Sales of new motor vehicles dropped eight percent last year to 13,199 units, according to data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI).
Dealers had moved 14,353 units in 2018, with the latest performance sending dealers back into a slump.
Their best performance in recent years was in 2015 when they moved 19,451 units, a level which they are trailing by more than 6,000 units.
Isuzu, the country’s biggest dealer, was among the few companies to record sales growth last year. The dealer moved 5,158 units in the review period, surpassing the 4,632 units it sold in 2018. Toyota Kenya, which is ranked second, saw its unit sales drop to 3,538 from 3,973 over the same period.
Simba Corporation, whose sales of Renault cars have been disrupted by a dispute with the owner of the French car franchise, was among the other dealers whose sales also dropped. The KMI data shows that the industry’s sales opened at 835 units in January and rose strongly to a high of 1,372 units in August before receding to close at 1,124 units in December.
The performance has been attributed to reduced demand from the government.
“The national government has cut spending, especially in this fourth quarter. Dealers are also cautious about supplying to county governments because of the pending bills,” Rita Kavashe, chairperson of KMI and Isuzu’s chief executive said in a recent interview.
She added that banks are also yet to increase financing of vehicles even after the repeal of rates cap. Most companies and individuals rely on bank loans to buy new vehicles.