Foton East Africa, the franchise holder for the Chinese multinational Foton brand, has rolled out its first locally assembled pick-up. The move is set to heighten competition in the new vehicle market among local dealers.
The firm, now setting up a multi-billion shilling assembly plant near Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, has set its sights on the East African market.
Foton has in the meantime signed an agreement with Thika-based Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers to assemble for them.
Rivalry in the local market that makes an average of 10,000 vehicles per year is expected to become even stiffer. General Motors East Africa, KVM and Association of Vehicle Assemblers which have had a stranglehold on the market for years now have to face the new company.
Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta early this year ordered the Monopolies and Price Commission to investigate abuse of market dominance by the three firms.
Foton East Africa general manager Calvin Guo said the company sold 1.2 million units worldwide last year.
He said its subsidiary will seek to ride on this to penetrate the local market.
The company’s entry is expected to add pressure on local vehicle assemblers, who are already smarting from flooding of used vehicles.
“We expect to gradually increase our market share in Kenya and the East African region mostly in light trucks, which are in high demand,” Mr Guo said when the company flagged-off the first pick-up truck.