This is after Isuzu East Africa announced plans to start assembling its D-Max pick-up trucks in Kenya and end the tradition of importing ready-made light commercial vehicles from South Africa.
“Our import tariffs are lower on the (knocked down) KD kits, we (will) create employment and we (will) positively influence employee and customer morale by assembling the Isuzu D-Max locally," Rita Kavashe, MD of Isuzu East Africa, said in a statement.
The move will see the car company enjoy tax benefits that will result in cheaper selling price of its Isuzu D-Max pick-up trucks locally. As a rule, dealers who assemble vehicles locally are exempted from the 25% import duty levied on fully-built imported vehicles, an incentive that gives room for assemblers to produce cheaper vehicles in the country.
An Isuzu D-Max Double Cab vehicle currently retails at about Sh3.85 million ($385,000), according to details on Isuzu’s website.
Isuzu now joins French carmaker Peugeot and Germany’s Volkswagen who assemble cars locally. Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi also assemble some units of their makes locally.
Isuzu is riding on the hope that assembling its pick-up trucks locally will see it keep in check its top rival, Toyota Kenya, which has also announced plans to start local production of its popular Hilux model.
Local car assembly plants, however, still have a long way to go before they can catch up with imported second hand cars. Kenyans import about 80,000 used cars each year compared to just 6,370 units which were assembled locally between January and October last year.