Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Car Buying

Our little car has served us well over the last few years. Or at least it got us to where we were going most of the time. But the time is coming for a change. Lately the battery is starting to die and I've stuck a solar panel in the back window to keep it charged (which is fine as long as we're not out after dark). However, buying cars in Niger is another story. Most people hire an agent to go out looking for them. Middlemen in theory are supposed to be helping the buyer but nevertheless I still get the distinct feeling of dealing with a salesman. Cars aren't built in Niger only rebuilt, and having said that the best buy is probably imported. Toyota will ship new products but shipping alone is over a thousand dollars. So the short version is we've been looking at used cars in Niger. Imports seem invariably to have had their odometer rolled back though there's usually some indication of what the real mileage should be. One car had the Swiss maintenance record in the glove compartment. Another had a little sticker by the door hinge from an Italian garage recording mileage at the last oil change... Fun doesn't stop there. Imported cars need to passed through customs to have the appropriate taxes paid. Paying once doesn't mean you won't have to pay again. Friends from various other missions have had their vehicles impounded on occasion because someone in customs pocketed the money instead of processing the paperwork. Oh, and did I mention that on newer cars that have micro chips in the key, you can't have a second key made because there is no way to prove that the car wasn't stolen at some point in time. Needless to say this is somewhat stressful moment, but God is faithful.

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