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AFRICAN DIASPORA: Iconic Ford Mustang ponies up in Kenya

Right-side-drive market: Competition in auto industry stiff; Mustang is expected to impact luxury car market By DANA SANCHEZ NAIROBI, Kenya (AFKI) — Kenya is the second country in Africa after South Africa where Ford Mustangs will be available now

Right-side-drive market: Competition in auto industry stiff; Mustang is expected to impact luxury car market

By DANA SANCHEZ

NAIROBI, Kenya (AFKI) — Kenya is the second country in Africa after South Africa where Ford Mustangs will be available now that Ford has begun producing a right-hand drive version at its assembly plant in Flat Rock, Mich., in the U.S.,

Mark Kass, CEO of Cooper Motor Corporation (CMC), said competition in the auto industry had become stiff and the Mustang is expected to position the dealership favorably in the luxury car market.

The luxury car market has been dominated by Mercedes, BMW and most recently Porsche.

“The luxury car segment in Kenya grew by 4 percent last year with private companies and individuals showing a keen appetite for such vehicles. We are happy to have the Mustang in our stable,” Kass said.

CMC has a long history with Ford. Founded in 1912 under the name Nairobi Motor Garage, its first imports were the Ford Model T Ford.

The company has been growing its Ford portfolio, introducing Ford pickup trucks targeted at a government leasing program. CMC is Kenya’s fifth-largest vehicle importer and assembly company.

Rob Johnston, Ford regional sales manager for sub-Saharan Africa, said Ford dealers in the region were flooded with queries and orders when Ford announced in 2015 that Mustangs would be coming to right-hand drive markets for the first time.

He said he’s anticipating a positive response from the market.

“We’re delighted to finally be able to offer the Mustang to buyers in the region,” Johnston said.

Elsewhere in the right-hand driving world, there are backlogs for the new Ford Mustang, according to Europe Auto News, Customers in England and Australia must wait at least six months for a new Mustang.

Ford Motor Company’s 2014 overhaul of the Mustang included opening sales in 81 more countries. Demand has been especially heavy for the first-ever right-hand-drive Mustang, which went on sale in 2015 in 25 markets where the car had been virtually off-limits before.

Ford said the Mustang is the top-selling sports car this year in South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It’s also the most popular car in the U.K. that’s rated at more than 250 horsepower.

Before 2015, the Mustang was sold in North America and a few dozen other countries, where sales were small. Getting it anywhere else meant working through private importers with expensive conversion to right-hand drive.

The latest generation Ford Mustang was designed to have more global appeal, with changes that upset some traditionalists — like an independent rear suspension instead of a live axle.

Today, about 80 percent of all Ford cars — all built in Flat Rock, Mich. — remain in the U.S., but Ford sees the Mustang’s growing presence in 100-plus countries outside North America as a way to spread its brand worldwide.

“The visceral look, sound, and performance of Mustang resonate with people, even if they’ve never driven one,” Ford’s global product development chief, Raj Nair, said in 2014 when the car marked its 50th anniversary. “Mustang is definitely more than just a car — it is the heart and soul of Ford.”

The price tag for a 2016 Ford Mustang in South Africa ranges from $51,463 to $67,467, according to Ford.co.za

Despite the price tag and difficult economic climate, Ford Mustang has a massive pre-order backlog since its launch in South Africa at the end of 2015. Its waiting list could extend into 2018, Business Tech reported.

Ford said at its South Africa launch in December that 35-to-40 cars were arriving in the country monthly.

There is no real competitor in South Africa for the Mustang, Business Tech reported. The closest thing to a competitor may be the BMW 4 Series.

When the Ford Mustang launched in sub-Saharan Africa in December, it announced that launch markets will include Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

 

 

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