By Jackson Okoth
General Motors East Africa (GMEA) has upgraded its assembly plant to increase the firm’s trucks and buses portfolio.
The Sh100million upgrade will increase GMEA’s vehicle production capacity by about 30 per cent, pushing up competition within this segment.
GMEA is banking on a transition in the public transport sector from the 14-seater mataus to larger capacity buses, to push up its sales figures.
“A change in legislation to higher occupancy vehicles has been a big boost in our end, considering that the market has responded to it. Low interest rates have also been a big plus to us since 80 per cent of our customers buy vehicles via loans,” said GMEA Managing Director, Rita Kavashe.
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Increased demand for buses and trucks in the Sub Saharan Africa helped the firm’s Isuzu brand top the vehicles export market last year.
Data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association indicates that Isuzu sold 215 units of trucks, buses and pick-ups out of 446 vehicle units last year. In the same year, CMC motors came second after exporting 94 units, with other motor dealers exporting less than 10 units each.
But while the firm’s commercial vehicles segment has been supported by the increased activity in the construction, manufacturing and transport sectors, its saloon division was hurt by costly price tags and a growing second-hand cars market. Figures indicate that GMEA’s unit sales stood at 3,421 last year, compared to 3,150 in 2011, reflecting a growth of 8.6 per cent.