Buying 4x4 for export to Sri Lanka - Steve Boreham
A friend of mine is working in the United Kingdom for two years on a fixed length contract - 20 months remaining - at which point he will return home to Sri Lanka.

His intended plan is to buy a secondhand 4x4, run it for the duration of his UK contract, and then ship it back to Sri Lanka, for use as the family vehicle. His monthly budget to buy and run the vehicle whilst in the UK is £500, and obviously, at the point of leaving the UK, any finance should have been paid off. Given Sri Lankan market servicing conditions, the most likely vehicle will be Far Eastern.

In his favour are the facts that if he has owned the car for at least six months in the UK, he will not have to pay Sri Lankan import duty, and also that in Sri Lanka, driving is on the left hand side of the road.

Not in his favour, however, are the facts that neither he, nor his friends, have any idea how to go about this, and he is worried about being led up the garden path.

In addition to deciding which 4x4 to buy, and where to buy it, to execute his plan he first needs to learn where to obtain the best finance, as UK banks are unlikely to want to know, and how to research export and shipping mechanisms and costs.

All these are subjects in their own right, but if you are able to assist even with just one element in isolation, we would be grateful to read your advice.


Many thanks,
Steve
Re: Buying 4x4 for export to Sri Lanka - James S
Lada Niva could probably be picked up for about £500. Which is one months budget. If it lasts a few months he can save up some cash (Bangernomics). If it lasts 2 years he can take it back to Sri Lanka where the local mechanic can fix it with a coat hanger (metaphorically speaking).
Re: Buying 4x4 for export to Sri Lanka - ajit matthew

I live in India, before moving I thought of importing a car but canned the idea

First - he will need to pay around 1500-2000 in insurance and freight

Two - His budget is around 8000 - so it looks like a slighlty won suzuki or fagged out discovery. Effects of any tin worm apparent could get aggravated by bad roads.

Three - Tropicalising the vehicle - rubber parts / seals could disintegrate on change of weather in an oldish car

Four - does he want to use it in SL or sell it for a profit

Perhaps he should look at a jap import of an odd ball spec - white etc which is going cheap.
Re: Buying 4x4 for export to Sri Lanka - ajit matthew

I live in India, before moving I thought of importing a car but canned the idea

First - he will need to pay around 1500-2000 in insurance and freight

Two - His budget is around 8000 - so it looks like a slighlty won suzuki or fagged out discovery. Effects of any tin worm apparent could get aggravated by bad roads.

Three - Tropicalising the vehicle - rubber parts / seals could disintegrate on change of weather in an oldish car

Four - does he want to use it in SL or sell it for a profit

Perhaps he should look at a jap import of an odd ball spec - white etc which is going cheap.
Re: Buying 4x4 for export to Sri Lanka - Chad.R
Steve,

I'm of Sri Lankan origin and my parents retired back to SL some years back.

The economics of buying a used 4X4 in the UK and running it for £12,000 over 2 years seem to me that he is looking at a purchase price of not more than £7.5K. The other £4.5K would be budgeted for fuel, servicing, consumables and interest payments. (I'm not sure of the cost of shipping the vehicle back to SL, so I haven't included it.)

Shipping used cars back to SL from the UK was widespread in 70's - My Grandfather bought an immaculate used Peugeot 404 saloon and it's still with the family. However from the early 80's onwards the relaxing of import restrictions has led to the influx of "reconditioned" vehicles from Japan. The SL market is completely saturated with these cars. In the 4X4 sector the Mitsubishi Pajero (Shogun) seems to be the most popular and highly regarded vehicle in the local market, next in line would probably be the Land Cruiser in it's various guises. Also very common are various (Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubhishi) 4WD "Double cabs", which are starting to get popular in the UK recently. The vehicle MUST be diesel. (The cost of petrol in SL is almost the same as UK but comparative earnings are only around 15%!)

If your friend decides to buy a vehicle here, I would recommend buying a Japanese vehicle as obtaining parts and decent servicing in SL will be that much easier. Also due to economics, Sri Lankan mechanics actually "fix" some broken parts as opposed to just replacing them, so it's easier if they're familiar with a vehicle.

Has your friend looked into "saving" his money and purchasing a vehicle when he gets back? You can get around 16% interest rates on a Foreign currency account with a SL bank. Due to the strong exchange rates and weak SL rupee he may be better off this way. He may also be able to import straight from Japan a used vehicle of his choice.

The other cost which could be prohibitive is the shipping fee, I'm not sure how much this currently is for a large vehicle.

Hope this helps and good luck whatever he decides to do.

Chad.R
Re: Buying 4x4 for export to Sri Lanka - Steve Boreham
Thanks very much James, Ajit, and Chad.

Definite food for thought, and some good arguments to help the process.
Will post the final decision here when it is made.


Cheers for now,
Steve
Re: Buying 4x4 for export to Sri Lanka - Union Jack
What a marvellous example of the breadth and depth of information available from the Back Room - and all in less than an hour and a quarter, and no mention of Morris Minors either.

Well done the Sri Lankan desk!

Jack
Re: Buying 4x4 for export to Sri Lanka - Steve Boreham
When this thread was previously active, back in March, I promised to share the outcome:

From advice received, the conclusion that my friend drew was not to buy a relatively low budget Japanese 4x4.

After careful thought, he instead chose to spend more cash, and purchase a Mercedes 180 automatic, 'S' reg, 16,000 miles, clean HPI, and a genereral air of being an honest motor (John!)

Reasons?
The price was right.
A relatively simple car, though at the same time, well built.
Automatic suits Colombo traffic.
Large enough for the planned family.
If the car is exported to Sri Lanka as planned, it is suitable both for running over many years as a private car, or for sale at reasonable profit, even after paying import taxes and freight charges. He does not believe servicing will be an issue. The fact that the car is not new, and he will own it in the UK for over 12 months before potential export are big factors in his favour. Equally, if plans change, or he realises that he got his sums wrong, it is ideal for him to sell in the UK, without huge loss, on departure at end of contract.


Again, many thanks for helping fuel the decision making process.


/Steve
 

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