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Kenya May 2012: Isuzu Pick-up dominates models ranking

The new gen Isuzu Double Cab will launch in Kenya in 2013

* See more pictures, Top 5 best-selling models and Top 10 brands by clicking on the title! *

Thanks to Myk, today we have our second contribution to the Africa Project and for the first time ever on BSCB I can now share with you a models ranking for Kenya! I have contacted the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) to see whether this could become a monthly occurrence… But first let’s look at the Kenyan car market as a whole. The higher cost of credit has meant new car sales are down 5% year-on-year in May to 1,085 units after going up by 10% over the Full Year 2011…

South African Isuzu KB on their way to Kenya

Growth in the agriculture and construction sectors is driving demand for commercial vehicles, with pick-up trucks accounting for 35% of total sales and heavy commercial vehicles at 27%. Even though used car sales figures are still five times higher than new cars, users of commercial vehicles cannot risk buying used cars and still prefer new ones. As a result, commercial vehicles totally dominate the models ranking in Kenya – in contrast to my observation of the streets of Nairobi, which had led me to believe the Toyota Corolla was the best-seller in the country. Nothing like official figures to get the right picture!

Isuzu and Land Rover have a history of strong sales in Kenya. Pictures by Marcel Oosterwijk and Art Nahpro, all rights reserved.

Brand-wise, Isuzu is by far the king of the Kenyan new vehicle market with 381 sales and 35.1% share in May, followed by Toyota at 18.2%, Nissan at 9.6%, Mitsubishi at 9.5% and Tata at 5.7%. And the much anticipated models ranking is full of surprises: the Isuzu Double Cab leads the way at 90 units and 8.3% share, followed by its Single Cab version with 45 sales and 4.1% and its Station Wagon version at 36 units and 3.3%. In actual fact the Isuzu KB (aka D-Max), imported from South Africa, holds almost 16% of the market with all versions combined…

Lion (and Land Rover Defender). Picture by ThomasChamberlin, all rights reserved.

Delivering its best result anywhere in the world so far (in the absence of official data for most African countries) and the vehicle of choice for safari tour operators, the Land Rover Defender 110TD Station Wagon ranks 4th in Kenya in May with 31 sales and 2.9% share, ahead of the Isuzu FRR 33-Large Bus at 30 units and 2.8%.

The Foton SUP/Slip Double Cab Pick-up is now assembled in Kenya

Another very interesting development in the Kenyan car industry and one that is starting to characterise more and more African countries is the arrival of Chinese manufacturers, now setting up assembling plants locally. Commercial vehicle manufacturer Beiqi Foton launched its first domestically produced truck, the Foton Slip/SUP Double Cab pick-up, in June 2011 using an existing local factory, and has opened its own US$50m assembly plant in Nairobi last March – two months ahead of schedule – with a capacity of 10,000 annual units.

Chery will be the next Chinese carmaker to invest in Kenya. According to Justus Nguu, director of Chery’s local franchise holder Stantech Motors, Chery is now in negotiations with the Chinese government to secure financing of US$50m for a Kenyan plant, which the carmaker plans to open in 2013, aiming to produce 1,000 units that year.

Previous post: Kenya 2011: Toyota Corolla a long-time favourite

Full May 2012 Top 5 models and Top 10 brands Ranking Table below.

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