Companies

Inchcape targets mass market with Chinese car franchise

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Inchcape Africa Managing Director Francis Agbonlahor during an interview at Delta Annex, Nairobi on November 30, 2023. PHOTO | BONFACE BOGITA | NMG

Inchcape Kenya has acquired a Chinese franchise called Changan Automotive Limited as it seeks to tap into the mass market.

The dealer had previously focused exclusively on the luxury automotive market with its Jaguar, BMW and Land Rover models. It also sells BMW motorbikes. Changan is a Chinese state-owned automobile manufacturer headquartered in Jiangbei, Chongqing and China's oldest automobile maker founded in 1862.

The partnership has been sealed by the arrival of six new models from Changan, including a sedan, an SUV, single and double cabin pick-ups and a minivan. “I’m happy with our new partnership with Changan, one of the top-selling brands in China, and our footprint as Inchcape will be a unique and strategic collaboration that will see both companies add value to the customer by providing competitively priced vehicles,” said Mr Francis Agbonlahor, managing director at Inchcape Africa whose parent firm is UK-based Inchcape Plc.

Inchcape said it already represents Changan in other countries including Djibouti and Tanzania.

The company known for its luxury brands says the pricing for the Changan vehicles will be competitive with the SUV going for about Sh5 million inclusive of value-added tax (VAT).

“Looking at our strategic partnership with Changan, we are very clear about the future, we plan to locally assemble because both companies believe and are committed to adding value in the local market in which we operate, we will be introducing electric vehicles into Kenya and other East African market,” added Mr Agbonlahor.

The demand for new vehicles in Kenya has this year slumped to the lowest levels since the pandemic on the back of rising prices as a result of a weakening shilling, elevated inflation and climbing credit costs.

According to Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMIA) data, local sales for the first nine months of the year fell by double-digits to 8,715 units compared with 9,868 units in a similar period a year ago.

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