NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 1- DT Dobie, the sole franchise distributor of Nissan passenger and light commercial vehicles in Kenya is angling for a bigger share of the car market in East African by introducing new models that meets their customer needs.
The firm has unveiled into the Kenyan market a new Nissan Hardbody NP300 with enhanced features and one which its General Sales Manager Usha Nagpal hopes will enable them to grow their market share.
“Our customers have been demanding safety features and so we have brought in a new (2.5litres) engine on the double cabin, dual airbags and anti-lock breaking systems for added safety and with this we hope to retain our customers and also grow our market share and profitability,” she explained of the vehicle that will be retailing at between Sh2.36 million and Sh3.65 million.
The one-tonne pickup is favoured by farmers, Small and Medium Enterprises, manufacturers such as the East African Breweries Limited as well as fleet companies due to its big load-carrying capacity.
By equipping it with these features, the firm hopes to sell more than 750 units this year which is about half of the total Nissan vehicles sold in 2010.
Notwithstanding the hard economic times that have affected people’s purchasing power, Ms Nagpal expressed optimism that they would be able to move a similar number of units this year.
“The situation has been rougher than this before and we are always out there trying to do our best but we know things will improve,” she enthused.
And in spite of the challenge posed by the popularity of second hand vehicles particularly in Kenya, the company appears unmoved by this competition.
This is partly due to the fact that pickups, which account for 50 percent of the distributor’s total sales, are only built for the African countries.
However, they are not complacent and intend to continue developing various designs and options that will enable them to meet their customer demands as well as the African road conditions.
DT Dobie’s Managing Director Zarak Khan for instance disclosed that given the high cost of fuel, they in partnership with their manufacturers, are intent on always upgrading their vehicles to ensure that they are highly efficient.
It is by having such quality models that will enable them to penetrate and conquer the regional market such as Tanzania, Southern Sudan, Zimbabwe and Malawi where they have recently expanded into.