Kenya 2020. Toyota reinforces leadership in market severely affected by the pandemic (-47.8%)

Kenyan car market
The 2008 Isuzu Pickup

Kenyan auto market in 2020 falls by 47.8% as the pandemic and restrictions affect sales. Full-Year sales have been 6.942, while the leader Toyota consolidates its leadership by gaining 7.5% market share.

Economic Environment

The economy should have recovered in Q3, albeit frailly, after contracting for the first time in at least a decade in Q2 due to the pandemic. Exports increased in July–August after shrinking in Q2, while the fall in imports softened in the same period. However, this still points to weakened domestic demand.

Moving forward, the situation was seemingly upbeat at the outset of Q4: Business conditions improved notably in October, with the private sector PMI climbing to a record high, boosted by strengthening aggregate demand as more restrictions were eased.

However, a recent rise in Covid-19 cases prompted a snap-back of containment measures in early November, boding ill for activity. In other news, the government aims to borrow an additional KES 1.0 trillion (around USD 9.2 billion) for the current fiscal year (1 July 2020–30 June 2021) as revenues have dwindled, and is seeking a second IMF loan.

Market Trend

The Kenyan car market has been hit very harshly in 2020 by the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted sales significantly.

Following a quite positive period, which ended with the all-time record hit in 2015 with 19.549 vehicles (including HCVs & Bus) sold, the Kenyan vehicles market was hit by the economic crisis and started falling down, losing in two years over 40% of volume., with 2017  total vehicles (including HCVs) at 10.831 (-19.8%).

In 2018 the mood changed and the market recovered, sustained by private consumption and the market score a recovery above expectations. Indeed, according to data released by the Kenyan Motor Industry Association, the market grew, gaining 31.2% from 2017, with registrations at 14.251.

In 2019 despite a very good start, with the Q1 ended up in double-digit, the market has progressively lost steam ending the Q4 with a sharp decline. Full-year sales have been 13.298, down 6.7%. While the HCVs segment was steady, the car passengers dropped down in double-digits.

Indeed, Full-Year sales for 2020 have been 6.942, reporting a 47.8% decrease compared to 2019.

Brand-wise, this year the leader Toyota (-30.9%) gained 7.5% market share, followed by Isuzu (-56.8%), which lost 7.4% share. Tata (-17.7%) reached third place and gained 2.4% market share.

The most sold model in the country is the Toyota Land Cruiser P/U with 930 sales (+69.7%), holding a growing 13.4% market share.