Used and new vehicle dealers fight over automotive policy


Imported used cars at the port of Mombasa on April 8, 2022. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG

Used vehicle dealers and their rivals selling new models are fighting over a draft policy that seeks to grow local assembly by progressively restricting second-hand auto imports.

The battle has been disclosed in the latest annual report of the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), which says it received a complaint from an association of used car dealers.

“The authority received a complaint from Kenya Auto Bazaar Association (KABA) who lodged a complaint against new motor vehicle dealers and assemblers,” the regulator says in the report.

“The complaint alluded that new motor vehicle dealers and assemblers were proposing the operationalisation of the National Automotive Policy, whose sole aim was the imposition of a total ban on the importation of used motor vehicles to protect them from the competition.”

The policy has been in the works for years but has not been implemented. It has undergone several revisions amid lobbying by new and used vehicle dealers.

In its latest version, the policy says the government will support local motor vehicle assembly.

The document did not delve into specifics of the support but it is understood that it will include restriction of second-hand imports which the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has moved to enforce but has been stalled after a court injunction.

“The government will prioritise the production of commercial vehicles (buses, trucks and minibuses),” the policy reads in part.

“Measures will also be put in place to promote the production of passenger vehicles (saloons, station wagons, sports utility vehicles, and motorcycles.”

The CAK says it did not take any action on the complaint filed by KABA, saying it will be premature to intervene before the policy is implemented.

“The authority observed that the National Automotive Policy is a draft document still under review and as such cannot be condemned before completion,” says the CAK.

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