South Africa’s Motus Holdings, previously trading as AMH Group, has taken full control of the local Nissan dealership after buying out Kenyan businessman Mohamed Zubedi’s 49 per cent stake in the franchise.
Mr Zubedi, through his investment vehicle Hakma, partnered with the multinational to set up Crown Motors in 2014 after winning the rights to sell Nissan vehicles in Kenya.
“I sold my shares in the company in October last year. Motus now fully owns the company,” Mr Zubedi told the Business Daily.
He declined to comment further on the transaction, citing constraints based on non-disclosure agreements.
Executives of Crown Motors and Motus had not responded to our queries by the time of going to press.
AMH changed its name to Motus after it was fully acquired by South Africa-based conglomerate Imperial Holdings.
The formation of Crown Motors came after DT Dobie, the previous local holder of the Nissan franchise, lost the contract.
Nissan terminated DT Dobie’s contract after Toyota Tsusho, an affiliate of its rival Toyota Motor Corporation, acquired it in December 2012 as part of a Pan-African deal involving the dealer’s parent firm CFAO.
Crown Motors’ sales of Nissan vehicles stood at 381 units last year, representing a 3.4 per share of all new vehicles sold in the country, according to data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI).
Sales of Nissan pick-ups, vans and cars last peaked at 1,140 units in 2013 under DT Dobie, according to the KMI statistics. This represented a 7.8 per cent market share in that year.
Nissan is one of the biggest brands in the local pick-up segment, competing against Toyota and Isuzu. Crown has moved to expand its distribution network in the country in a bid to grow sales.
It has currently has sales, parts and service centres in Nairobi, Eldoret, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru. The buyout of Mr Zubedi increases the hold of global automakers and multinational trading companies, which own all the major new vehicle dealers in the country.