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Questions about importing/buying Cars in Bamako

Dear Expats,

My wife and I will be moving to Bamako in the first quarter of Protected content , from the US. We will need to buy a car, and want some information.

1) My most important question is this: how much can we expect to pay for a regular car (a sedan or coupe, instead of a 4x4/Jeep/SUV/Truck/Van)? We don't need anything fancy or shiny, just a reliable well aged used car that won't break down all the time.

2) How important is it to have a 4x4/Jeep/Truck/SUV/Van, or will a regular small car with a lower clearance be good enough for driving around in Bamako?

3) How can we find cars for sale? By word of mouth, or are there some places people advertise? Such as forums or email lists or bulletin boards. Is it better to buy it from someone in the expat community? Are there dealerships around?

4) Lastly, we do have a decent car in the US already. If it's cheaper and easier just shipping our car overseas, instead of buying one there, we would rather do that. Does anyone know how much we can expect to pay for shipping? And what local fees and import taxes will we have to pay in Mali to get our car there if we decided to do this? I have heard about the "douane", can you please elaborate on that? Is the process extremely difficult?

Sorry about the million questions. Coming in fresh to a new country is tough. Thanks for ANY help or guidance you can provide!! :)

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