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New luxury car sales drop 48pc in 2019

Jaguar E-Pace
A Jaguar E-Pace at Inchcape showroom in Nairobi. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA  

Sales of new luxury cars dropped 47.9 percent in the year ended December, recording a larger slump compared to orders in the overall new vehicle market.

Data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) shows that unit sales of all the high-end brands including Porsche, Land Rover and Mercedes fell to 142 in the review period compared to 273 the previous year.

The decline was much deeper than the eight percent sales slump in the overall new vehicle market to 13,199 units during the same period.

Reduced demand for the high-end cars, whose prices can top the Sh20 million mark, has been linked to a mix of factors including franchise and supply chain disruptions in the industry.

Industry insiders say that the government’s increased scrutiny of luxury spending and large cash transactions have also contributed to the sales slump.

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There have also been stockouts of several luxury car models following global manufacturer’s production decisions and changes in the ownership of local franchises.

Porsches and Bentleys, for instance, were out of stock for four months until May 2019 in what the local dealerships attributed to delays in sourcing.

Unit sales of Porsche dropped to 27 in the review period from 51 a year earlier while those of Bentley declined to three from five.

BMW sales also suffered after the German car franchise was transferred from Simba Corporation to rival Inchcape Kenya early last year.

BMW orders dropped to 17 from 31, with Inchcape only starting to sell the cars in June 2019.

Sales of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) models were impacted by the transfer of the franchise from RMA Kenya to Inchcape Kenya.

Combined unit sales of Jaguar, by RMA and Inchcape, dropped to seven from 22 over the same period.

The two firms also saw their combined sales of Land Rover models decline to 41 from 114. Sales of Mercedes, by DT Dobie, likewise fell to 47 from 50.

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