Toyota Kenya intends to add new models to their local assembly line. The motor vehicle manufacturer already assembles Land Cruiser pick-up trucks, Hino trucks and Toyota Hilux locally.
“We plan to introduce the new models from April to June, as we aim to make it easier for Kenyans to buy more first-hand cars. Local assembly makes that possible,” said Mr Arvinder Reel, the Managing Director of Toyota Kenya Limited.
Toyota Kenya, which also assembles Yamaha motorcycles, started the assembly of 7 models of the Toyota Hilux pick-up trucks in October 2019, pumping in Sh100 million with the aim of producing 500 units in the year starting the launch date.
The Hilux KD assembly line was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta on October 18, 2019. Mr Reel said the target was well within reach as they had managed to manufacture 100 vehicles between October and December 2019.
Toyota, which entered Kenya in 1964 as Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC), currently has eight local branches, 5 dealers, 18 authorised service centres and over 520 staff, according to Mr Reel.
Toyota Kenya, which is targeting to reach sales of 13,000 in 2020, managed to sell 12,876 vehicles in 2019, a drop from the 14,003 they had sold in 2018.
Joshua Anya, the General Manager, operations at Toyota Kenya, said that with the company’s 2019 acquisition of the Suzuki franchise in which they sell and distribute the Suzuki brand and the 2019 signing of a deal with Tyre Distributor Africa Limited (TYDIA) to sell Michelin tyres in Kenya, Toyota’s fortunes will only grow as the manufacturer aims to serve the Kenyan market to the best of its ability.
“We offer after-sale services, the follow up helping us learn customer preferences and satisfaction. We are able to offer guidelines to our customers and satisfy their complementary needs. Follow-ups on sales, as well as having a broad web of connections, are important in maintaining our market share,” he said.
According to data shared by Mr Reel, Toyota Kenya had 24 percent of the total market share for trucks and buses in 2019, trailing Isuzu which had 38 percent. In a category that excluded trucks and buses, Toyota was the market leader with 49 per cent of the share market, Isuzu coming second at 17 percent.
The government lease share has also boosted Toyota Kenya’s market in previous years, with 1380 vehicles procured in 2018. Mr Reel further lauded the government which contributes to 35 percent of the total Toyota market share.
The procurement is split between the county and national governments. He expressed his gratitude towards the government for paying part of the pending bills in January, which has eased compensation by county government to contractors, Toyota Kenya being part of the affected.
Toyota Kenya, which has boosted police fleet availability from 35 percent to 97 percent, offers the government of Kenya drivers’ training, so far having trained 3,000 drivers across 41 counties.
The company said they were supporting local industries and contributing actively to the achievement of the Big 4 agenda, being active players in manufacturing.
They are also seeking partnership with local industries to identify parts of their vehicles that can be manufactured locally. ?