New luxury vehicle sales plunge 14pc on Porsche stockouts

Porsche Macan Sports at a showroom in Nairobi.

By Business Daily Africa

Sales of new luxury cars dropped 14.1 percent in the nine months ended September, weighed down by stockouts of Porsche, which is yet to get a new dealer in the local market. Data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) shows that orders for the cars, whose prices can top the Sh30 million mark, fell to 97 units in the review period from 113 units a year earlier.

Sales of Porsche declined to one from 19 after the contract of the dealer, Porsche Centre Nairobi, was terminated in January last year. The franchise owner, Stuttgart-based Porsche AG, is expected to transfer the dealership to a new entrant or one of the existing dealerships in the local market, Franchise transfers typically hurt sales in the short term as the terminated dealer focuses on clearing stocks and the new appointee takes time to set up shop.

Orders for Mercedes, sold by DT Dobie, dropped to 43 from 48. Land Rover sales, under Inchcape Kenya, declined to 16 from 20. Sales of Bentley, whose dealer is Bentley Nairobi, dropped to one from two. Orders for Jaguar were unchanged at four while BMW was the only high-end car brand to register sales growth to 32 from 20.

Jaguar and BMW cars are also sold by Inchcape Kenya. Sales of the high-end cars are projected to take a further hit in the short term due to higher showroom prices and supply constraints as a result of the semiconductors crisis.

Shortages of semiconductors — used in cars’ electronic devices — has seen global automakers scale down their production, DT Dobie is among the dealers that have said the crisis could disrupt supply of some of their models.

The sales decline among the luxury car dealers bucks the boom seen in the overall new vehicle market that has benefitted players selling pick-ups, buses and trucks the most, Total new vehicle sales rose 31.5 percent to 10,044 units in the review period, up from 7,637 units the year before.

The figures include the small volume of exports to neighbouring markets such as Uganda and Tanzania, which represent about one percent of the overall sales. Improved economic performance riding on the ease of Covid-19 restrictions has lifted demand for commercial vehicles, especially in sectors such as trade, transport and construction.

Toyota was second, with its unit sales rising 32.8 percent to 2,386 from 1,796, earning it a 23.7 percent market share.

Isuzu posted the highest sales growth of 33.8 percent to 4,104 units from 3,067 units, giving the dealer a 40.8 percent market share. Isuzu exclusively sells its namesake commercial vehicles comprising pick-ups, buses, trucks and sport utility vehicles.