•Market research shows that 45 percent of the Hiace vans are from the Matatu sector.
•The vehicle will retail at Sh4.2 million with financing available through local banks
Toyota Kenya on Wednesday launched the Hiace local assembly line targeting to ride on the units popularity in the local transport sector.
The line will see Associated Vehicle Assemblers Limited (AVA) located in Miritini, Mombasa, assemble and produce the 15-seater van.
Speaking at the launch, Toyota Kenya Chief Operations Officer Joshua Anya, said market research shows that the Hiace vans go beyond the matatu sector, which represents about 45 percent of their total sales in the country.
He said there has been a keen interest by public institutions that buy about 21 percent of the Hiace vehicles while private companies take up about 19 percent.
“This survey was one of the key reasons as to why we needed to have an assembly line especially for the Hiace van to cater for the ever-growing demand in the country,” said Anya.
Anya said that the automotive sector targets to grow its current GDP share from 9.2 percent to about 15 percent by the end of 2022.
He said that in line with the government’s ‘Buy Kenya build Kenya' policy, this can only be achieve if the government and key players in the automotive sector work closely to increase capacity, skills and push for fair taxes on raw materials.
“The addition of the Hiace line is very instrumental as it demonstrates our commitment as Toyota Kenya to grow the automotive sector and increase the locally assembled units from the current 7,725 vehicles by 2022 compared to 1980's where the industry was producing 13,000 vehicles yearly,” he said.
He said Toyota has partnered with financial institutions to offer 95 percent financing to interested buyers. The van is priced at Sh4.2 million.
Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said focus on the manufacturing sector remains a key pilar of the government's Big Four agenda.
She Kenya's automotive sector has a capacity to produce 34,000 vehicles annually yet at the moment only manages about 7,000 vehicles per year.
“Event at its capacity to produce 34,000 vehicles per year, we are yet to meet 100 percent of Kenya’s vehicle needs. Our desire is to grow this sector to a place where we meet 100 percent of our local vehicle needs,” said Maina.
The CS added that the government had demonstrated support by creating a market for locally produced products through the 'Buy Kenya Build Kenya' initiative.
Maina said in 2020, the government listed 334 items that must be sourced locally but the list has since been increased to 500 items in 2021.