Japanese car maker Toyota Motor Corporation has opened its first garage on Thika Road amid a plan to widen its service network in the country.
The garage, launched in a deal with Toyotsu Auto Mart Kenya, will provide spare parts, repair and maintenance as the automaker plans reversal of a trend that has most car owners seeking these services from non-Toyota affiliated garages in the city.
The facility dubbed ‘Japanese Vehicle Service Centre’ will offer competitively priced services, the firm said.
“We have a plan to increase the number of partner garages up to 15 throughout Kenya in 2-3 years, mainly in urban areas such as Nairobi. This will be extended to not only Kenya but also other African countries,” Toyota said in a statement.
If priced moderately, the move is likely to step up competition with local car garages that may be forced to lower their pricing.
Toyota controls about 57 percent of the Kenyan market for both new and used cars ahead of Nissan Motor Corporation at 12 percent, according to data by the Kenya Revenue Authority.
This means that nearly 6 in every 10 vehicles on Kenyan roads are Toyotas.
Some of the most popular makes include Probox whose sales in the 22 months to October 2018 stood at 14,188 units, followed by Corolla (10,786), Land Cruiser (8,110), Hiace (5,353) and Vitz (5,468).
Toyota Probox sales have grown over the years owing to the car’s versatility that enables ferrying of goods and passengers especially in more remote and marginalised parts of the country.
Brand new Toyota cars are sold through the local franchise in addition to second-hand imports by local dealers that form the majority of the firm’s cars on Kenyan roads.
Toyota trailed Isuzu Motors in sales of new cars in the 4 months to April 2019, according to the latest industry data by the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMIA).
Toyota sold 925 units in the first four months of the year while Isuzu moved 1,485 new cars.
Early this year, Toyota signed a deal with fellow Japanese car manufacturer Suzuki to sell seven models under the Toyota Kenya distributorship in efforts to increase its revenues.
The seven include Alto with an engine capacity of 800CC, Swift (1200CC), Ciaz (1500CC), Jimny (1500C) and the Vitara (1600CC).