Marshall East Africa Limited has lost the KIA car franchise to Portuguese car dealer Caetano after the latter announced the new partnership last week.
The company brings KIA’s franchise exclusively, a range of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in the Kenyan market, adding to its portfolio of other companies like Hyundai and Renault.
KIA had been in the market earlier through Marshall East Africa Limited, which has remained dormant after losing major lucrative brands, including Peugeot and Tata.
The new KIA SUVs — Sonet, Seltos, Sportage and Sorento range from Sh4 million to Sh12 million.
“The models launched are engineered and adopted for the Kenyan market. They are built through synthesising customer insights, pioneering segment-leading features, and designed to naturally fit into the lives of the customers,” said Yaser Shabsogh, KIA chief operations officer Middle East and Africa.
The Sonet is built for young buyers. The Seltos SUV offers a 1.6-litre petrol engine and is smaller than the Sportage.
The Sportage has a muscular design offering five seats and room for cargo. This car is rivalled by Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Volkswagen Tiguan, Subaru Forester and Ford Escape.
The Sorento is a seven-seater which will be sold for the first time in the Kenyan Market.
“Caetano Kenya is very excited to add KIA to its family of brands. In today’s launch, we have introduced four models but we aim to go further by providing a more diversified range of products,” said Pedro Campos Caetano’s managing director.
Five-seater SUVs in Kenya include BMW X5 while seven-seaters include Isuzu MU-X 2022.
The government has been working closely with the private sector organizations to drive policy implementation and create an enabling environment for investors in the automotive sector and beyond.
“This year after a long time, the Cabinet Secretary approved what is known as the National Automotive Policy and submitted it to parliament. The policy will assist in facilitating investment in the automotive industry in the country and this launch falls squarely within the policy,” said George Makateto, director for State Department for Industrialization.
“Another area the Government is looking at is sustainability in this sector, we are hoping the country will increase usage of electric vehicles; I am aware that Salvador Caetano has some electric vehicles under their brands and we hope in the future they will consider locally assembled ones,” added Mr Makateto.
“Assembling these parts locally is on our agenda, once we meet the government needs and are allowed to, we will plan the way forward,” said Mr Campos.