Egyptian Car Company Eyes Kenya Expansion

Ghabbour Auto (GB Auto), an Egyptian listed auto dealer, plans to form a joint venture in Kenya to assemble and distribute passenger vehicles.

The announcement was made last week following a board meeting, according to a regulatory filing seen by the Business Daily with the Egyptian Exchange (EGX).

The company’s board of directors approved “the participation in the establishment of a company in Kenya under the name of GB Automotive for car trade and manufacturing,” according to the company, which deals in cars, buses, lorries, and motorcycles.

Hyundai, Bajaj, Mitsubishi, and Volvo all have vehicles that it manufactures, assemble, import, and distribute.

All vehicles, including heavy trucks, semi-trucks, passenger cars, buses, agriculture tractors, and pick-ups, are traded, distributed, and marketed by GB Auto.

According to the company, it has grown to become one of the leading car assemblers and distributors in the Middle East and North Africa, with plans to expand beyond the region.

In Egypt, GB Auto has an exclusive agreement to import and sell Mazda-branded vehicles from Japan.

Hyundai Motor Company of South Korea has granted the company an exclusive license to assemble and distribute Hyundai vehicles in Egypt.

In Egypt, GB Auto is the sole distributor and aftermarket service provider for China’s Chery brand of vehicles.

Its expansion plans in Kenya come as the government prepares to exempt locally assembled passenger cars from VAT and excise taxes, potentially lowering car prices.

Passenger car manufacturers such as Simba Corp (Proton car maker) and DT Dobie (Volkswagen) are currently exempt from the 25% import duty.

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In 2021, locally assembled vehicles accounted for a record 70.6 percent of total sales, with 10,054 units sold versus 4,195 fully-built imported vehicles.

Nairobi’s Isuzu, Mombasa’s Associated Vehicle Assemblers (owned by Simba Corp), and Thika’s Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers are the major assembly plants (owned by the government, DT Dobie and CMC Holdings).