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German auto giant, VW, returns to Kenya after almost 40 years

German auto giant, VW, returns to Kenya after almost 40 years

Kenya

German auto manufacturer, Volkswagen (VW), is set to restart assembling of its vehicles in Kenya. The company’s last engagement with Kenya dates back to 1977.

The Kenyan government on Wednesday disclosed that a deal had been reached with Volkswagen South Africa to partner with a local company in which the government is a shareholder – the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM).

“Volkswagen has signed a deal to use the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) in Thika to assemble its popular models beginning with the Volkswagen Vivo,” a government statement said.

Volkswagen has signed a deal to use the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) in Thika to assemble its popular models beginning with the Volkswagen Vivo.

Thika is an industrial town, north-east of the Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The first Kenyan-assembled VW Vivo brand is expected later this year. VW, the German auto giants used to operate in Kenya in the 1960s, assembling among others; vans, mini-buses and the famous VW Kombi.

President Kenyatta on the VW deal

Speaking on the new development, president Uhuru Kenyatta said, ‘‘I am happy to welcome back the largest car manufacturer currently in the world, back to Kenya. Volkswagen South Africa will establish an assembly plant to produce motor vehicles at the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers limited in Thika.

‘‘This is a milestone in my administration’s determined push to grow the manufacturing base and transform Kenya into an industrialized nation.’‘