New vehicle sales hit 7,439 in seven months to July


Workers at the Isuzu East Africa Vehicle Assembly plant on Mombasa Road during December 2018 media tour. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

New motor vehicle dealers sold 7,439 units in the seven months to July, recording sustained demand as business activity recovers from an ease in coronavirus restrictions.

This represents a 34.4 percent rise from the 5,532 units that the dealers such as Isuzu East Africa, Toyota Kenya and Simba Corporation sold in the same period last year.

The Kenya Motor Industry Association data shows that demand for new vehicles has been rising in most of the months to peak at 1,187 units in July.

Local assemblers of trucks, buses and pick-ups are the biggest beneficiaries of the growing demand, selling 5,224 units in the seven-month period or 71.2 percent more than the 3,051 units recorded a year earlier.

Isuzu unit sales of its assembled commercial vehicles, for instance, rose to 2,815 from 1,739. Those of Toyota, comprising its namesake models and Hino, increased to 1,032 from 466.

The bulk of the assembled units are commercial vehicles –pick-ups, trucks and buses— though dealers are adding more passenger car models to their assembly lines.

Isuzu this month sold 43 pick-ups worth Sh189 million to a single customer –Avenue Car Hire Limited— signaling improved fortunes in the industry that took a beating from coronavirus-related restrictions early last year.

The Isuzu D-Max pick-ups are assembled locally and the car hire firm will lease them to its customers in Nanyuki and other parts of the country.

Dealers say they have ramped up production at the factory floors to meet demand as the economy emerges from a series of lockdowns that were imposed to control the pandemic.

Isuzu CEO Rita Kavashe recently said sales are strong due to back orders, adding that the industry is benefitting from the recovering economy.