Toyota Tsusho Corporation ("Toyota Tsusho"), acting through Toyota Kenya Limited ("TKEN"), began SKD* production of the Toyota Hiace at Associated Vehicle Assemblers Ltd. ("AVA"), a vehicle production contractor, using parts supplied by Toyota Motor Corporation ("Toyota"), on November 9, 2021. The planned Hiace annual production volume is 500 units. Investment associated with the addition of the Hiace as a production model was approximately US$600,000 (equivalent to approximately 70 million yen; including equipment, tools, and training of assembly personnel).
The Hiace vehicles to be produced will be used as matatu, privately-owned minibuses operated in Kenya. Under the "With Africa For Africa" philosophy, which seeks to achieve growth with the African people and African society, the Hiace will be produced locally to provide safe and secure means of public transportation in Africa.
In conjunction with the local production of the Hiace, provision of the MaaS Package, which is intended to enhance the quality of bus services, also started. This package uses a service provided by Data Integrated Limited, which develops and provides operational management systems for bus transportation operators, and is expected to improve bus operation information. Toyota Tsusho invested in Data Integrated through Mobility 54 Investment SAS.
A ceremony marking the start of Hiace production was held at the AVA Mombasa Plant from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (local time; 4:00–7:00 p.m. Japan time) on December 15. Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Betty C. Maina, attended the ceremony, at which President Keiji Masui of Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd. and President Ichiro Kashitani of Toyota Tsusho presented messages via video, conveying their commitment to contributing to Kenya’s further development through production of the Hiace.
* Abbreviation for semi knock down. Unlike completely knocked down (CKD) production, the welded and painted auto bodies are imported, and the main parts are installed on the body and chassis locally. Only relatively simply assembly work is performed.