The wealthy in Kenya seem not to be feeling the pinch Covid-19 is having to the economy, which has brought the economy almost down to its knees.
According to data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI), the orders for luxury cars such as Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Range Rover brands was up by 73 percent in the first quarter of 2020.
A total of 45 units of high-end cars were sold by dealers in the review period compared to 26 units a year earlier. 17 Mercedes Benz cars were sold, 12 Land Rovers and eight BMWs. Porsche Centre Nairobi sold seven cars and Bentley sold one.
The sales for new cars dropped by 1.6 percent over the same period to 2,698 units from 2,741 units.
Despite the shoot in orders for high end cars, it is expected that the numbers could drop due to the effects of Covid-19, that has broken the supply chain.
In 2019, the orders for high-end cars dropped by 43 percent in the nine months to September due to franchise and supply chain disruptions in the industry as well as scrutiny from agencies like the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
It is reported that currently, over 1000 imported vehicles are stuck at the port, after the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) halted the services in Mombasa over the rapid spread of COVID-19.
As a result, motor vehicle importers want clearing and forwarding services to be classified as essential services.
In a letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Revenue and Regional Operations at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the importers, represented in the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA), the importers protested the high storage fees as units are yet to be delivered to their owners.
“Motor vehicles imported through the port of Mombasa for both local and regional countries are stuck at various container freight stations, but cannot be delivered to their owners,” the importers said.
They also want accrued warehouse rents and port storage charges waived. These, they say, are as a result of the movement ban imposed in March.