Current Issue 52
With Kenya’s vehicle market facing one of the biggest declines in recent history, Nissan Kenya is defying the odds
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Kane Weller
2015 was a year of milestones for Crown Motors Group Ltd; only a year after it obtained the exclusive distribution rights to trade under the Nissan brand in Kenya, the Company is continuously developing its sales and exceeding expectations in providing a world-class service.
Nissan had previously discontinued its relationship with CFAO (DT Dobie), enabling Nissan Kenya to be re-established as a brand new operation in 2014. Its new operation, Crown Motors Group is a joint venture partnership between AMH Africa, part of the South African Imperial Group, and local Kenyan Company, Hakmah Motors. The Imperial Group is the largest motor vehicle distributor on the African continent, and its expertise combined with the extensive local expertise of the Hakmah motors, results in a world-class operation.
In 2014, Nissan Kenya had already opened its flagship showroom in the heart of Nairobi, complete with a full spare parts warehouse and state-of-the-art workshop.
“We sourced some of the best staff available in the industry to ensure our success, coupling this with training and development and we were on our way to take on the market leaders in the industry,” explains Tommy du Toit, Managing Director of Nissan Kenya.
Shortly after the grand opening of its flagship dealer in Nairobi, the Company endeavored to work on the Mombasa dealership which incorporated a full parts service and sales facility into its portfolio. And following the success of this inception, Nissan Kenya has subsequently moved onto sub-dealers in Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu; by late 2015 it had developed quite an extensive footprint reaching across Kenya.
2016 has brought with it an array of new challenges for the Company to conquer however; with Kenya’s vehicle market entering one of the biggest declines in recent history, shrinking by slightly more than 30 percent by mid-year. Despite the challenges thrown at it, Nissan bucked the market trend and gained not only in market share – 11 percent YTD – but also in demonstrating year-on-year growth. This was made possible by offering clients new innovative services and market specific products of excellent quality.
After almost 50 years of representation in Kenya, the Nissan brand is firmly established as part of the Kenyan motoring landscape, therefore Nissan ensures that its brand strategy and vision flows through to every sector of the business.
With a global presence, maintaining cohesion through its branding and marketing strategies ensures that the experience customers receive in Kenya will be the same as in every other country Nissan is found in. Combined with the former, the Company is also supported with continuous training and development from Nissan; ensuring that standards are being met and maintained across all divisions and the Nissan ethos is delivered globally.
“Nissan Kenya believes that employees are the key to success and as such we have invested heavily in training and development of our staff. This coupled with continuous process improvement and, most importantly, customer feedback allows us to keep on improving and innovating,” continues du Toit.
As part of the Nissan family, a distinct advantage for Nissan Kenya is the ability to leverage on the reputation and brand name of one of the leading motor manufacturers in the world.
du Toit explains: “Our customers trust and respect the Nissan name and heritage and it’s our mission to ensure that we uphold this image in every customer’s mind, and as they will tell you, they are the proud owners of Nissan vehicles which are world-renowned for reliability and quality.”
Nissan Kenya is challenged daily to find ways to develop with the ever-evolving Kenyan customers; it is no longer about just buying a vehicle, they are looking for the total package. The Company appreciates that every customer’s specific needs have to be assessed in order to produce a product offering designed to suit them, whether it is service plans, industry specific accessories, financial service offerings or leasing.
“Over the past 12 months there has been a big shift in Kenya towards leasing a vehicle rather than outright ownership, and we have developed offerings in conjunction with some of the big leasing companies in Kenya to meet this demand and we will keep on refining these offers to adjust to ever-changing consumer trends,” clarifies du Toit.
The Company is continuously building on its success, partly due to its awareness of the most vital information in its business; if Nissan Kenya knows its customer demands and what their needs are, it can adapt accordingly.
A perfect example of Nissan Kenya’s ever evolving nature is the introduction of ‘After Hours Servicing’. With traffic proving to be a major problem in Kenya, the Company realised that customers cannot afford to be stuck for hours in order to get a vehicle serviced.
“This realisation prompted us to offer after hours service to our customers, insuring that we offer them a convenient service offering allowing them to concentrate on their business and give them the freedom to service vehicles at their convenience,” continues du Toit.
Nissan Kenya’s tailor-made service was initially introduced to its corporate and fleet customers to avoid business stoppages; however, those companies are not the only ones who benefit from Nissan’s services. The whole of Nairobi will in fact benefit as a positive side effect, with some of Nissan Kenya’s customers being key service providers and suppliers in the area and Nissan Kenya ensuring their vehicles are available when it counts most.
du Toit concludes: “Kenya being one of the fastest growing economies in Africa has huge potential, hence the reason we continuously monitor global motor industry trends, the South African motor vehicle industry and that of our competitors locally.
“This keeps us on the cutting edge of innovation delivering a product that meets our customers’ requirements in every way.”