Workers at the Isuzu East Africa Vehicle Assembly plant on Mombasa Road during December 2018 media tour. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG
New motor vehicle sales increased 30.2 percent to 12,750 units in the 11 months to November, up from 9,792 units a year earlier.
The performance puts the formal vehicle industry on course to beat the 2020 full- year sales by a significant margin, according to data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI).
The dealers including Toyota Kenya, Isuzu East Africa and Simba Corp saw their 2020 sales drop 15.2 percent to 10,977 units as they took a hit from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first coronavirus case in the country was recorded in mid-March last year, killing hundreds and setting off a panic and pandemic-containment measures that dealt the economy a major blow.
More than a million people lost their jobs while most of the remaining workers took pay cuts, with sectors such as tourism, transport and real estate suffering the most.
The dealers’ sales have rebounded strongly this year as the economy recovers following the gradual elimination of most of the pandemic-related restrictions.
Dealers assembling their vehicles locally have benefited the most from the sales rebound, with most of the orders being commercial vehicles such as buses, pick-ups and trucks.
The share of locally assembled vehicles rose to a record 70.5 percent of sales in the 11-month period, moving 8,993 units compared to 3,756 of fully-built imported vehicles.
Isuzu recorded a 30.6 percent sales growth in the review period to 4,983 units, representing a 39.1 percent market share.
Isuzu exclusively sells its namesake commercial vehicles comprising pick-ups, buses, trucks and SUVs (sport utility vehicles).
Toyota’s sales jumped 41 percent to 3,212 units, giving it a 25.2 percent market share.
The dealer sells its namesake and Hino passenger cars, pick-ups and trucks.
The formal dealers continue to gain as the economy recovers from the shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic though a global shortage of semiconductors presents new risks of supply disruption and higher vehicle prices.
Global automakers including Toyota and Volkswagen are cutting their production in the wake of inadequate supply of semiconductors –a key component of vehicles’ electronic parts.