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Toyota starts local Hilux assembly

Tuesday July 23 2019

Toyota Kenya

Toyota Kenya is set to pump Sh100 million into local production of its popular Hilux model. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

ANNIE NJANJA
By ANNIE NJANJA
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Toyota Kenya is set to inject Sh100 million into local production of its popular Hilux model starting October, as it begins to expand its portfolio of Kenya-produced motor vehicles more than three years after the firm first went public on the plans.

Toyota Kenya, which already assembles Land Cruiser pick-ups, Hino trucks and Yamaha Motorcycles, said the firm was in the process of ensuring assembly works begin before end of October.

The motor vehicle manufacturer plans to churn out more than 500 Hilux cars during the first year of production.

“We took a decision to work with Hilux because this is one of our highest selling models. By end of October we expect the first batch of locally assembled Hilux out. This will be the first phase since we are looking to assemble other models in the near future. For now we will be concentrating on the Hilux so that we make it a case study for the passenger vehicles,” said Toyota Kenya Managing Director Arvinder Reel.

“We are expecting the equipment to come in between now and August. We have so far trained our staff and we have had Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) partners come in to train our people further.”

Mr Reel said the project was part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big 4 agenda since it aimed to create about 1,000 jobs and boost the local manufacturing sector.

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Toyota Kenya is banking on the Automotive Policy, which is still being processed for implementation, that is designed to address the challenges affecting the vehicle industry including the lack of dedicated legal, institutional regulatory framework, importation of parts by franchise holders instead of procuring from local parts manufacturers and influx of used fully built units, among others.

Currently, the local auto industry is producing just about 6,000 vehicles per year which is only a fifth of the installed capacity of 34,000 units.

At its height in the 1980s, the industry was producing over 13,000 vehicles per year.

Kenya has three Assembly plants: AVA in Mombasa where Toyota Kenya is a customer, KVM in Thika and Isuzu EA in Nairobi.