Workers at the Isuzu East Africa Vehicle Assembly plant on Mombasa Road during December 2018 media tour. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG
Isuzu East Africa has sold 43 pick-ups worth Sh189 million to Avenue Car Hire Limited, marking one of the significant purchases by a single customer in the new vehicle market.
The Isuzu D-Max pick-ups are assembled locally and the car hire firm will lease them to its customers in Nanyuki and other parts of the country.
The sale signals increased demand that has benefitted vehicle assemblers, with data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) showing that their orders rose 80 percent in the six months ended June.
The formal dealers led by Isuzu, Toyota Kenya and Simba Corp produced 4,357 vehicles in the period, up from 2,425 the year before in what players attributed to pent-up demand arising from the reopening of the economy.
The bulk of the assembled units are commercial vehicles –pick-ups, trucks and buses— though dealers are adding more passenger car models to their assembly lines.
Dealers say they have ramped up production at the factory floors to meet demand as the economy emerges from a series of lockdowns that were imposed to control the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The first half has been strong because of back orders,” Rita Kavashe, Isuzu’s chief executive officer, said in a recent interview.
“The economy is recovering from the depths of last year,” she added.
Isuzu, which has a plant in Nairobi’s Industrial Area, increased its unit output by 922 to assemble 2,323 of its namesake vehicles in the review period. Toyota, a customer of Thika-based Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers, raised its production by 526 to 856 units of its namesake and Hino models.