Mercedes drives past BMW in luxury car sales
Mercedes Benz regained market leadership from BMW as Kenya’s new luxury car sales grew 19.2 per cent in the first five months of the year to defy a five per cent overall drop.
Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) data shows sales of the high-capacity cars rose to 99 units in the five months to May compared to 83 units the year before. Overall, sales dropped to 4,716 from 4,960 units in a similar period.
DT Dobie’s sales of its Mercedes Benz cars dropped from 41 units to 39 units but emerged as the top-selling models, reclaiming leadership from Simba Colt’s BMW whose sales rose from 19 to 24 units.
BMW’s sales have risen the fastest in recent years, a move that saw the brand beat Mercedes for the first time by five units to stand at 16 units in the quarter ending March.
DT Dobie says it rode on renewed demand for upgraded versions of its Mercedes models to reclaim market leadership in the competitive luxury car segment.
“The Mercedes car sales were helped by facelifts of our existing models,” said Sameer Asghar, the general manager of Mercedes at DT Dobie.
The firm had earlier attributed its reduced sales in the first quarter to inadequate supplies and reversed the performance in May when it sold 19 units or half of the cars it sold in the five months.
DT Dobie also sells Jeep Grand Cherokee cars whose sales tripled to 18 units, raising the dealer’s market share in the luxury segment to 58 per cent from 56 per cent. Simba Colt also grew its market share marginally to 24 per cent from 23 per cent.
CMC Holdings, which sells Jaguar, Range Rover, Land Rover Discovery and Freelander models, raised its sales to 16 units from 13 units but its market share shrank to 18 per cent from 21 per cent.
The dealers are competing on brand reputation, price, and customer service.
They have raised the stakes with new models as they seek to capture new demand from wealthy individuals and institutions where directors account for the bulk of the purchases.
BMW is set to launch the 2012 BMW 3 series, adding to its portfolio of the brand including BMW 5 series priced between Sh9.5 million to Sh20 million, X6 (Sh13 million), X5 (Sh12 million, and X1 (Sh5.5 million).
DT Dobie’s Mercedes S class is one of the most expensive, retailing at Sh25 million. The cheapest Mercedes, C-class, retails at Sh6 million. DT Dobie has also announced plans to introduce American luxury car, Dodge, in the Kenyan market, a move that is expected to further raise competition.
CMC recently introduced Range Rover Evoque priced from Sh11 million and has sold four units of the model since the beginning of the year.
Its other brands include Range Rover Vogue retailing from ShSh16.5 million to Sh19.9 million and Range Rover Sport priced from Sh12.5 million to Sh17.3 million.
The luxury saloon car market has suffered from the government’s policy to ditch the high-end models in favour of fuel-efficient models such as Toyota and Volskwagen Passat.
The government accounted for about a third of total annual sales and its exit has seen dealers turn to companies and wealthy individuals with longer-term financing options to grow sales.