How did Springbok Imports start as a business?

Well, in November 2001 -  after I finished Grade 12 – I, Johan Kriek flew to England for a two year working holiday. At that stage I was already a total car fanatic, having been subscribed to most motoring publications from the age of 10 years old.


In the UK I did all sorts of jobs like food-factory work for a while in Evesham in the Midlands, and then worked as a chef for six months at Camber Sands Holiday Resort in the ancient town of Rye, near Hastings.


This is where I bought my first car, a 1988 Suzuki Samurai convertible 4X4 – as it was the only 4WD vehicle I could get insurance for which I could afford. Soon after the purchase I noticed on the South African Auto Trader  website that these little jeeps sell for way more in South Africa than I paid for it in the UK, but more about this later…


After Camber Sands I moved to London where I worked for Sabre Watch Security Services. After working a while in retail stores around London on night shift I got a promotion to “emergency relief security guard”. This basically meant I had to travel ALL OVER the UK to relieve security guards at short notice.  I saw the whole of the UK – in my little Suzuki jeep!


After a year of living in B&B’s and being all over the UK, I took a job as a tiller on a council house project in Hemel Hampstead, on the outskirts of London

At this stage I became the “minister of transport” within the South African community of London – meaning that I will advise the ex-Pats on which vehicle to buy or which to avoid. This is because of hours of studying “used car buying guides” and magazines while working boring night shifts in the security industry…


After some “wheeling and dealing” of cars in London, I decided to head into car sales once I return to South Africa.

Six months after buying my second Suzuki Samurai jeep I applied for the export permits to South Africa…This turned into a total mess! A certain government agency lost ALL my paperwork! The outcome was for me to overstay my visa (on a holiday extension) for two months!!!

Once I returned to South Africa I started selling cars in Johannesburg at a Nissan / Alfa Romeo / Fiat dealership. After a few months the dealership went bust, so I started working for a Hyundai Used dealership in Pretoria, followed by a job at Audi Used. (With used I mean selling EVERYTHING from Audi right through the alphabet to Volvo, and everything included from Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen) I also had the privilege to drive just about every car that is for sale on the South African market – except a Ferrari or Lamborgini – but you can add to the list of samples I have driven machines like a Porche Cayenne, BMW M3, Audi RS4 and A8, Merc C55 AMG and an Alfa 156 GTA. And I can add “bread and butter” cars like Citi Golfs, Fiesta’s, Getz’s and just about every 4X4 available in South Africa. In short, I know my cars very well…


At the car dealerships I learned a lot about the automotive industry and all of its various aspects. At this stage I started to receive a lot of phone calls from old UK friends who wanted to ship their cars to South Africa…


This is how Springbok Imports started – assisting returning South Africans to get their cars in a rest assured way to South Africa.

Two years after my Suzuki jeeps were imported to South Africa, I sold my “least favourite one” at 100% profit! (Including the price bought for, shipping costs and taxes) So, if you buy the right car you can make a substantial profit after two years. It must be said that very few – if any – of my import clients bother to sell their vehicle. The sentimental value is just too great to sell it!

Over the years Springbok Imports grew from a side line business to a full-grown import business. We have assisted with the importation of countless vehicles for returning residents and immigrants from all over the world!


We also do contract work for various shipping companies all over the globe and have written articles in various publications on the subject of importing used vehicles. You can actually download the article I wrote for the SA4X4 magazine in November 2008. To download, click here………..

So, to fulfil that dream of exporting / importing your dream car, get in contact with Springbok Imports!
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