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Chinese luxury car maker to open local assembly in Kenya

Hawtai Motors described Kenya as a strategic location due to its inclusion in the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative.

Chinese luxury vehicle maker Hawtai Motors intends to open a local assembly line in Nairobi to cash in on China’s growing influence in the East African region.

“Hawtai Motor is taking advantage of the B&R initiative to promote its expansion to further expand into world markets by building a Chinese car brand with international competitiveness,” a statement from the car manufacture said.

Hawtai Motors described Kenya as a strategic location due to its inclusion in the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative where Chinese plans to spend billions of dollars  constructing infrastructural projects—ranging from railways, roads and energy along the an ancient network of silk land and ocean trade routes of centuries past used by the Chinese to trade and connect with the world called the Silk Road.

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Among the grand projects is the Sh327 billion 500-kilometre Nairobi-Mombasa standard gauge railway.

“The company plans to raise the bar with both production and sales from 200,000 units in 2018 to 500,000 units by 2020, with its complete vehicles, automotive products, engines and gearboxes widely exported to more than 30 countries and regions,” said firm chairman Zhang Hongliang.

From the statement, Hawtai Motors indicated it was keen on entering into a partnership with a local firm that will receive motor vehicle parts under a Knocked Down (KD) arrangement for assembly, distribution and sales.

Kenya motor industry has in recent years attracted global players with Kenya’s capital already playing host to French automaker Peugeot, India’s Tata, German’s Volkswagen and China’s Foton in 2019.

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Nairobi-based Isuzu East Africa with its Isuzu and Chevrolet brands as well as the Changamwe-based Toyota bus assembly plant have been selling across East Africa thanks to friendly tax regimes across East Africa.

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