Sales of new motor vehicles dropped 14.5 percent in the first quarter ended March in what dealers partly attributed to difficulty in accessing loans and slow registration by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).
Data from the Kenya Motor Vehicle Industry Association (KMI) shows that formal dealers sold 2,741 units in the period compared to 3,209 units the year before.
Most, including Toyota Kenya and Simba Corporation, recorded significant sales decline. Isuzu East Africa was the only major dealer to register higher sales.
Unit sales at Isuzu rose to 1,019 from 891 while those of Toyota fell to 672 from 812. Simba Corp’s sales also dropped to 487 from 514.
“The overall industry was impacted by lack of number plates and consequently slow registration by NTSA,” said Ms Rita Kavashe, the chairperson of KMI and chief executive of Isuzu East Africa.
“Access to bank loans also continues to be a challenge in the context of controlled lending rates.”
She added that the national and county governments, which account for up to a quarter of all new vehicle sales, have also reduced their orders.
Isuzu said it was able to buck the sales trend because of increased orders from SMEs following special financing deals with lenders.