Sean became a Kenyan citizen in 2005 affirming his intention to stay in Kenya and Africa for good and started Sean Garstin Motors in conjunction with St. Austin’s Service Station on Ngong Rd – a high visibility site with excellent service facilities.
“I have been close friends with the Karmali family for many years and I wanted to work with them, knowing it would prove beneficial to all parties,” Sean said. “Between us all, we make one hell of team!” he added. The Karmali family are the owners of St. Austin’s, Bosch Kenya and Concord Motors.
Because the new venture proved to be more successful than initially expected, it was moved to Jacaranda Motors on James Gichuru Rd, Lavington in November 2008. Here Sean has built a very impressive office with a visible display area for the quality used cars he sells.
Sean Garstin Motors is very excited as we have just signed a 15 year” back to back” lease with Jacaranda Motors and thus have a permanent home for the next 15 years at least.
“The premises in Lavington have proved to be very successful. We now have ample display along with a very smart and friendly office. Here we also have access to an excellent general workshop, Jacaranda Motors plus their fully equipped panel shop and “state of the art “St.Austins Service Centre newly relocated to Lavington – all in all, a “one stop shop!” says Sean.
His first three years in operation were fun, a huge learning curve and with the help of an old Mombasa friend, Simon McCreed, he has become a bit of an expert on importing used cars from Japan.
“There we buy live,( for our clients & for a small “selected” stock we keep in Japan awaiting a sale) on auction because that way the auctioneers guarantee the authenticity of the vehicles,” Sean says. “Since its conception in February 2007, we have as of 1st August 2019 sold just over 1,100 cars of which more than 550 units have been imported from Japan, UK, Thailand & Australia. Every vehicle has been perfect and we have never had to use the 6 month warranty we give each car! – Mind you we go to a lot of trouble sourcing the correct ones with the invaluable help of our Japanese counterparts,” says Sean.
One of his two sons has followed his father’s footsteps in the motor industry. He is a sales executive with Market Toyota in Cape Town & according to his boss, is doing extremely well as “top gun” there.
Perhaps one day, he will put this experience to good use, come to Kenya & take over the reins from Dad, Sean says.