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Survey: Toyota and Subaru most preferred car brands in Kenya

By Wainaina Wambu | September 15th 2021

Toyota Hilux.

Japanese cars have remained the most preferred automotive brand for the Kenyan market. Toyota topped the list of personal cars with a 72 per cent preference followed by Subaru at 12 per cent according to a new report by Sagaci Research.

The report provides 2021 insights into car ownership and preferences across Africa. Third place was taken by the German brand Mercedes-Benz, with another Japanese automaker Honda taking the fourth position.

BMW was placed fifth. “Across Africa, in the South, East and West, Toyota was one of the most popular choices in terms of respondents who were aware of and had ever purchased the brand,” noted the report by the firm which provides market research and data analytics for African markets.

“Toyota poses a real competition to its German rivals in certain parts of the continent, as well as highlighting interesting differences between demographic groups.”

In South Africa, Volkswagen ranked first, followed by Toyota, Ford, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Hyundai and Audi. “In addition to Toyota and Mercedes which were popular across the continent, Peugeot ranked highly within Western African nations, whereas Subaru and Nissan were popular in the East,” noted the report.

However, according to data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association, Toyota was the second-highest vehicle seller in the country after Isuzu, selling 1,352 new units in the first six months of the year.

Subaru sold 19 new units from local authorised dealers.

Government data notes that second-hand car models make up more than 85 per cent of the imported fully built units in Kenya, with the bulk coming from Japan.

Sagaci Research managing director Julien Garcier said the report would help explain some cultural norms and inequalities existing within certain countries for women and the lower classes.

“While in Europe, ownership of cars is slightly declining in favour of shared ownership or rental, car ownership still has a long way to go across the African continent and remains a distant dream for many. Some brands have figured this out and seem to be surfing the wave… but this changes rapidly,” he said.

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