General Motors East Africa to double truck output on construction boom, says MD

Rita Kavashe, Managing Director, GM East Africa

A construction boom in Kenya has fueled a rise in commercial truck sales for market leader General Motors, which is investing $7.9 million in 2016 to upgrade its assembly plant in Nairobi and more than double output, a senior executive said on Thursday.

GM East Africa Managing Director Rita Kavashe said 20,000 new vehicles were sold in Kenya last year, the highest on record, and 98 percent of those were trucks and buses.

This reflects the strong commercial sector as infrastructure projects take off.

“Three years ago we were producing about 10 vehicles and following upgrades and improvements, creating efficiencies has moved our production to about 22 vehicles a day,” she told Reuters in an interview.

“We continue to improve our processes, so we should be able to comfortably get 25 vehicles a day by mid of next year.”

The Nairobi plant, one of three GM manufacturing hubs in Africa, is geared towards the commercial bus and truck market and typically builds trucks weighing between 3.5 tons and 15 tons. GM also has a presence in South Africa and Egypt.

General Motors’ total global vehicle sales were 9.8 million in 2015, up 0.2 percent in a third consecutive year of record sales.

GM East Africa also sells its vehicle to markets in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi – all members of trade bloc East African Community.