East and Central Africa’s biggest automotive industry show and conference kicked off in Nairobi today, with dealers and manufacturers showcasing some of the latest innovations in vehicle technology, as they eye a bigger slice of the growing regional market.
The show dubbed ‘Auto Parts East Africa’ brings together over 100 exhibitors and runs September 12 – 14 at the Sarit Center, Westlands. More than 2000 visitors comprising customers and industry professionals are expected to attend the event.
The event will highlight the latest technology trends in seven categories – autoparts, electronic systems, auto accessories, garage systems, auto dealer/workshop, car care/filling station, as well as service, IT and publishing.
Top government officials led by Kenya’s Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Hon. Ababu Namwamba graced the opening ceremony, urging automotive industry players to pursue growth opportunities in the expanding regional economy where demand for motor vehicles has been rising fast in recent years.
“We have seen the number of cars on our roads increase significantly as key sectors of the economy like agriculture, manufacturing, energy, trade and services perform well. To meet this growing demand, automotive suppliers will have to be innovative as customer tastes and preferences shift,” said Namwamba.
He said the regional automotive market has become more competitive with leading car manufacturers setting up local assembly plants and expanding their distribution footprint, and called on automotive suppliers to focus on quality.
The exhibition has also drawn leading financial institutions, transport operators and government agencies.
“The Auto Parts East Africa expo is the perfect marketplace for exhibitors to showcase innovative products and services to an audience of industry professionals and generate promising business leads. We also want to enlighten customers on where they can get quality, affordable car parts,” says Mr. Skander Negasi of Trade and Fairs East Africa, the event organisers.
Buyers will also have an opportunity to interact with car manufacturers and automotive service providers, with innovation headlining the event. “Recent trends in the industry reveal that car buyers are becoming increasingly motor savvy. They are looking for innovations in car design and user experience that meet their lifestyles and business needs.” Added Negasi
Kenya’s automotive market is largely driven by sale and distribution of vehicles and after-sales service including spare parts. The industry has in recent years experienced rapid growth attributable to aggressive marketing by car makers, high increase in second hand car imports, access to financial credit and an expanding middle class.
Data from Kenya Motor Industry, a lobby association, shows the country had 1.5 million vehicles on its roads in 2015, this figure expected to grow to five million by 2030. Motor vehicle sales in Kenya grew 18 per cent in 2018 with 14,265 new cars sold in the local market excluding imports.
However, Kenya and other countries in the region continue to be dependent on car imports. For instance, about 80 per cent of Kenya’s vehicle fleet comprises second hand imported cars. But with tighter restrictions on age and quality of imported cars, the government hopes to spur locally vehicle assembly.
This is however likely to change as top global brands like Volkswagen and Peugeot set up assembly plants locally. This is expected to drive sales growth, lower cost of car parts, and open partnership avenues with local players.
“Local automotive suppliers should explore partnerships with international car makers to manufacture some of the automotive components locally thus lowering costs and creating jobs,” explains Mr. Negasi