Economy

Kenyans increase car orders by 25pc despite soaring prices

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GRAPHIC | STANSLAUS MANTHI | NMG

The number of cars registered by Kenyans in the first nine months of the year increased by 25 percent compared to last year, defying soaring prices.

Official data published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics reveal that Kenyans registered 72,982 vehicles in the three quarters up from 57,978 in the same period last year.

Units registered in the period to September this year are the highest since 2019 when the units stood at 80,289.

The growth in vehicle acquisition comes at a time when most Kenyans are hurting from the high cost of living, increased taxation and rising fuel prices.

Globally vehicle prices witnessed a jump in prices as a result of rising production costs that in turn limited those abroad from acquiring newer units and disposing of their used cars to developing countries.

The fall in supply of used cars from abroad coupled with the depreciating shilling, have made the cost of all imports soar.

According to the official exchange rate by the Central Bank of Kenya, the shilling, which is the biggest factor fueling the rise has shed 19 percent of its value since the year began to exchange at a low of 152 for unit of the US dollar.

Dealers in the car market have attributed the rise in vehicle acquisitions to financing arrangements by banks and other financial institutions.

Further analysis reveals that trailers were the biggest driver of the growth almost tripling from 1,654 in the first three quarters of last year to 4,407.

Mini-buses and pickups, which are mostly assembled locally recorded remarkable growths over the period rising by 97.5 percent and 68.6 percent respectively.

Station wagons and hatchbacks which are highly preferred because of their practicality and fuel economy accounted for 58 percent of total registrations in the period.

Lorries accounted for 13 percent of registrations while pickups came in third showing increased appetite in the transport business.

Previous analysis by the Business Daily revealed that unit prices had risen by up to 40 percent in a span of five months.

A Toyota Landcruiser V8 that was priced at Sh11.5 million at the end of December last year was quoted at Sh16.5 million at the end of April this year.

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