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New luxury car sales down 10pc

The Mercedes E-Class four door luxury saloon on October 27, 2016 at the Arboretum Forest in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG
The Mercedes E-Class four door luxury saloon on October 27, 2016 at the Arboretum Forest in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Sales of new luxury cars in Kenya dropped 10.6 per cent in the first half of the year, mirroring the overall downturn in the new vehicles market that has been hit by an economic slowdown.

Data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) shows that sales of high-end cars such as Porsche and Mercedes stood at 118 units in the period compared to 132 a year earlier.

Total sales in the new vehicle market dropped 19.8 per cent to 5,738 units in the same period. Luxury car dealers say their orders have declined owing to tighter credit markets, uncertainty over the upcoming general election and business slowdown.

“A lot of businesses are not doing well,” said a luxury car dealer who did not wish to be named.

“Banks are not lending as easily as they used to and the elections have also inspired a wait-and-see attitude.”

All the luxury car brands recorded a drop in sales except BMW and Mercedes whose sales rose 144.4 and 21.8 per cent respectively to stand at 22 and 39 units respectively in the review period.

Sales of Jaguars declined the most at 58.8 per cent to seven units, followed by Jeep Grand Cherokee’s 50 per cent to four units. Porsche orders fell 43.3 per cent to 17 units while those of Land Rover dropped 19.4 per cent to 29 units. The high-end cars are sold by different dealers, with some holding franchises for multiple brands.

Mercedes and Jeep are sold by DT Dobie while BMW’s dealer is Bavaria Auto Limited, a subsidiary of Simba Corporation. RMA Kenya is the dealer of Jaguar and Land Rover models including Ranger Rover and Discovery. Porsches are sold by Porsche Centre Nairobi, an affiliate of logistics firm Multiple Group.

Competition in the luxury car segment has increased with the entry of more players, with rivals betting on new models, competitive pricing and enhanced service and warranties to grow sales among rich and middle class clients.

Multiple Group, for instance, is set to expand its luxury cars portfolio after it was appointed the local dealer of Bentley.

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