India's Mahindra auto plans regional hub in Nairobi
Posted Monday, July 2 2012 at 17:24
Indian automaker Mahindra plans to open its regional hub in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, by March 2013.
The firm also plans to begin assembling some of its vehicles locally.
The firm has re-entered the Kenyan auto market through Xylon Motors; a wholly owned subsidiary of Simba Corporation as its sole Kenyan distributor for its range of sport utility vehicles (SUV) and light commercial vehicles such as pick-ups and small trucks.
Sanjay Jadhav, the Senior Manager in charge of exports to Africa and the Middle East said that the vehicle manufacturer will focus on growing its market share in the utility and light commercial vehicle segments.
“We have witnessed high demand for such vehicles,” said Mr Jadhav. “Our pick-ups and trucks have a higher payload and are thus able to haul more,” he said yesterday while launching the latest Mahindra sports utility vehicle dubbed XUV 500.
Mahindra said it is currently engaging Simba Corporation, which locally assembles Mitsubishi trucks and buses, on the possibility of setting up an assembly line in Kenya for its pick-ups and trucks.
“The Kenyan market has good incentives for companies wishing to assemble their vehicles locally, and we are exploring that possibility,” said Mr Dinesh Kotecha, the executive director of Simba Corporation.
The Indian conglomerate is eying entry into the Ugandan and South Sudan markets and says it will restructure its operations in Tanzania and Rwanda once the Nairobi office is established.
The vehicle manufacturer had previously in 1993 supplied the Kenya Police with about 1,000 Mahindra Jeeps but exited the Kenyan market thereafter in what the firm said was an ‘unsuccessful strategy.’