DT Dobie banks on local assembly line to drive up truck output

DT Dobie managing director Chris Ndala (left) and Mercedes-Benz truck trainer John Ngugu unveil locally assembled Mercedes Benz Actros 3340 truck on October 27, 2022. PHOTO | POOL

Motor vehicle dealer DT Dobie has moved to assemble two of its Mercedes Benz truck models in the local market in response to government incentives that seek to promote domestic production.

The company says it started assembling the Mercedes Benz Actros 3340 and 2640 models at the Thika-based Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) in May as the government moves to ban imports of used trucks. DT Dobie owns a 32.5 percent stake in KVM.

The dealer had assembled and sold a total of 67 units of the trucks at the end of September, according to data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI).

“Entry of locally assembled trucks comes at a time when the government has introduced policies regulating the importation of second-and trucks into the market,” DT Dobie's managing director Chris Ndala said.

Kenya has banned import of light and heavy-duty trucks from August 2023 in a bid to boost local industry.

The Finance Act 2022, which became operational in July this year, exempts locally assembled vehicles from major taxes that are applicable on fully-built units imported from overseas markets and provides concessions to assemblers who qualify for the tax incentives by freeing them from a requirement compelling them to source at least 30 percent of spare parts locally.

Cars manufactured abroad attract an import duty of 25 percent, excise duty of 20 percent, and VAT of 16 percent, payable cumulatively, respectively. This cost is passed on to the end consumer making imported vehicles expensive.

DT Dobie is selling the trucks for Sh16.6 million.

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