Kenya’s car imports are likely to take two years to recover from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peter Otieno, chairman of Car Importers Association of Kenya, said on Wednesday.
Otieno said that in 2019, Kenya imported approximately 130,000 vehicles. However, “since March when the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Kenya there has been a 95 percent drop in demand for vehicles. This means it could take between two to three years for the industry to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels,” Otieno said.
He noted that the cessation of movement that prohibited entry into and out of Nairobi and Mombasa greatly impacted the sales of vehicles as buyers could not get vehicles out of the port of Mombasa.
Otieno added that vehicle sales are beginning to pick up as the economy begins to reopen and life returns to normal.
According to the trade association, an estimated 85 percent of Kenya’s car imports are second-hand vehicles as they are more affordable compared to the newer vehicles.
Otieno revealed that the local vehicle assembly industry which controls a minority share of the car sales also faces competition from the more affordable used car imports.
He noted that personal vehicles account for over 90 percent of all imports with the rest being commercial vehicles and pickups.