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Nairobi’s super-rich buying more Porsche than Mercs

Luxury car dealers booked record sales of 409 units last year, with the new brand Porsche emerging as the top-selling model relegating Mercedes to second place.

A recent survey of the wealthy found that Kenya has some 8,400 individuals with a net worth of more than $1 million (Sh102 million), excluding their primary residence.

Nairobi has the highest concentration of the high-net-worth individuals, with 5,000 of them living in the capital.

The Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) full-year data shows that the dealers including Porsche Centre Nairobi, DT Dobie, RMA Kenya and Simba Corporation registered a four per cent jump in sales last year compared to 394 units in 2014.

LOCAL DEALER

Porsche sales stood at 102 units last year, sliding from 125 units in 2014. Sales of Porsche, which cost between Sh7 million and Sh40 million, started in May 2014 with the appointment of Multiple Hauliers as the local dealer through its subsidiary Porsche Centre Nairobi.

Buyers of the model previously had to import them.

DT Dobie’s hitherto dominant luxury car brand Mercedes closely followed at 101 units last year, rising from 70 units in 2014.

Mercedes models, whose prices range between Sh3 million and Sh36 million, are popular among corporate executives and public officials like judges.

Besides Mercedes, DT Dobie deals in Jeep SUVs whose sales rose to 40 units from 39 units in the review period.

SALES DECLINE

Sales of Range Rover and luxury Land Rover models declined to 91 units from 102 units while those of Jaguars rose to 24 units from 14 units.

Sales of the models under the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) franchise are split between RMA Kenya and CMC Holdings, with the latter clearing its stocks after losing the dealership.

Simba Corporation moved 51 units of its BMW models, whose prices range from Sh3.4 million to Sh24 million, up from 44 units.

The rivals continue to launch new models, competing on pricing and brand reputation to grow sales among Kenya’s growing club of the super-rich.

BOOM

The record luxury car sales mirror the boom in the overall new vehicles market where a new sales peak was set last year at 19,996 units, a 13.3 per cent jump from 17,616 units in 2014.

The sales figures show that increased spending by businesses and high-networth individuals has more than compensated for the government’s 2009 ban on luxury cars in the public sector.

Sales of the high-end cars had slumped from their previous peak of 218 units in 2009 when the government — previously accounting for more than a quarter of orders — introduced the ban in favour of relatively cheaper models including Volkswagen.

The ban has, however, not been strictly adhered to, with some departments such as the Judiciary having bought significant units after the policy was introduced.

Increased demand for high-end cars, whose price can top Sh27 million, also points to a fast growth in incomes of the already rich.