PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa – Isuzu Motors SA has launched a programme to export new, but disassembled, Isuzu D-MAX pick-ups for assembly in Equator-straddling Kenya.
”This,” the automaker says, ”is our first regional trade exchange in Africa and is aligned to a strategy for its South African assembly plant to become a hub to grow its overall volumes in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Isuzu Motors Ltd says it regards opportunities in Africa as ”significant”. The East African operation had focused on truck and bus assembly while importing assembled light commercials from South Africa.
The brand claims to be a leader in East Africa with in 2019 a commanding 44.5% share of the Kenyan new vehicle market.
MORE VOLUME GENERATED
Isuzu Motors SA’s CEO and MD Michael Sacke said Isuzu’s market strength was in its products overall performance, reliability and customer satisfaction.
”We put this project together in record time in anticipation of it becoming a success in both countries. Some vehicle kits are already in Kenya and are being assembled by a team comprehensively trained in the South African plant.”
The vehicle kits, exported into Africa from the Port of Ngqura, provide additional volume at the port while ensuring job retention at the South African plant.
Volumes to Kenya have been projected at 1300 vehicles a year though that number is expected to grow, medium- to long-term.
Sacke again: “The Kenya KD project is important to our sub-Sahara growth through tactical semi-knockdown initiatives to strengthen our dealer network.”
Rita Kavashe, Isuzu East Africa’s MD, has welcomed the move: ”The knockdown programme gives the Kenyan operation more flexibility and an opportunity to remain competitive.
”Our import tariffs are lower on such kits, we create employment, and we positively influence employee and customer morale through local assembly of the D-MAX.”
Isuzu Motors SA has 79 dealers in South Africa, 33 in Sub-Saharan Africa.