt. It is the everyday car for the urban family, for farm work, law keeping, tourism, hardware and various other businesses.
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When considering a car purchase, you have to realize that the price you pay isn't written anywhere on anything you'll see on the financing papers. Aside from buying the vehicle, there are a number of hidden costs that we sometimes don't think about, some of which has to do with the vehicle we buy, but also with our own habits.
For example, let's say you are considering buying a new or used Toyota RAV4, one of the world's most-popular crossover SUVs. Of course, you'll make a down payment and monthly payments on the vehicle itself, but there are some other things that you'll have to pay for, as well. Depending on how much you drive, refueling can get quite expensive. Fortunately, the RAV4 is fairly economical. Don't forget liability and collision insurance, to protect yourself and your car. Then, there are taxes, fees, and repairs.
Continue reading “How Much Is Maintenance Worth?” »
Take a look around, and you'll probably see a lot of Toyota vehicles on the road. This really should be no surprise, since Toyota makes some of the most-reliable vehicles. This means they stay on the road longer. Not everyone likes buying a new car every three years, or making expensive repairs every few months. In New Zealand, Toyota, including the Lexus luxury line, has been the best-selling brand for 26 years running. For 2013, Toyota / Lexus captured 21.4% of sales, just under the combined sales of Ford and Holden.
In fact, three of the top six best-selling cars in New Zealand are Toyotas, including the Toyota Corolla, in its sixth year at number one, the Toyota HiLux, now 32 years as the best-selling commercial vehicle, and the Toyota RAV4, in sixth place. Ford Ranger came in third, but just barely, Suzuki Swift came in fourth, and Holden Commodore came in fifth in total vehicle sales for New Zealand in 2013.
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Out of curiosity, what would a Google street view of cities in Africa reveal? Well, this is Africa and anything is possible. There would be some havoc of course, that is typical of any city street in the world. More people than vehicles, motorbikes and bicycles and oh yes, animals! Every specific compass direction in Africa will have its unique charm. To the North, there will be the Pyramids, the amazing Sahara, and maybe you can catch the snake charmers in Marrakech at work. Any spiraling smoke indicates industry. Central Africa will give you a heavy canopy of green. That is where Africa’s rain forests are concentrated. Maybe you will catch a glimpse of gorillas in Virunga. Continue reading “Google Street View in Africa” »
We already know that regular maintenance is the key to your vehicle lasting as long as, or longer than, the automaker intended. For example, Toyota Motor Company makes their vehicles for a lifetime of 400,000 km. Without proper maintenance, however, it would be surprising to see more than 100,000 km from the same exact cars. On the other hand, with regular maintenance, some of these cars regularly top 1,000,000 km. Regular maintenance keeps your vehicle running at its most-efficient, as well as reduces the cost of future repairs.
Sooner or later, even with regular maintenance, every vehicle needs parts replaced and, as with all things, you have some choices. Automobile parts fall into two basic categories, as well as a few sub-categories, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Continue reading “Automobile Repair – What Kind Of Parts Should You Use?” »
In Africa, 98% of the people prefer buying Japanese used cars instead of new cars. Most of these cars are imported from Japan and few others are sold by Africans or exchanged at the dealers. With the demand for used cars in Africa on the rise, it means that buying used autos has more benefits than buying new. Why are used cars in Africa are better?
Continue reading “Buying a Car in Africa? New vs. Used” »