Kenya luxury cars market accelerates

Porsche Cayenne
A Porsche Cayenne. PHOTO/FILE
The luxury cars market in Kenya has registered a significant amount of growth over the past few months, buoyed by a rising number of high income households.

Sleek S-Class Mercedes, BMW 7 Series, Porsche and Range Rovers – with showroom prices of up to Sh36 million are increasingly finding their way into the Kenyan roads pointing to pent-up demand for these brands from wealthy citizens.

Luxury car dealer Porsche has, for example, gained an 18 per cent share in the high-end car market within two months of opening its Nairobi dealership.

According to data released by the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI), Porsche sold 27 units of its Cayenne models – priced between Sh10 million and Sh30 million – in May and June 2014.

This made Porsche the third-largest luxury car dealer in the country ahead of Bavaria Auto, a subsidiary of Simba Corporation, whose sales of BMW models dropped by 10 units from 22. The models, X3, X5 and X6, are priced at between Sh8 million and Sh18 million.

READ: Who should by a Porsche Cayenne?

In the first half of 2014, RMA Kenya – the new Jaguar Land Rover dealer – was ranked second largest luxury car dealer with a 28 per cent market share. The firm sold 42 units of Land Rover and Jaguar models compared to 25 units sold in the same period last year under CMC Holdings.

The luxury car market leader DT Dobie saw its market share slide to 44 per cent in the period under review from 53 per cent a year earlier, despite recording higher sales. The firm, which sells Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mercedes brands, sold 68 units in the first half of 2014 – a 15 per cent increase from 53 units last year.

DT Dobie recently introduced a new version of the Mercedes S Class priced from Sh16 million, while RMA Kenya has launched the Jaguar F-Type models priced at Sh18 million. On the other hand, Bavaria is set to introduce the BMW X4 model (with an edgy, sporty design) which is expected to retail at Sh13.2 million.

Although these vehicles are not globally categorised as luxury cars, they are locally seen as luxurious since only a few individuals in Kenya can afford to buy and maintain them. Ferrari, Lamborghini,  Bentley, Rolls Royce, Maserati and Aston Martin are the true definition of luxury cars.

The rising number of luxury cars in Kenya is a reflection of the growing ranks of Kenya’s wealthy individuals. The New World Wealth, a UK think-tank, recently said there are 8,400 Kenyans with a net worth of at least Sh87 million ($1 million).

The number of wealthy Kenyans is expected to grow further in the coming years, buoyed by economic growth that is set to receive a major boost from infrastructural development and oil production.