Changan Auto, a prominent Chinese automaker, has made a significant entry into the Kenyan market, bringing a fresh wave of stylish, fuel-efficient, and technologically advanced vehicles. This move, marked by a strategic partnership with Inchcape Kenya, signifies a major shift in the automotive landscape of Kenya, promising to deliver high-performance vehicles tailored to the discerning Kenyan consumer.
Changan, translating to ‘lasting safety’, boasts a 160-year legacy, establishing itself as one of the leading Chinese automotive brands globally. Holding the fifth position among Chinese automobile groups as of 2022, Changan stands as the highest-selling car brand in China and ranks second globally among independent Chinese brands. Its global footprint extends across significant African markets including Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Ghana.
Inchcape Kenya, under the leadership of Managing Director Julia Vershinskaya, has identified this collaboration with Changan as a strategic and regional expansion move. The partnership aims to spread across East Africa, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Djibouti. This collaboration represents a significant milestone in Inchcape Kenya’s operations, underpinning a commitment to deliver value and an exceptional driving experience to Kenyan customers.
Changan’s Flagship Vehicles
The introduction of Changan’s five new high-performance vehicles – the Oshan SUV, Alsvin sedan, Hunter pickup, Star 5 minivan, and Star 5 mini truck – is set to redefine automotive standards in Kenya. Each model is designed with cutting-edge technology and safety features, tailored specifically for Kenyan customers.
- Oshan SUV: This model exemplifies a blend of sporty elegance and technological sophistication. It features a 1.5L turbocharged engine, achieving 14-15 km/litre fuel efficiency, and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 8.23 seconds. The SUV is equipped with advanced features like Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, and heated and vented seats.
- Alsvin Sedan: Targeting the energetic and style-conscious driver, the Alsvin sedan is both sleek and fuel-efficient. Its 1.5 litre Euro 6 engine offers impressive performance and fuel economy, backed by a 5-year warranty for peace of mind.
- Hunter Pickup: The unveiling of the Hunter double cabin pickup highlights Inchcape Kenya’s commitment to diversifying its portfolio, extending beyond its traditional luxury segment.
Tom Yin, Vice General Manager of Changan Automotive, emphasizes the custom-tailored nature of these models for the Kenyan market, focusing on quality, value, and adaptability to local conditions. The Nairobi showroom will cater to Kenyans interested in purchasing or test-driving Changan models, enhancing the overall customer experience.
Inchcape Kenya’s acquisition of the Changan franchise marks a strategic shift from focusing exclusively on luxury automotive brands to tapping into the mass market. This move diversifies Inchcape’s portfolio while maintaining its commitment to quality and competitive pricing, with models like the Changan SUV being competitively priced, inclusive of VAT.
Inchcape and Changan’s plans to locally assemble vehicles and introduce electric vehicles to Kenya and other East African markets demonstrate a long-term commitment to the region’s automotive sector. This initiative aligns with both companies’ dedication to adding value in the local market.
The launch of Changan Auto in Kenya represents a significant development in the Kenyan automotive sector. Offering a range of vehicles that combine modern technology, advanced safety systems, and competitive pricing, Changan is poised to meet the evolving needs of Kenyan customers. This strategic partnership not only broadens the automotive options in Kenya but also signifies a future-oriented vision towards sustainable and technologically advanced mobility solutions.