Are Kenyans interested in locally manufactured vehicles?

Kenya is one of the countries that import a lot of cars from foreign countries more often. Kenyans mostly import used cars from Japan amongst other nations. However, few still purchase brand-new cars locally. There are several companies that assemble their cars in Kenya and sell them locally. Are Kenyans really interested in locally manufactured cars? or cars?

Local car assembly

Over the past decade, the Kenyan car industry has changed drastically. There has been much improvement compared to any other time in Kenya. It has been almost four years since Kenya even launched its first fully locally built car brand. Mobius is now officially a Kenyan car manufacturing company. As of last year, the brand scaled production to 8 units daily. The rate is expected to improve as time goes back. Before Mobius, there wasn’t any Kenyan car manufacturing company. However, there was assembly going on but being conducted by foreign companies such as Isuzu and Volkswagen. The introduction of Mobius was aimed at launching a fully Kenyan car that wasn’t a partnership with any foreign company. That has been achieved so far. The main issue arises at the point of consumption.

Local car consumption trends

Mobius

As we noted at the beginning, many cars on the Kenyan roads come from Japan and other countries. This import situation brings down the demand for locally manufactured cars. Many Kenyans consider imported cars of higher quality and cheaper to buy. As a result, few brand new cars are bought every year. In a bid to fix this, the government has been increasing the import duty and value-added tax over the years to scale down the number of car imports. This might open up the local market a little bit.

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Are the locally assembled cars sufficient?

Someone might ask if the production is really sufficient to cater to the Kenyan population. It is quite evident that the overall production is still low and it might prove insufficient for the Kenyan population. It is possible that the Kenyan government is not yet ready to impose a ban on imported cars this moment. However, it is important to note that, with the fast-growing automotive industry in Kenya, Kenya might be ready to sufficiently supply its population with cars by 2030. However, until then, it will remain difficult for the local car manufacturing industry.

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Are Kenyans interested?

cars in Kenya

Kenyans show a high appetite for imported cars and most of them claim that they are better off. However, until a change is actually seen in the local market, Kenyans might not be serious about buying cars locally. Taking Mobius for example, the car company manufactures a few cars every year.

It is still not possible to scale to large-scale manufacturing considering the demand and resources available. The main reason why Kenyans might be a little less interested in locally manufactured cars like Mobius is most likely the price. A single unit goes for up to Ksh.3,000,000. This might be a small discouraging factor but it has a great impact.

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When they compare this to the price of importing a used car from Japan, they most likely would go for the importing option. This shows that Kenya is still not ready to supply its own cars fully. Kenyans might also not be very interested in locally manufactured cars.

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