Volkswagen Polo Vivo, the first passenger car to be assembled in Kenya, has recorded sluggish sales of 55 units since its launch in December.
Orders for the car, which is sold by DT Dobie, gives it a market share of about one per cent of all saloon car sales in the country, according to data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) and Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
DT Dobie priced the Polo Vivo at Sh1.65 million as part of its strategy to attract price-sensitive middle class households who have preferred to buy used cars.
The motor dealer also added a warranty of three years or 120,000 kilometres but the sales performance in the six months ended June show the market is yet to warm up to the car on a significant scale.
DT Dobie will be looking at the government to boost sales of the Polo Vivo, with Industrialisation secretary Adan Mohamed having announced that the State had committed to buy 300 of the hatchbacks each year to promote its local assembly.
More dealers including Urysia (the Peugeot dealer) are looking at assembling their car brands locally to benefit from exemption from a 25 per cent import duty levied on fully-built imports.
While new cars last longer and have relatively little maintenance costs, their pricing has traditionally kept off most individual buyers who go for used models from Japan and other markets.
Second¬hand cars sell from as low as Sh700,000 depending on the model, year of manufacture and its condition.
The government, private companies, non-governmental organisations and wealthy individuals are the main buyers of new cars, most of which are priced between Sh2.5 million and Sh10 million.
DT Dobie earlier said the Polo Vivo’s pricing and its features makes it a compelling offer to those seeking value for money.
The car has a 1.4 litre engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, dual airbags, air conditioning, alloy wheels, under body protection, alarm, central locking and raised suspension. Other features include radio and Bluetooth connections.