New Daimler African models

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German manufacturer sees real opportunities to grow its business in significant parts of Africa

KENYA Daimler is introducing two new bus models in Kenya. Both are being built in Nairobi in cooperation with local sales partner DT Dobie Kenya for the domestic market and its challenging road conditions. The compact Mercedes‑Benz 917 city bus is designed for urban, school or shuttle use and can accommodate up to 37 people. The more spacious Mercedes‑Benz 1730 is designed for long-distance travel and has room for approximately 60 passengers. With a total market of up to 2,500 new vehicles per year, Kenya is one of the most important sales markets for buses in Central and East Africa. Daimler has been active in Kenya since the 1950s.

Regarding the launch of the two new bus models, Ulrich Bastert, Head of Marketing, Sales & Customer Services at Daimler Buses, said: “I am very proud to present two new Mercedes-Benz buses for Kenya – together with our partner DT Dobie. With these products, our reliable service and DT Dobies excellent customer care we will convince our customers.”

Presently truck chassis are used in the vast majority of buses in Kenya. Due to the comparatively hard suspensions and high entrance steps, passenger comfort is low.

By contrast, the two new bus models are built on the proven OF 917 (permissible gross vehicle weight of 10.4 tonnes) and OF 1730 (perm. GVW 18t) bus chassis. These come from the Daimler plants in Chennai (India) and São Bernardo do Campo (Brazil). Both chassis have already proven themselves in practice on tough routes.

The chassis will be assembled locally and equipped with a body by certified body manufacturers in Kenya in accordance with Daimler standards.

Daimler AG opened its regional centre for East, Central and West Africa in Nairobi, in February 2016. Since then it has been responsible for the entire commercial vehicle portfolio in East, Central and West Africa, ranging from light to heavy-duty trucks and from minibuses to large tourist coaches. The sales and marketing activities cover trucks of the Mercedes-Benz and FUSO brands as well as Mercedes-Benz buses.

In addition to Kenya, the region of East, Central and West Africa covers another 40 markets including Nigeria, Tanzania, Cameroon and Ghana. It encompasses a total of 770m inhabitants and offers high growth potential in the long term: 68% of the population is under 25 years old, a higher proportion than anywhere else in the world. Over the last 10 years, the gross domestic product (GDP) has grown by an average of approximately 5% per year. Kenya itself has the fourth highest nominal GDP in Africa.