Japanese firm eyes Kenyan wholesale and retail used vehicle parts market


Spare parts at a shop. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Japanese trading firm Kaiho Industry Co. Limited has set sights on both wholesale and retail clients as its auction for used automotive spare parts and accessories gets underway.

On Wednesday, the company started operations in Nairobi with the first auction day attracting local automotive parts dealers and suppliers with the firm seeing Kenya as the gateway to the wider East African used parts market.

“Our dream is to bring spare parts to Kenya. We have a lot of customers who travel to Japan for spare parts. We thought it would be better to bring the spare parts home,” noted Kaiho’s African Business Consultant Lucy Koyama. “We are not necessarily targeting big wholesalers, anybody can bid.” The firm is registering bidders to participate in the auction, currently set for twice a month.

Deals in the sale will be paid for using mobile money and settled in Kenya shillings. Local automotive parts dealers who sourced for parts from Kaiho in Japan and from other dealers overseas, are expected to benefit from the local auction by eliminating the need for importation while delivering savings in foreign exchange.

“We have been partners with Kaiho for many years and have been making orders for spare parts from Japan. We appreciate them starting a local auction as we can now order for parts from here,” said a spare parts dealer with a shop along Nairobi’s Kirinyaga Road.

The Japanese firm says it will increase the frequency of sales in tandem with customer demand while the company is eyeing online deals in the long term to reach buyers in other East African markets.

“To start with, we intend to have an auction twice a month then once a week depending on the reception we get from our customers. We will be looking to offload 10 to 20 containers of spare parts a month,” said Koyama.

The multinational firm has set up shop at the Atlantis Business Park near the Embakasi Inland Container Depot (ICD).

Bidders in the auction are required to register and bid online where winning bids will be expected to meet the reserve price for each item sold.

The auction model is expected to widely differ from the current market for used spare parts where customers and dealers negotiate for price points.

Among the items stocked by the auction include engines, gear boxes, headlights, door and door parts, nose cuts and bumpers.

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