Africa Wants To Place Itself On The Automotive Roadmap
Africa is keeping investors on their toes with forecasts far from being true to their word. The inherent volatility and instability of African markets is difficult to fully grasp until seen in hindsight.
As was the case in 2013, new vehicle sales were forecast to exhibit strong growth rates on a yearly basis. However, the weakening economics of developing nations, soft oil prices, growing exchange rate risk, and a preference for safe-havens has seen the market fall on a yearly, and even monthly, basis.
Despite the widespread import of used cars, the average level of motorisation remains the lowest globally in Africa, at an estimated 44 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants. New vehicle sales in Africa lag significantly behind other regions, with unit sales estimated at 1.55 million units in 2014. This represents approximately 1% of global new car sales and 1.36 new vehicles for every 1,000 inhabitants. This contrasts with 18.05 and 56.94 new vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants in China and the United States in 2016.
Volkswagen plans vehicle production in Kenya
Volkswagen is planning local production of the Polo Vivo in the Kenyan city of Thika near Nairobi. The project which will be jointly realised with the importer DT Dobie, will be Volkswagen's third production facility in Africa - alongside the South African factory and a local production facility in Nigeria. It is planned to build up to 5,000 units of the Polo Vivo per year at the plant operated by Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) from 2017.
"We are taking the successful Polo Vivo from South Africa to Kenya to leverage the enormous growth potential of the African automobile market and participate in its positive development. This compact model is the best-selling car in the sub-Saharan region - so it is the ideal entry model for the promising Kenyan market," Thomas Schaefer commented at the signing ceremony.
"With this move, we are strengthening the brand's overall position in Africa and taking an important step towards expanding our commitment in the region," Schaefer continued.
President Kenyatta said: "The investment by the Volkswagen Group in Kenya is a key milestone in my administration's determined push to grow the manufacturing base and industrialised the nation."