In the face of soaring living costs and rising fuel prices, Kenyans have exhibited remarkable resilience, evidenced by a striking 25 percent increase in car registrations during the first nine months of this year.

Official data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics vividly illustrates this surge, with a remarkable total of 72,982 registered vehicles in the initial three quarters, a substantial leap from last year’s count of 57,978 during the same period. This significant increase not only reflects an impressive rise but also marks the highest number since 2019 when registrations peaked at an impressive 80,289.

During a period where citizens grapple with challenges such as increased taxation, local currency depreciation, and the global impact of heightened production costs affecting vehicle prices worldwide, this surge in vehicle acquisition is noteworthy.

The robust transport industry indicates a surge in demand, particularly for trailers, which almost tripled from 1,654 to an impressive 4,407 compared to the first three quarters of the previous year. Local assembly also highlights noteworthy growth rates, 97.5% for mini-buses and 68.6% for pickups, respectively, signifying not only increased production but also heightened local economic activity.

The practicality and fuel efficiency of station wagons and hatchbacks contributed to their dominance on the registration charts, representing 58 percent of total registrations during this period. A growing interest in the transport business is evident, with lorries accounting for 13 percent, securing the third position, and pickups following suit at a respectable fourth place.

An examination of the factors contributing to this surge reveals a heavy reliance on financing arrangements from banks and other financial institutions. Despite a significant rise in the cost of vehicles, up to 40% in just five months, as reported by the Business Daily, Kenyans appear undeterred, possibly due to their need for reliable transportation in a country where public transport infrastructure may not consistently meet requirements.

The situation is further complicated by a weakened shilling, losing 19 percent of its value against the US dollar since the beginning of the year, as reported by the Central Bank of Kenya. Additionally, a decrease in the supply of used cars from overseas intensifies challenges and contributes to an increase in import costs.