Ban on used truck imports signals boon for assemblers


Local assemblers led by Isuzu East Africa and Simba Corporation are set to benefit from the move to ban imports of used trucks with load capacities of 3.5 tonnes and above.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has published new standards for motor vehicles that were approved by the government and stakeholders and which provide for the ban on the commercial vehicles.

The new standard (KS 1515: 2019) will replace the one that has been in existence since 2000. The upcoming standard is expected to come into force in the coming weeks.

The ban on trucks comes after the government dropped proposals to also restrict imports of used passenger cars after protests from second-hand dealers.

“All rigid trucks with GVM (gross vehicle mass) equal to or greater than 3.5 tonnes and up to and including 30 tonnes, which are more than zero (0) years old from the year of first registration, shall not be allowed for importation,” reads part of the policy document.

“The difference between the year of first registration and the year of manufacture shall not be more than one year.”

All tractor heads or prime movers which are older than five years from July 2019, three years from July 2021 and zero age from July 2023 from the date of first registration shall also not be imported.

The difference between the year of first registration and the year of manufacture, for these vehicle classes, shall also not be more than one year.

Once implemented, the changes are expected to boost demand from local assemblers like Isuzu (which sells its namesake trucks and buses) and Simba (dealing in Mitsubishi commercial vehicles).

“We estimate that imports of used trucks in the targeted category stand at 10,000 units per year. The ban will significantly boost local assembly,” said Rita Kavashe, the chief executive of Isuzu and chairperson of Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI).

At 10,000 units, the estimated imports of used trucks are equal to 70 percent of all annual motor vehicle sales. Assemblers like Isuzu and Simba produce about 5,000 units of trucks per year, meaning that their output could triple once implementation of the ban begins.


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