In Summary
  • You should never be fooled, a used German car bought at Shs30m might sufficiently cost you a lot more than planned.
  • Such cars often become less reliable yet are fitted with a wide range of complex parts and edge-cutting gadgets, which when they wear out or get spoilt require substantial sums of money to be replaced.
  • Luxury cars have a number of expensive features.

For days Joseph Mukasa of Ntinda clicked through different websites searching for a used luxury car.
He had searched the internet for days when he landed on a BMW 7 series (2000) which was within his budget of Shs28m.
In the BMW, he had landed the car of his dream - the first generation 2002 E65 BMW 7 series, which was not only stylish but a definition of his style.
However, two months later the rear suspension on the right had broken down with signs of a weakening battery starting to manifest.
The 19-inch tyres, which cost about Shs1.2m, too needed be replaced. Certainly, the car was beginning to become a problem, notwithstanding the luxury that Mukasa had fallen for.
You have perhaps heard this phrase: “There is nothing as expensive as an old Mercedes”.
While the price of entry for a used luxury car might be within the reach for an average buyer, maintenance expenses can be a nightmare.

Unplanned expenses
Cars, especially from German, have a high maintenance and repair costs attachment, notwithstanding the rate of at which they have depreciated.
In other words, you should never be fooled, a used German car bought at Shs30m might sufficiently cost you a lot more than planned.
Such cars often become less reliable yet are fitted with a wide range of complex parts and edge-cutting gadgets, which when they wear out or get spoilt require substantial sums of money to be replaced.

For instance, an air suspension has automated and advanced features that are connected to the engine, which means that once it breaks down, it will need serious money to fix other parts.
Many people buy these cars unknowingly perhaps to save some money or fit into a certain class, however, their joy of finding a fitting ride soon becomes a nightmare.
According to Edrisa Matovu, a car importer at Second Select, whereas the experience of German cars is compelling, it is better to buy an affordable car.
“German cars are smooth and powerful but it is foolhardy to walk yourself into a burden,” he says.
Luxury cars have an array of safety innovations such as seat belts, air bag reverse cameras and smart cruise control, among others, which are just options in other ordinary cars.
In many cases, a 10-year-old luxury car will offer more safety features than perhaps a newer economy car at the same price.
However, the real cost comes in maintenance and the resale value after you have bought it.

According to Matovu, it is possible to find a 1998 Toyota Harrier going for the same price as a 10-year Mercedes Benz because of the restraint resale value which comes with luxury cars.
In essence used luxury cars are more costly in the long term and are susceptible to breakdown.
Because such cars come loaded with technology and hi-tech facilities that make driving a good experience, people still go for them without looking at the after costs. Luxury cars offer a good driving experience regardless of the condition they are in.
This is why some people can afford to spend more than Shs30m on a used Mercedes Benz well aware of the challenges that it will present.

Features to look out for
Luxury cars have a number of expensive features, however, always look out for the following because they will always be a factor to your car.

Grade fluids
Luxury cars have expensive grade fluids and are usually operated by appointed agents or specialised mechanics.
This makes maintenance quite expensive and impossible. To replace even the simplest of parts such as spark plugs, for a Benz will need at least Shs100,000 piece to replace.

Battery
A regular battery costs between Shs150,000 and Shs400,000, however, you will need more than Shs1m to replace a battery of a luxury car such for a BMW.
Most luxury cars are fitted with dry-cell batteries with features that are hard to reconnect to ordinary batteries.
Therefore, it becomes expensive in the event that you need to replace them.
Ground clearance
Most luxury cars are designed for affluent markets where roads are well kept and less damaging to the car. This is not the case in Uganda, where roads will largely contribute to the depreciation of your car.

Resale value
The higher they stand, the harder they fall. Used Luxury used cars lose market value rapidly and depreciate quickly.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com