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India’s Ashok to set up assembly plant in Kenya

By Lee Mwiti | Jan 19th 2017 | 2 min read
By Lee Mwiti | January 19th 2017
Drivers stand next to Ashok Leyland trucks in Mumbai in this file photo. {Photo Courtesy: REUTERS}

Indian vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland will soon open a bus assembly plant in Kenya, Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed has said.

Mr Mohamed, who made the confirmation on Tuesday during a visit to the Ashok Leyland assembly plant in India, also said he had engagements with Ashok’s top management and any hurdles that could derail the planned investment had been cleared.

“Ashok Leyland will be establishing an assembly plant in Kenya following engagements with their leaders in India,” announced the CS on his official twitter handle.

Indian leading daily, The Times of India quoted Ashok Leyland senior vice president (Global Buses) T Venkataraman saying the assembly is part of Ashok’s expansion into the African market.

Apart from catering for local demand, Mr Venkataraman said the assembly plant will also serve the rest of the East African region.

“We are setting up a bus assembly plant in Kenya through a wholly-owned subsidiary. This plant will have an annual capacity of 1,200 buses,” Mr Venkataraman told the Times of India.

The firm is particularly known for assembling buses and huge commercial trucks.

Ashok Leyland becomes the latest global manufacturer to make foray into the Kenya market. The firm’s trucks and buses are currently marketed in the country by TruckMart East Africa.

The appetite by international car brands to open assembly plants in Kenya has been high in recent years, with a number of them already pitched tent or shown interest in setting up operations.

On December 21, last year, Volkswagen Group unveiled its first locally assembled passenger vehicle after four decades in a ceremony presided by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The German automaker had already established its production line at the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturing plant in Thika.

In his Jamhuri Day speech, President Uhuru revealed plans by Paris-based conglomerate Peugeot to establish a local assembly plant following talks with the Government to that effect.

Peugoet later gave a statement which confirmed that it will be signing up with one of the two local vehicle assemblers - Mombasa-based Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) or Thika-based Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) - to start a production line.

Other international brands that have set up base in the local market in recent years are Japanese automaker Toyota, which in 2013 established an assembly plant at Changamwe in Mombasa as well as Chinese car manufacturer Foton, which also set up base in the country in the same year.

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