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Car makers told to rev up quality

Fred Aminga and PSCU @PeopleDailyKE

Local motor vehicle assemblers must innovate and produce affordable cars to counter cheap second-hand imports flooding the market.

Despite growing demand for vehicles and austerity measures, President Uhuru Kenyatta says the only way local manufacturers can make inroads is by producing affordable quality cars.

Speaking at State House, Mombasa, on Wednesday when he met members of the Kenya Manufacturers Association (KAM) to discuss the National Automotive Policy geared towards promoting the sector, President Uhuru said KAM must think out of the box.

“I encourage you to come up with real solutions in motor vehicle industry that will benefit Kenyans,” President Kenyatta said, adding that he was keen to see the country’s vehicle assembly industry get back on track has been a major employer.

“We all acknowledge that the importation of used vehicles has led to the slump of the vehicle manufacturing sector in the country,” Uhuru said, challenging the local vehicle assemblers to ensure production of high-quality vehicles as well as parts.

This comes a few weeks after manufacturers took issue with the intended importation of vehicles meant for the Bus Rapid Transport in Nairobi, terming the move ill-advised and more costly to the economy compared to locally manufactured alternatives.

Duty-free

The KAM team — who included Simba Corporation Group Executive Chairman Adil Popat, Isuzu East Africa Managing Director Rita Kavashe, DT Dobie Executive Chairman Zarak Khan and Martyn Broadfield of Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers — proposed a number of measures to improve the sector including duty-free importation of plant and machinery.

They proposed the establishment of a National Automotive Council that will be charged with the responsibility of implementing the motor policy.  They also urged the Government to provide incentives to support local production parts. The President assured them that the Government will give them preference when purchasing vehicles.

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