Car dealers target middle class as demand for luxury vehicles rises

The latest entrant into the competitive market is the American model Ford Mustang, which was launched on Friday and left many social media tongues wagging. The vehicle will be available in CMC Holdings showrooms. PHOTO: COURTESY

Kenya’s luxury car market is booming, with new models being launched by the day to cash in on the growing middle class.

The latest entrant into the competitive market is the American model Ford Mustang, which was launched on Friday and left many social media tongues wagging. The vehicle will be available in CMC Holdings showrooms.

The Ford Mustang has gone beyond its transportation utility to become a collector’s item, and has made more than 9,000 appearances in Hollywood movies, mega music videos and video games. The Mustang has a rich 50-year heritage.

This is the first time the Mustang is available in Kenya and the eager buyers will be choosing between 2.3 litre and five-litre engines.

Speaking during the launch, US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said: “The launch of the Mustang in Kenya is a clear sign that Ford Motor Company and the CMC Group are betting on the Kenyan market. It is a sign of confidence in doing business here – in a positive and fun way for Kenyan car enthusiasts.”

The Ford Mustang comes after the launch of a new luxury model, the Pajero Sport, a week ago, a brand sponsored by Mitsubishi Motors. The vehicle was made available in the local market by Simba Corporation.

“The launch of the model is part of our promise to respond to customer feedback, while at the same time quenching their thirst for owning superior cars. It is also part of our strategy to continue building on our brands and ensuring we give our customers the best products,” explained Mitsubishi Motors Brand Manager Faruk Alibhai.

His comments also allude to rising demand for expensive sports cars in the country.

After exiting the Kenyan market 25 years ago, Indian car manufacturer, Mahindra, returned in a zealous way, specifically targeting the luxury car market segment.

In June this year, the car maker announced a partnership with Simba Corporation that saw the motor firm sell Mahindra’s new XUV500 model. The latest Mahindra competes against Nissan Pathfinder and Chevrolet Trailblazer, leading Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs).

Mahindra Executive Director Pawan Goenka announced that the price of the XUV500 will be 50 per cent lower than that of its competitors, and will retail at Sh3.45 million.

Jeremy Nemeth, the CEO of Ford Motor Company’s sub-Saharan Africa operations, reckons that Kenya’s luxury car segment grew by 4 per cent last year and expects further growth as private companies and individuals show taste for luxury vehicles.