Cotonou is the largest city in Benin, and it is located in the South-East in between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Nokoue. Although most people think that Cotonou is the capital of Benin, it is not, but it is the most developed city in the country, while Porto-Novo is the official capital of Benin.
Nigeria and Cotonou are not distinctively far from one another, as it takes approximately 3 hours and some minutes while using a car to commute to Cotonou. Cotonou is popular amongst many Nigerians because it is a travel spot for many vacation lovers but majorly because Cotonou is known for selling affordable Tokunbo cars.
Reasons for buying cars in Cotonou
Tokunbo used cars are much cheaper than the other foreign used brand of cars in Nigeria, and a lot of car owners, intending car owners prefer to buy from there.
- Tokunbo used cars in Cotonou are more available, durable and efficient than in Nigeria. It is also easier to transport a tokunbo used car from Cotonou than it is transporting from any other country, probably owing to the close proximity between the two countries.
- It is also cheaper to clear used cars in Cotonou than it is in another country. The various procedures and documentations needed for clearing cars in other countries are reduced in Cotonou.
- The prices for Tokunbo used cars are relatively cheaper and more affordable than they are in Nigeria or other neighbouring countries.
How to Buy a Car in Cotonou
When buying a car, it is mandatory to adhere to the legal ways of purchasing vehicles. A lot of issues arise with cars, some may be stolen, some may have been redesigned, and others may have been replaced with fake spare parts. This is why it is important to follow the approved and legal steps when buying cars from anywhere around the world.
On how to buy a car in Cotonou without undue stress, follow through these steps listed out.
- Search and inspect on the type of car you want to purchase.
There are so many car depots in Cotonou, and travelling down without an idea of the exact type of car you want to buy will throw you into a state of confusion. It is important to carry out a research to know the type of car, its functionalities and its prices from different car depots in Cotonou.
- Travel down and check out the car.
After deciding on the type of car you want to purchase, it is time to travel down to Cotonou to make financial payments. On getting to the depot, you would want to make a small deposit to the seller to help secure the car, and also establish some form of seriousness. To do this, you have to change your Naira to Cefa (the approved currency in Benin).
But before making a payment, it is important to carefully inspect the car to ensure that it is in a good condition and all parts are working and present.
- Customs paperwork.
The customs paperwork allows you to have full legal ownership of the car. To do this, you have to have paid for the car. Acquiring customs paperwork usually takes up to two days, and it can be done personally or with the help of a customs service.
- Ride your car back to Lagos, Nigeria.
After researching, making financial payments, getting customs paperwork approved, it is time to confidently ride your car back to Lagos, Nigeria, or have someone do it on your behalf.
Advantages and Disadvantages of buying a car from Cotonou
As a result of the popularity of the Cotonou automobile market, there are some disadvantages that exist even in the midst of such large market. But before delving into the disadvantages, let’s take a look at the advantages.
- Low import duty on high-end cars: The Government of Benin Republic charges a fixed import duty of 500,000 Cefa on all imported cars. This amount is relatively low compared to the Naira equivalent usually charged at the Nigerian ports.
- Wide range and variety of cars: Because Cotonou is the largest Car depot in West Africa, there are a thousand and one variety of cars to choose from. This is why it is advised in the steps on getting a car down to Lagos, to have an idea of the type and price range of car you want to buy before traveling down to Cotonou. Just bear in mind that Cotonou car depot houses and sells any type of Tokunbo car you may be looking for.
- Clean looking Tokunbo cars: A lot of people prefer going to Cotonou to buy Tokunbo used cars because these grades of cars in Cotonou look newer and cleaner than the ones sold in Lagos, Nigeria. This is so because, the import duty paid by buyers in Cotonou is given to the Government, so they can buy clean looking Tokunbo cars.
- Nigerian Customs: You won’t buy your car from Nigeria, but you will receive trouble from the customs service when you get to the border. The best way to avoid any kind of trouble at the hands of the Nigerian Customs Service is to ensure that all customs paperwork at Cotonou is properly and carefully attended to. If best, it should be handled by an agent.
- High import duties on cheaper cars: High-end cars have lower import duty charges but cheaper cars have high import charges because they are older and cheaper, money has to be made somehow to cover costs.
- Difficult Vehicle Identification Number check.
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