GM overtakes Toyota as new car sales slip
Posted Sunday, June 24 2012 at 16:31
General Motors East Africa (GMEA) has reclaimed its leadership position in Kenya’s new vehicle market after beating its closest competitor — Toyota Kenya — in the first five-month unit sales.
Data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) show that GMEA sold 1,280 units in the five months to May compared to 1,007 units the year before, raising its market share to 27 per cent from 25 per cent in the whole of last year.
GMEA’s managing director Rita Kavashe attributed the firm’s market share growth to increased demand for its Isuzu brand of buses, pick-ups, buses, and light commercial trucks.
“The high capacity bus business has done exceptionally well recently, driven by demand after the Kenyan Government initiated a phasing out of 14 seat buses, popularly known as ‘matatus’, “ she said.
This helped it to beat Toyota Kenya that sold 1,209 units, from 1,204 units in a similar period but whose market share defied the sales slump to rise to 26 per cent compared to 24 per cent last year at the expense of rivals like Simba Colt.
Toyota had emerged tops in the first four months with a 29 per cent market share ahead of GMEA’s 25 per cent.
Toyota and GMEA have been locked in a battle for supremacy in the new vehicle market since GMEA first grabbed market leadership from Toyota in 2010, with the two rivals regularly unseating each other.
Increased demand for GMEA’s buses pushed its market share to 26.2 per cent in 2010, overtaking the 23.2 per cent of Toyota which has steadily closed the gap between it and the Isuzu dealer in recent months.
Sales in the overall industry fell five per cent to 4,716 units from 4,960 units a year earlier, with Simba Colt and CMC Holdings big drop in sales in a move that boosted market shares of GMEA, Toyota, and smaller dealers such as Tata Motors.
Lack of stocks
Simba Colt’s sales fell to 507 units from 892 units, bringing down its market share to 11 per cent from 14 per cent in the whole of 2011.
The auto dealer, which sells Mitsubishi trucks and BMW luxury saloon cars, has blamed lack of stocks for the drop in sales.
CMC’s sales dropped from 663 units to 442 units, with its market share falling to nine per cent from 12 per cent.
DT Dobie, the seller of Mercedes, Jeep, and Nissan brands, sold 662 units, down from 682 units in a similar period last year but raised its market share to 14 per cent from 12 per cent at the expense of Simba Colt and CMC.