General Motors South Africa exported its first shipment of Isuzu KB light commercial vehicles to Kenya last weekend, the latest market for the company's right-hand drive versions of the vehicle, which is already exported to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mauritius. Isuzu already has a 30% share of Kenyan LCV sales.
The first vehicles were transported by BLG Logistics from GMSA's Port Elizabeth plant to the port for shortsea shipment aboard the Sunlight Ace, a vessel operated by Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL). Transit time to Mombasa takes seven days via Maputo and Dar-es Salaam.
According to Rita Kavashe, managing director of East Africa and GMSA Exports, the expansion of exports of the Isuzu KB into key Sub-Saharan Africa markets will continue to build momentum over the coming months. "When production of the new generation Isuzu KB commences at the company's Struandale facility next year, this will represent the first time that the vehicle will be built in both right and left hand drive."
Kavashe went on to say that the company was working on strengthening its distribution network and improving logistics in Sub-Saharan Africa to make the most of opportunities for expanding its export markets for the Isuzu KB.

"We are aiming to grow our export volumes to Kenya and other Sub-Saharan markets and our Isuzu KB product line-up in particular represents a significant opportunity for us to do so," as spokesperson for GMSA told Automotive Logistics.
According to the company the increased export volumes will ensure GMSA achieves the government's Automotive Production and Development Plan (APDP) annual production volume of 50,000 units, which comes into effect in 2013.
"With all the development happening in Sub-Saharan Africa, as countries improve road infrastructure, agriculture and invest in construction of new buildings, there is opportunity to sell our tough commercial vehicles in these markets," said Kavashe.
GMSA is currently investing R1 billion ($132m) in its three new vehicle assembly programmes. They include the Chevrolet Utility, which came on stream at the end of last year, the new Spark which goes into production later this month and the sixth generation Isuzu KB, which is set to be launched in Sub-Saharan Africa during the first half of 2013.
Sales of the Isuzu KB and Chevrolet Utility gave GMSA a 22% share of the LCV market in South Africa last month.