Vehicle makers in tight competition to meet varied tastes of consumers
The entry of Tata Motors in the locally assembled vehicles space increases Kenyans’ choices on how they want their trucks built for specific uses and tastes and how much they want to pay for the same.
New car manufacturer, Mobius that has since sold 60 units runs an online platform where Kenyans can ‘build’ their own vehicles determining add-ons from choice of colour, alloy rims, entertainment units, air conditioning as well as the number of seats before placing an order.
Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicles President and chief executive K K Kim said they were determined to revolutionalise the commercial vehicle industry in Kenya and across the region by availing the latest global technologies while building trucks that respond to the needs of their customers.
To meet the various tastes by customers across the region, Daewoo said its production for various brands will be dictated by customer demand with locally assembled Daewoo buses expected to be rolled out within the next six months.
In January, Chinese automaker Foton Motor Kenya Limited rolled out its first trucks in a move it said was aimed at cementing its place in the Kenyan market. The firm will have its trucks also assembled at the AVA plant in Mombasa.
When he spoke during the launch of the vehicles, Foton general manager Apple Sun said the company is targeting Kenya’s construction, transport and mining sector where it wants to at least have assembled and dispatched more than 100 trucks in the first year of the deal.
“As practitioner of the initiative started by the chairman of China Mr Xi Jinping, Foton Motors set a long term strategic plan in Kenya and Africa. Today we have officially realised the localisation of our main value factors,” Mr Sun said during the launch in January.
Mr Leekha said the decision to assemble the vehicles in Kenya was informed by the need to meet increasing demand for Daewoo trucks. He said the demand for Daewoo trucks is supported by both the construction and transport sectors.
“Our plan is to achieve 100 per cent of vehicle assembly to be here in the near future. We are currently in the process of assembling Daewoo buses and the first fleet will be out in the next six months,” said Mr Leekha.
Mr Kwan-Kju said the launch of the assembly line marked an important turn in the company’s expansion in the Kenyan market. More than 20,000 Daewoo trucks are operating in 40 countries, with Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Algeria being the leading markets, according to the automaker.