KVM to double Volkswagen production as it explores a second model.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback.
Thika-based vehicle assemblers the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) will soon introduce a new Volkswagen model in its production list as it seeks to double its production.

Speaking at East London town in South Africa, Volkswagen SA head Thomas Schaefer at East London told President Uhuru Kenyatta at a meeting that the firm was exploring to produce a second model in Kenya, possibly a hatchback (small SUV), while doubling production of the VW Polo Vivo to at least 300 vehicles.

Schaefer, who is also responsible for VW’s operations in Africa, said that his vision was to see a successful operation in Kenya in the east, Nigeria in the west, and South Africa.

“Our Kenyan interest is to grow a major auto manufacturing plant, with the capacity to meet the supply needs of East and Central Africa,” said Schaefer.

VW set up the vehicle assembly plant in 2016, resuming production in Kenya after a four decade break. The plant has started by assembling VW’s Vivo model.

Welcoming VW’s commitment to growth of its Kenyan facility, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the country had a ready market for cars produced in Kenya, provided that they were sold at affordable prices.

“We will walk this journey with you to produce affordable cars. Our plea is that you price these vehicles reasonably,”   said Kenyatta.

“We are very keen that our youth, a highly educated group, can get to work in a company of great technological sophistication as VW, which is why we welcome your plans to go full throttle to increase production,” he added.

VW has long experience operating in emerging markets. But Kenya’s car market is dominated by low-priced, second-hand imports from countries, such as Japan.

Last year, French carmaker Peugeot started manufacturing cars in Kenya, while Japanese vehicle manufacturing giant Toyota started assembling some models in Kenya in 2015.

Other brands assembling vehicles in Kenya include Isuzu, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Peugeot.

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