Kenya has witnessed the setup of German carmaker Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Thika in September 2016 and an announcement by French carmaker Peugeot to setup a plant in the country expecting to start sales of brands made locally in June 2017.
Keeping in mind the two had been in Kenya but took a pause of over 4 decades.
This is great news for the nation; no doubt. It is actually in line with the government’s “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” policy to support businesses built in Kenya.
As the hub of East Africa, Kenya seems to be a choice to lots of global businesses in their expansion strategies focusing on the region. Clearly, our potential in the automotive industry is inspiring these setups.
But, there is a roadblock!
The second-hand menace. The imported car sales accounts for close to 80% of the cars we see on our roads.
Key question here:
Are Kenyans going to buy Kenyan?
Take for instance, the Volkswagen Polo Vivo which is the new plant’s flagship model. Great car; Compact and Tough with a price tag starting at Kshs. 1.65M.
Again, I ask… Will Kenyans buy Kenyan?