Toyota’s diversification into the commercial vehicle business has seen it reclaim its market leadership, opening a wide lead ahead of its main rival General Motors East Africa (GMEA).
Data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) shows that Toyota led in the first six months of the year with a 32 per cent market share, up from 21 per cent a year earlier.
GMEA was relegated to second place as its market share remained flat at 25 per cent despite a growth in unit sales, reflecting a greater demand for Toyota’s brands.
All the major dealers recorded higher sales in the period save for DT Dobie, with total sales in the industry surging 39 per cent to 8,915 units.
Toyota’s market share was helped by its venture into sales of buses and trucks early last year through the Hino brand, a move that has cut its reliance on the mainstay saloon cars, pick-ups and utility models.
Hino’s sales rose more than 14 times to 423 units in the first half of the year compared to 30 units in the same period last year.
Excluding Hino sales, Toyota would have beaten GMEA’s sales and market share by just 145 units and 1.7 percentage points respectively.
The firm sold sold 2,390 units of Toyota and 423 units of Hino in the first half, beating GMEA which sold 2,210 units of Isuzu and 35 units of Chevrolet brands in the same period.
Introduction of Hino has seen the firm join GMEA in the lucrative commercial vehicle segment that is growing faster compared to the passenger car market.
The trend is linked to increased demand for buses and trucks by businesses amid increased economic activities in the region, including transport, trade and construction.
Demand for buses, in particular, has been fuelled by the government’s policy of phasing out low-capacity vans in urban public transport.
Besides Hino, Toyota also benefited from a Sh3 billion leasing contract that has seen it supply 1,100 vehicles to the police service.
The government is set to lease an additional 2,700 vehicles at a cost of Sh6 billion in the next few months, opening a window for the rivals to bid for the single largest deal in the new vehicle market.
All the major dealers saw their sales rise in the first half with the exception of DT Dobie whose sales dip has been linked to its loss of the popular Nissan and Renault franchises.
DT Dobie’s sales dropped to 615 units in the period from 833 units a year earlier as it phased out the twin brands that are being transferred to rival dealers.
This saw its market share drop to seven per cent from 13 per cent, ranking it as the fifth largest dealer. The firm’s Renault car franchise has been taken over by Simba Corporation, the seller of Mitsubishi trucks.
Its Nissan dealership is yet to find a new home, with Simba and RMA Kenya emerging as the leading contenders for the franchise that accounts for eight per cent of annual unit sales in the country.
Simba’s market share dropped to 16 per cent from 17 per cent despite its sales rising 35 per cent to 1,452 units.
CMC Holdings recorded the second largest market share growth after Toyota, accounting for nine per cent of total unit sales from the previous seven per cent.
The company’s sales rose to 641 units from 596 units despite losing the dealership rights to the Jaguar Land Rover franchise in 2013 and Ford this year.
Source: BUSINESS DAILY