KENYA – Toyota Tsusho Corporation (“Toyota Tsusho”) announced that it’ll begin knock-down production (vehicle assembly) of the Toyota Hilux pickup within the Republic of Kenya.

The growth of local producing is based on Toyota Tsusho’s memorandum of understanding signed with the Kenyan government at the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7).

Toyota Tsusho has made the Land Cruiser and Hino trucks in Kenya through the local factory, Associated Vehicle Assemblers Ltd. (AVA) and has oversubscribed the vehicles through its distributor.

The assembly lines at AVA are expanded to feature Hilux to the line-up, with the arrange of manufacturing 200 units a year.

The Sh1 billion (US$10m) investment will be the third Toyota model to be assembled locally, adding to the Toyota Landcruiser popular with the National Police Service and tour operators, and the Hino 300 and 500 series trucks and buses

In January 2019, Toyota Motor Corporation transferred all sales and promoting operations for continent to Toyota Tsusho as a part of the trouble to strengthen the automotive business in continent.

Toyota Tsusho is devoted to conducive to Africa’s industry through local production business model. The KD business are going to be a linchpin in increasing automobile production in Kenya and increasing business to alternative African nations.

The move comes a time when Kenya is working on a National Automotive Policy which is expected to discourage importation of used cars and shift demand to new cars made in Kenya.

The expansion of auxiliary industries has seen the number of locally assembled cars increase by 35.95 per cent in the first seven months to July, indicating the continued move by vehicle assembly plants to set up in the country.

Data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has shown the number of assembled vehicles increased to 4,406 between January and July this year, compared to 3,241 in the same period in 2018.

The growth has also been fuelled by the government’s move to promote local assembly industries and create employment opportunities for the youth.

A directive issued on July 1 demands that all ministries, departments, agencies and other public entities give exclusive preference in procurement of motor vehicles and motorcycles to firms that have assembly plants in Kenya.