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GM East Africa records growth

PORT ELIZABETH, SA, Mar 3 – Motor vehicle manufacturer General Motors East Africa’s (GMEA) last year registered a growth in its market share from 19.5 percent to 20.1 percent despite a global recession that also affected the motor industry.

Announcing the performance, the company’s President for Africa Edgar Lourencon expressed optimism of further growth for GMEA which is expected to record more sales volumes this year, especially in the area of public transport.

“We will be launching our new 33 and 37 seater-Isuzu buses in the middle of this year. These vehicles are in line with the Public Service Transport reforms which are currently underway in Kenya and also a demand from customers for higher occupancy vehicles,” said Mr Lourencon.

GMEA assembles Isuzu commercial vehicles and buses at its Nairobi-based East African plant.

This announcement came even as the parent company, GM, remained positive on its growth prospects on the African continent.

While Africa also suffered the effects of the global recession last year, Mr Lourencon said he expects the market to bottom out by the third quarter of 2010.

He said sales are showing improvement in markets like South Africa where the downturn started sooner than the rest of Africa.

“We are confident that the market will not deteriorate any further,” he said adding that this year, they would be looking to strengthen the sales volumes and market share positions in most of the African markets they operate in.

In 2009 the car manufacturer sold 151 578 vehicles in Africa and although more than half of these sales are attributed to Egypt and South Africa, the GM’s Regional Marketing Office that covers sales in West and North Africa are also important growing markets.

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GM RMO on the other hand sold just under 40 000 vehicles last year.

 “While the overall volume is down versus 2008, our market share has improved from 12.1 per cent in 2008 to 12.5 per cent,” said the regional president.

Since the Chevrolet brand was introduced in the GM RMO region in 2003, market share has grown from 1 per cent to 12.5 per cent at the end of 2009. The company intends to launch14 new products in the RMO between 2010 and 2012.

Chevrolet in particular is a key brand for General Motors in Africa and will play an increasingly dominant role in future as the Chevrolet product offering broadens.

The recently launched Chevrolet Cruze, has already proved to be a success in African markets.
“We are now eagerly anticipating the launch of the all-new trendy Chevrolet Spark which is bound to make its mark in the mini-car vehicle segment,” he disclosed.

The company sees key growth markets in the RMO are Algeria, Morocco and Libya.

“We currently have a 50 per cent share of the market in Libya and will therefore continue to build momentum in these emerging markets,” Mr Lourencon added.   

Meanwhile, GM South Africa (GMSA) is forecasting that new vehicle sales in 2010 will be marginally higher than last year.

“We foresee a gradual improvement in sales and project that the 2010 market will grow between 5-7 percent this year,” Mr Lourencon said. 

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