The Automotive industry in Kenya is primarily involved in the assembly, retail and distribution of motor vehicles. There are a number of motor vehicle dealers operating in the country.
Kenya is currently attempting to completely build its own cars. After building its first car in the late 80's (the Nyayo Car), Kenya has a shot at the industry with Mobius Motors, which was founded in 2009. with KIBO Africa Limited, motorcycles have been rolling out from this local manufacturer.
Nyayo Car was a project by the Kenyan government to plan and manufacture Kenyan cars. The project was initiated in 1986 when then president Daniel arap Moi asked the University of Nairobi to develop the vehicles.
Five prototypes were made, named Pioneer Nyayo Cars and they attained a speed of 120 km/h. The Nyayo Motor Corporation was established to mass-produce these cars. However, due to lack of funds, the car never entered into production.The Nyayo Motor Corporation was later renamed Numerical Machining Complex Limited, manufacturing metal parts for various local industries. The car became a synonym for the many white elephants that signified the government of the day.
Mobius Motors Kenya Ltd is a vehicle re-assembler founded in 2010. The company was incorporated in the United Kingdom in 2010 and registered in Kenya in 2011. As of 2018, the company was in the process of building an in country manufacturing plant.The company manufactures SUVs (sport utility vehicles) that can handle the rough roads and rugged terrain found in many parts of the regional infrastructure.
The established dealers face intense competition from imported second-hand vehicles, mainly from Japan and United Arab Emirates. Another issue is that there is more demand for second-hand vehicles rather than new ones because Kenya is generally a lower middle-income country. Thus, Mobius Motors was established to provide low cost cars at about KES. 1,100,000 (US$11,000).
In the beginning of 2019, the Government of Kenya proposed to implement a National Automotive Policy which effectively would see an eventual ban on imports of second hand passenger and commercial vehicles. However, this was faced with stiff resistance from the used car industry with the government eventually having to suspend their push to change the regulations on 7 May 2019.