EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is part of our Money254 Partner Series produced in partnership with Peach Cars.
When I was in primary school, my dad owned a Toyota 100. It must have been the 1992 model which we loved to bits.
The road network in rural Kenya was much worse than it is today. However, the Toyota 100 took on every terrain, no matter how rugged, with admirable gusto. I remember one time we were visiting my grandmother in Nyandarua where the roads were a total mess.
We encountered one rough section where most saloon cars were turning back.
“This is the big boys' league,” the “face me” matatu drivers chided my dad.
He spit on his hands and calmly shifted down the 100’s manual gear. For five minutes we revved, often shifting across the road but five minutes later, we were on solid ground.
The incident was one of the many that my dad would lecture us about the importance of driving a good car.
“A good car is not about size or look, it is about reliability.”
That was more than 20 years ago and my father, now in retirement, is driving the same car - still praising its conquests.
I have always listened to his stories in utter amusement. I know how to drive but I am not a petrolhead. I am the creative in the family, now in my eighth year as a successful events organiser.
However, Nairobi’s unreliable public transport has often let me down and cost me precious business hours. So after saving for a while, I finally had enough money in my bank to afford a car.
Like every other average “tech-savvy” Nairobian, I started ‘window shopping’ online. I scrolled through Facebook car sales groups and other online marketplaces. One particular car- a Toyota Allion- caught my eye. It looked sleek, and more importantly, was within my budget. I chatted with the seller and we met at a parking lot in the CBD the following day to view the car and negotiate a deal. He even allowed me a short test drive so I could get a feel of the car. It was the perfect car- no warning lights on the dashboard, the pedals working fine, and no visible signs of a previous accident.
We agreed on a price, and we would meet the next day to complete the deal. Excitedly, I called my dad and broke the good news- I would finally be getting my first car!
Since he was in Nairobi to visit my siblings, he asked to see the car before I made the transaction. He insisted I should hold on to my money.
I called the seller and we arranged to meet at the same spot as last time. He was a little surprised that I had brought company with me, but relaxed a little when I introduced my dad. The tension came back when he learned why I tagged my dad along to the deal. And for a good reason…
It didn’t take long for my dad to notice that something was seriously wrong with the car.
“This is most likely a salvage car,” he said. “ The chassis is broken and the nosecut is new. It also looks like the paint job is a recent one.”
The seller didn't seem surprised at all. Instead, he seemed disappointed that the perfect con was falling through. He did a bad job at faking that he did not know the car’s full history.
I felt crushed! But also optimistic. My dad had just saved me from losing a big chunk of my savings in a salvage that should probably sell at less than two-thirds of its asking price. I took solace in the fact that this turn of events was much better than buying a problematic car that would stress me with frequent breakdowns. I also felt empowered to be more vigilant when buying a car.
Now wiser, I went back to my search for a car. I knew what red flags to look out for when buying a car. After engaging a number of online ads, I met another seller who ticked all the boxes. Then came the shocker!
I needed to pay Kshs.2,000 for viewing. Apparently, the car was in Machakos and needed to be fueled to make the trip to Nairobi for viewing and inspection. My scam radar went up and I turned into a detective. The results were as I had suspected- tens of angry buyers who had been scammed into paying “viewing fees.” None ever got to see the car.
That evening, I realised how difficult buying a car in Nairobi was. Scammers looking to make a killing out of your naivety were everywhere. I saw how easy it was to lose your hard-earned money. Those victim stories that had often felt so distant now felt like they were at my doorstep, trying to bang the door down!
Since I had settled for a locally used car instead of importing one (my budget was pretty limited), I started researching how to navigate the murky waters of locally used cars in Nairobi.
That’s when I came across an article talking about Peach Cars, a locally used car dealership launched in 2020.
Five things about Peach Cars caught my attention:
I delved into more research about Peach Cars. The more I read about them, the more I became convinced that I should buy my car with them. This is how I became the proud owner of a silver 2010 Toyota Axio.
In fact, when I bought the Axio, I got another reason to recommend Peach Cars. They offered extensive sales support including drafting the sales agreement, helping me with the logbook transfers, and other processes on NTSA’s TIMs system.
Seven months on, I am yet to experience any issues with the car. It has faithfully served me. My clients and partners compliment me on how I make it to meetings and events on time. In fact, when I travelled upcountry in August, my dad congratulated me on my choice of car, predicting that it would be a blessing in my life, and it has been.
I am now looking at expanding my business by getting my own van instead of regularly hiring one. As I save for this project, I am happy that I have a trusted dealer to help me with the purchase process.