DT Dobie Kenya on Thursday, October 27 unveiled Mercedes Benz trucks assembled in the country. The locally assembled trucks were put together at Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM), Thika.
The locally assembled models included the Mercedes-Benz Actros 3340S and Mercedes Benz 2640LS with air suspension.
DT Dobie Kenya Managing Director Chris Ndala stated that the assembly process in Kenya ‘met and exceeded’ standards set by Mercedes’ parent firm for assembly of prime movers, including Euro emissions requirements.
Among those present at the launch ceremony were Trade and Investment Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria, and Germany’s Ambassador to Kenya Sebastian Growth, who hailed the moment as a major success for manufacturing in Kenya and ties between the two countries.
Local vehicle assemblers are eyeing a massive rise in profits following the ban on importation of used buses and trucks. An annual revenue increase of up to 70 percent is expected for assemblers as a result of the move which was intended to help drive growth in the local car manufacturing and assembly sector.
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As of July 1, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) no longer allows used buses more than seven metres in length, or trucks with load capacities of 3.5 tonnes and above, to be imported into the country.
Second-hand tractor heads and prime movers not older than three years received a grace period of up to June 30 2023, after which only new units will be imported into the country. This has led to cries by vehicle importers and dealers whose businesses will be heavily impacted.
According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data, 4,616 used buses, trucks and prime movers were imported into Kenya in 2021. Assemblers in the country including Isuzu East Africa and Simba Corporation, on the other hand, put together around 6,535 buses, trucks and prime movers over the same period.
The ban is therefore expected to create a supply gap that local assemblers are best placed to cash in on, as new imported vehicles will be much more expensive for consumers thanks to the additional tax and transportation costs.