Honda Kenya will start manufacturing motorcycles in the country using local materials. Speaking during the launch of the first motorcycle plant in the country, Honda Kenya Managing Director Hirohide Ichikawa said the factory is the culmination of a three-year journey of planning, identification of local suppliers, production of global class parts, preparation of jigs, technology transfer through intensive training and the actual production. “Honda Kenya will be the first company in East and Central Africa to produce a motorcycle using five different parts, all made in Kenya,” he said.
Honda’s Head of Global Production Yoshi Yamane, who was also visiting the Nairobi plant, said all Honda motorcycles to be produced in Kenya will meet government requirements. Kenya’s motorcycle association chairman Isaac Kalua welcomed the development, saying it will create hundreds of jobs for Kenyan youth. “This is a major milestone for Kenyan youth and we should support local manufacturing to boost our competitiveness in the global market,” he said. Honda is the world’s leading motorcycle maker, commanding 35 per cent market share, followed by Indian firm Hero, with 12 per cent. Yamaha of Japan is third with 10 per cent market share, Bajaj of India fourth with six per cent and TVS of India taking five per cent market share. Last year, Honda sold 18 million units globally.