Just over three years after Volkswagen ventured into sub-Saharan Africa, the brand’s assembly facility in Kenya is going strong.
The assembly facility, which was opened in December 2016 in Thika, Kenya, was the first SKD facility Volkswagen established as part of its sub-Saharan Africa expansion strategy.
The Volkswagen brand has since expanded its sub-Saharan operations to include an assembly facility and mobility solutions in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, with memorandums of understanding signed with governments in other sub-Saharan countries to establish plants there in future.
The Thika assembly facility started assembling the Polo Vivo in 2016, and has since added the Caddy and the five-seater Tiguan to its line-up. The seven-seater Tiguan Allspace was also added to the facility’s offering earlier this month, making it the fourth vehicle to be locally assembled in Kenya.
The first locally assembled Tiguan Allspace was unveiled early in March, in front of selected guests that included Thomas Wimmer of the German embassy in Nairobi, and Dennis Awori, board member of the CFAO Group, who is Volkswagen’s retail partner in Kenya and Rwanda.
Aside from the assembly facility, Volkswagen has a retail presence in the form of five showrooms across Kenya. These include two showrooms in Nairobi, one in Mombasa, one in Kisumu and one in Nakuru. The brand’s market share in the passenger car market is currently 5,3%.
“At Volkswagen, we believe in Africa,” said Thomas Schaefer, Volkswagen Group South Africa Chairman and Managing Director, who is also responsible for Volkswagen in the Sub-Sahara Africa region. “We are proud to have led the way for automotive development into Africa, and we will continue to do so. Our success in Kenya is part of our journey as a reliable partner in economic development in Sub Saharan Africa.”
In September 2018, the Volkswagen Group signed a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria to turn the country into the “automotive hub” of West Africa.
The agreement was signed in the presence of both Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, during a visit to Nigeria, and President, Muhammadu Buhari, to develop a joint vision for an automotive hub in the country.
But it would appear that the efforts to get the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan Fiscal Incentive and Guarantees Bill to become law is delaying the take-off of the project.