More Mercedes Benz, Range Rover, Porsche sold just before coronavirus pandemic

Range Rover. [Photo courtesy]

In the first three months of the year, a group of wealthy Kenyans up-scaled the demand for high-end vehicles – Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Range Rover – by 73 per cent.

Motor dealers in Kenyan sold a total of 45 units of high-end cars according to data by Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI). Compared to a similar period under review in 2019 where just 26 units were sold, 2020 was by far doing much better.

DT Dobie which holds Mercedes Benz’s franchise in Kenya sold a total of 17 units in the period under review. During a similar period last year, only 13 units of this top-selling luxury car had been sold.

Land Rover sales increased to 12 from 11 last year for the first quarter of the year through Inchape Kenya who also sold eight BMW units.

Porche Centre in Kenya’s capital Nairobi sold seven units between January and March. Bentley Kenya sold one car. The two brands did not sell any car in a similar period last year as they were out of stock.

However, with the coronavirus pandemic tumbling the Kenyan economy from March 11 when the first case was confirmed, car sales have dramatically decreased.

“Sales since April have been terrible,” an executive at one of the dealers told the Business Daily. “Banks are not lending and most of our customers rely on loans to fund their purchases.”

The sector is bound to take a major dip in sales as the pandemic continues to ravage the economy.

Government institutions among them the Judiciary, a private institutions and extremely wealthy individuals are the biggest buyers if high-end cars but this could take a down turn as the economic shock have hit them hard.

The government has announced austerity measures which it has gone ahead to implement while the private sector where investors thrive is taking hard financial blows by the pandemic.

 “We expect the industry’s sales to fall by up to 30 percent this year,” Rita Kavashe, CEO of Isuzu East Africa, said in a recent interview.

“This is primarily due to the travel restrictions. The other major issue is that banks have stopped financing new vehicle purchases for most customers.”