importation of Tokunbo cars

Tokunbo Cars: Where Exactly Do They Come From?

If you’ve spent any amount of time in Nigeria, you’ve likely come across the term “Tokunbo cars.” These vehicles have become a popular choice for many Nigerians looking for affordable and reliable transportation options. But have you ever wondered where these Tokunbo cars actually come from?

Tokunbo cars are primarily sourced from foreign countries, with many being imported from nations like the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe. These vehicles are often previously owned, meticulously maintained, and then imported to markets like Nigeria.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the origins of Tokunbo cars and shed light on the journey they take before reaching Nigerian shores.

tokunbo cars

What Is the Meaning of Tokunbo Cars?

Semantically, Tokunbo is a Yoruba word that literally means ‘ti okun bo’ – “from overseas”. In Nigeria, it is a word used to describe used or second-hand items, particularly vehicles that are sourced from abroad.

These cars are typically imported from foreign countries and are known for their relatively good condition. While they may have some wear and tear, Tokunbo cars are generally considered to be a more affordable alternative to brand new vehicles.

The Source Countries of Tokunbo Cars

The journey of a Tokunbo car starts in countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and several European nations. These countries are known for their high standards of vehicle maintenance and roadworthiness regulations.

Auctions and Dealerships

In many cases, Tokunbo cars are sourced from auctions or dealerships in these foreign countries. Auctions are particularly popular, as they offer a wide range of vehicles, including those that have been repossessed, leased, or traded in by their previous owners.

Private Sellers

Some Tokunbo cars also come from private sellers in foreign countries. These sellers may be individuals looking to upgrade to a new vehicle or simply get rid of their old one.

The Importation Process of Tokunbo Cars

importation of Tokunbo cars
Image from Flickr by Jeremy Segrott

Once purchased in the source country, Tokunbo cars are prepared for shipping. It is loaded onto a cargo vessel for transport to its destination, e.g Nigeria. The journey by sea can take several weeks, depending on the departure and arrival ports.

Arrival in Nigeria

Upon arrival at a Nigerian port, the vehicles go through customs clearance and inspection. This is a critical step to ensure that the imported cars meet the necessary safety and emissions standards. Cars that do not meet these standards may be subject to modifications or, in some cases, rejection.

Local Dealerships and Markets

After clearing customs, Tokunbo cars are transported to local dealerships and markets across Nigeria. These dealerships play a pivotal role in the distribution and sale of the vehicles.

On this note, make sure you check out the risk & benefits of buying Tokunbo cars from America.

The Appeal of Tokunbo Cars

how much is Toyota Corolla in Nigeria

Here are some of the major reasons why Nigerians prefer buying Tokunbo cars:

1. Cost-Effective

One of the primary reasons why Tokunbo cars are so popular in Nigeria is their affordability. Compared to brand new cars, the vehicles come at a significantly lower price point, making them accessible to a broader range of consumers.

2. Relatively Good Condition

While they are used cars, these vehicles are generally in better condition than many locally used cars. They often undergo rigorous inspections in their source countries, ensuring that they are roadworthy and safe.

3. Diverse Selection

Tokunbo cars offer a wide variety of makes, models, and trim levels, allowing buyers to choose vehicles that suit their preferences and needs.

Tips for Buying Tokunbo Cars

While buying Tokunbo cars may seem to be a good idea, it’s not always the best deal. So, be mindful of the tips below when considering these vehicles:

1. Research Thoroughly

Before purchasing a Tokunbo car, it’s essential to research the specific make and model you’re interested in. Consider factors like fuel efficiency, maintenance costs, and availability of spare parts.

2. Inspect Carefully

Always have a trusted mechanic inspect the car you’re interested in. This inspection can uncover hidden issues and help you make an informed decision.

That said, check out the risk & benefit of buying Tokunbo cars from Canada.

3. Verify Documentation

Before you buy any Tokunbo car, ensure you check all necessary documentation, including customs clearance papers and bills of lading. This is crucial for avoiding legal complications.

What is the best mileage for a Tokunbo car?

Tokunbo car with lower mileage (Typically below 100,000 km) is often seen as more desirable because it typically implies less wear and tear. However, there is no specific mileage that is considered the “best” for a Tokunbo car. This is because the ideal mileage  of a used car depends on factors like:

1. Vehicle Type

The ideal mileage for a car can vary depending on the type of vehicle. For some small economy cars, lower mileage may be better, while for larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks, higher mileage might be acceptable.

2. Age of the Vehicle

Note that older cars with lower mileage may have been driven less, but they could still have wear and tear due to their age. That means newer cars with slightly higher mileage may be in better overall condition.

3. Maintenance History

To be candid, the most critical factor in evaluating a used car is its maintenance history. A well-maintained vehicle with higher mileage might be in better condition than a neglected vehicle with lower mileage. It’s also possible that a vehicle only has lower mileage due to recurrent issue that subjected it to lesser use.

4. Intended Use

When buying a used car, consider how you plan to use the vehicle. If you need a car for daily commuting, lower mileage may be more desirable. However, if it’s for occasional use or long-distance trips, slightly higher mileage may not be a concern.

Final Note

Tokunbo cars have become an integral part of the Nigerian automotive landscape, offering an affordable and accessible option for individuals and families in need of reliable transportation. These vehicles do embark on a journey from foreign countries, where they are sourced from various channels, and eventually find their way into local dealerships and markets.

Mind you, when considering the purchase of these cars, it’s essential to do your due diligence. Research the vehicle, have it inspected, and verify all necessary documentation to ensure a smooth and trouble-free ownership experience.

With the right approach, a Tokunbo car can provide you with a cost-effective and dependable means of getting around in Nigeria’s vibrant and diverse landscape.

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