Global vehicle exporter, BE Forward, is upgrading to uplift Kenya’s manufacturing sector by upscaling the delivery of manufacturing equipment and car spare parts.
BE Forward is a Japanese used car exporter. Founded in Tokyo in 2004 by Hironori Yamakawa, it was among the first in Japan to offer online shopping of used cars for international export. With its cross-border ecommerce site developed exclusively for the firm, the company entered into the global ecommerce business market, selling and exporting used cars. Sale of auto-parts to expand their range of products and services was added in April 2015.
This comes after a recent report by the Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KEBS), which noted that production of assembled vehicles increased from 768 units in August 2020 to 798 units in September 2020. The report also noted that machinery and other capital equipment, Fuel and lubricants and transport equipment accounted for 17.81%, 12.57% and 11.51% of the total value of imports, respectively.
Speaking on this revelation, BE Forward Senior Manager South & East Africa Group John Mutahi commended the Government on its efforts to grow the manufacturing sector. He further noted that an increase in the vehicle imports was a positive sign of economic recovery.
“Kenya being a fast-growing economy, there is huge demand for machinery and equipment as well as spare parts. In 2019, Kenya imported approximately 130,000 Vehicles which dropped by about 50% in 2020 due to the pandemic. With import regulations adapting to the pandemic, we are optimistic that the demand to Kenya will grow, albeit slowly,” noted John.
In an aim to keep their customers and dealers safe, the company initiated a campaign dubbed ‘buy 1 keep 1 safe’. Sales Manager at BE Forward Mombasa office (Trent Motors) Salome Njeri Muriithi added that they have been supplying over 26,000 facemasks to help in the fight against COVID-19, while creating flexible payment plans.
“All our customers visiting the local offices continue to observe the safety guidelines against the spread of the virus, and through the system they can work remotely. We also have flexible payment plans for dealers thus allowing them to flexibly run their operations without a glitch. The latter has also been extended to customers who meet requirements of the same,” said Salome.
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) recorded 35,180 new registrations as of November 2020 compared to 27,063 units in 2019.
BE Forward has 7 local agent offices in Kenya and over 100 agents globally in the approximately 200 countries they operate in. The company’s system supports about 50 youth who have secured employment with BE Forward in Kenya alone. 90% of the company’s labor force is conducted by locals.