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Simba Corporation has lost its BMW car dealership to London-based Inchcape Plc which recently acquired the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) franchise from RMA Group.

Sources familiar with the matter told the Business Daily that Munich-based BMW AG had notified Bavaria Auto — the subsidiary through which Simba Corp sells luxury cars — of its intention to transfer the franchise to Inchcape.

A formal announcement is expected to be made in the next few weeks and the UK multinational is set to start selling BMW cars from early next year. “Inchcape is taking over the BMW dealership from Bavaria. An announcement to this effect will be made soon,” said one source.

Another source said the move comes after the German automaker reviewed its global distribution strategy aimed at working with a few dealers who take control of sales in multiple markets. Inchcape is expected to sell BMW cars in more than eight markets in the region including Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

The change in BMW’s local dealership continues the musical chairs seen in Kenya’s new vehicle market where automakers are constantly reviewing their existing franchisees.

The churn, for instance, saw DT Dobie take over the Volkswagen dealership from CMC, DT Dobie lose Nissan franchise to Crown Motors and General Motors terminate Isuzu East Africa’s sale of Chevrolet cars.

Bavaria has been selling BMW cars since 2008 when it took over the franchise from Mashariki Motors.

For Inchcape, the takeover of BMW marks a rapid expansion in the local market where it bought out the JLR franchise from RMA Group in June.

The UK multinational will now have the biggest market share in the new luxury car market, placing it ahead of rivals DT Dobie which sells Mercedes models and Porsche Centre Nairobi.

Sales of BMW, Jaguar and Land Rover models stood at 74 units or 54 per cent of the total 137 units sold in the industry in the half year ended June, indicating the market share Inchcape will inherit.

Source: Business Daily Africa

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