Japan’s Isuzu Motors has announced the acquisition of a 57.7% interest in General Motors’ (GM’s) East Africa business saying it made the investment to expand commercial vehicle production and sales in the region.
The unit, established in 1975, had already been assembling and selling Isuzu-badged light and mid-duty trucks and buses, while also importing Isuzu pickup trucks and Chevrolet passenger cars.
GM East Africa has been the top seller in Kenya’s commercial vehicle market for five years running, although the overall vehicle market there has been weak more recently, with the Kenya Motor Industry Association recently reporting a 30% drop in 2016 total vehicle sales to 13,535 units, from 19,523 in 2015.
As GM will be exiting the business, it will be renamed Isuzu East Africa from April. The other shareholders are Kenya’s Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation with 20%, Nairobi-listed Centum Investments with 17.8%, and Japan’s Itochu Corp with 4.5%.
Isuzu said it would target further quality improvement, vehicle sales expansion and improved aftersales service.
“For these purposes, Isuzu will provide the company in East Africa with as much assistance as possible in the fields of personnel training, manufacturing technique and enhancement of aftersales business,” it added.
GM also recently confirmed talks to potentially sell its European division to France’s PSA Group.