The car market in Kenya has been on an upward trajectory in the last few years. This is evident from the number of new entrants into the market and the expansion of existing players. The increased competition has led to a greater variety of car models and brands available to Kenyan consumers.
In the past, Toyota was seen as the most popular car brand in Kenya. This was large since Toyota cars were known for their reliability and durability. However, there has been a shift in the Kenyan car market in recent years, with other brands such as Hyundai, Mazda, Volvo, Porsche, Volkswagen, and Kia becoming more popular.
But has this shift in popularity translated into a change in perceptions of car brands among Kenyans? Read on!
In this article
What Brands Were Most Popular in Kenya in the Past?
In the past, Toyota was the most popular car brand in Kenya. Even as the market changes, Toyota still dominates with a market share of around 57.3%. Nissan was also quite popular among Kenyans, and it remains common in the affordable car segment. Other popular car brands in Kenya included Mitsubishi, Subaru, Isuzu, and Honda.
Brands such as Peugeot and Land Rover were also popular among a certain segment of Kenyan consumers. For the ultra-rich consumers, Mercedes was the car of choice.
What Are the New Trends in the Kenyan Car Market, and How Do They Differ From the Past?
Luxury Over Functionality
In the past, most car buyers in Kenya would purchase a vehicle based on its functionality. However, there has been a shift in recent years towards buying cars perceived as being more stylish and luxurious. This is in line with global trends, where consumers are increasingly interested in purchasing vehicles that reflect style and status.
The SUV Market
One of the most notable changes in the Kenyan car market is the increasing popularity of SUVs. In the past, sedans were the most popular type of vehicle among Kenyan consumers. With the changing landscape, SUVs are now seen as being more stylish and luxurious, and as a result, they have become trendy. They also offer more space and are more practical for Kenyan consumers. However, SUVs are seen as an option for wealthier Kenyan consumers. This is due to their higher price point, which puts them out of reach for many Kenyan buyers.
Another change that has been taking place in the Kenyan car market is the increasing popularity of imported cars. In the past, most cars sold in Kenya were locally assembled or manufactured.
Over the past few years, there has been a trend toward buying imported vehicles.
Although Toyota still dominates the market, the growing global import market has opened the door to other brands such as Mercedes, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, and Audi, according to a car table from Comparethemarket. This is because imported cars are perceived as higher quality and offer more features than locally assembled cars. However, the high price point of imported cars means that they are only within reach for upper-middle-class and wealthy Kenyan consumers.
It is also worth noting that there has been a shift in how Kenyans purchase cars. Until a decade ago, most car buyers would buy a vehicle outright. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in Kenyans leasing or financing their cars. It is now easier to obtain financing for a car purchase. As a result, many Kenyans can now afford to go for car brands that are more luxurious and costly.
Maintenance and Availability of Parts
The increased competition in the Kenyan car market has also led to an increase in the number of knowledgeable mechanics and quality spare parts. It was often difficult to find a qualified mechanic who could service a particular car brand in the past. This was often a significant problem for luxury car owners, as they would have to travel long distances to find a qualified mechanic.
However, with the increased competition in the Kenyan car market, many qualified mechanics and quality spare parts are now readily available. This has made it easier for Kenyans to own and maintain luxury cars.
How Has Access to a Global Market Contributed to This Change?
The globalization of the automotive industry has transformed the Kenyan car market. Most car brands available in Kenya were local or regional brands in the past. However, with the globalization of the automotive industry, a wider variety of car brands are now available to Kenyan consumers.
This is since many international car manufacturers have set up operations in Kenya. As a result, Kenyan consumers now have access to a wider range of car brands, contributing to the changing landscape of the Kenyan car market. Comparethemarket has compiled a cars table indicating car searches worldwide over the past four years. As you will learn from the table, Toyota tops the list as the most searched car brand in most countries, although the number has dropped in the last two years. BMW and Mercedes take second and third spots, respectively, with brands such as Volvo, Audi, Hyundai, and Ford competing for the subsequent places.
Although the table is based on top searches in multiple countries, it still reflects the Kenyan market.
What Does This Mean for the Future of the Kenyan Car Market?
The changes taking place in the Kenyan car market are likely to continue in the future. With the globalization of the automotive industry, a wider variety of car brands will become available to Kenyan consumers. This is likely to lead to further changes in how Kenyans purchase and use cars. It may also mark the beginning of the end of the local assembly market. In addition, the increased competition in the Kenyan car market is likely to continue, which will lead to further improvements in the quality of mechanics and spare parts. As a result, Kenyans can expect the car market to continue to evolve in the future.
The financing options are also expected to change with time to attract more customers. Kenya is a growing economy, and car financing packages will only get better to suit the needs of the growing middle class. The government is also expected to provide more incentives for buyers of locally assembled cars to promote the growth of the domestic automotive industry.
With the current trends in the Kenyan car market, it is expected that imported cars will continue to grow in popularity. However, the high price points of these vehicles mean that they will remain out of reach for most Kenyans. In addition, the increased competition in the Kenyan car market is likely to lead to further improvements in the quality of mechanics and spare parts. As a result, Kenyans can expect the car market to continue to evolve in the future.