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Kenya motor industry players seek govt stimulus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 21 – Stakeholders in Kenya’s motor vehicle industry are calling on the government to put in place protective incentives in the wake of a recession that is fast catching up with Africa.

General Motors East Africa (GMEA) Managing Director Bill Lay said on Tuesday that inducements such as rebates would among other things encourage investment in the sector while at the same time cushion against the shocks of the global economic crisis.

“The sector must be given its due consideration as it plays a critical role in the economic development of the country,” he argued.

Globally, motor vehicle companies are on a down run characterised by massive lay offs and a dip in both sales and profits. Mr Lay however expressed confidence that GMEA had put in place measures that will ease the effects of the economic crisis on the company.

Equally, the players are appealing to the government to provide protection to investors in the sector against criminal gangs and rogue policemen who harass and demand bribes from them said Mr Lay, who spoke at the GMEA headquarters during the unveiling of a Sh80 million Express Service Centre.

At the same function, Matatu Owners Association National Chairman, Simon Kimutai warned that investors in the motor sector especially public service vehicles risked being driven out of business, if the government kept turning a cold shoulder on them.

“Most of these Matatu owners are small business people who look upon the government to provide protection and tax rebates for them to grow. It is disheartening that the government is instead heaping hurdles in their way,” complained Mr Kimutai.

The Service Centre aims to reduce the turn-around time in servicing of vehicles. It will offer a ‘while-u-wait’ service where customers will not necessarily have to leave their vehicles in the garage for several hours to get the service done.

Mr Lay said the company was keen on shortening the time taken in fixing repairs for the convenience of its customers.

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“GMEA recognises the need for speed, convenience and quality. The launch of this service centre today and the investment pumped into this facility is a direct response to our customers’ increasing demand for our products and services,” said Mr Lay, explaining that the turn around time for repairs would be reduced to an average of one and a half hours.

“This is particularly an exciting concept for heavy commercial vehicle owners who will now have their trucks and buses serviced in the shortest time possible,” said Mr Lay, adding that they have hired more staff and expanded the existing workshop to ensure that customers get quality service at the shortest time possible.

The facility will serve both light and heavy commercial vehicles as well as passenger saloon cars.

Mr Lay said that this was in line with GMEA’s drive to be at the leading edge of customer satisfaction in the wake of increased demand for the company’s products and services.

“In keeping with our commitment to excellence, we will continue churning into the market vehicles that have been assembled with the Kenyan road conditions in mind.”

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