Mobius Motors, the manufacturer of the Kenya-made vehicle designated as Africa’s cheapest, says it will start production of a second and improved version of the car next year.
Joel Jackson, the British entrepreneur who is the brains behind Mobius, said the company plans to manufacture “significantly” more units than the 50 they produced and sold in the first run last year.
The first model of the vehicle, which is designed for Africa’s rough terrain and off-road driving, hit the showroom in October 2014, retailing at Sh950,000 (Sh1.1 million inclusive of tax).
“We are excited about the launch of our new Mobius II model next year, which will see a significant ramp up in production volume,” Mr Jackson told the Business Daily on telephone.
“We will be making and announcement about the next production run at the end of December.”
The upcoming Mobius will come with advanced features including power steering, sealed side windows and lockable doors. It will also have a higher ground clearance, an improved exterior and interior design.
The original model was stripped of extras such as power steering and internal fixtures and the new version is looking woo a wide clientele base with the improve features.
Mass production of the first Mobius version started in April last year with Thika-based motor vehicle assembler Kenya Vehicle Manufacturer (KVM) kicking off with 50 units.
Mobius has now written to prospective buyers to make reservations and deposit Sh50,000, which is refundable fee should one change their mind.
“I am glad to inform you that we have the next model coming soon. We are accepting pre-orders now,” the car manufacturer states in its offer letter to prospective customers.
“Designed with local road conditions in mind, the new Mobius II combines the core performance of an off-road car to cover long distances on all roads reliably and comfortably.”
Mr Jackson built the firm from scratch until 2015 when Mobius became a focus of local and foreign investors. American billionaire Ronald Lauder offered an undisclosed convertible debt to help it assemble the first units and establish a distribution network.
Lack of affordable commercial vehicles such as pick-ups has forced Kenya’s rural-based SMEs to turn to station wagons like Toyota Probox to ferry goods through the rough rural terrain.
The car can sit eight passengers, including the driver, and it has a large cargo base. Mobius has a loading capacity of 625 kilogrammes and a top speed of 160 kilometers per hour.
At Sh950,000, the car is significantly cheaper than the lowest priced showroom models in the market that cost more than Sh2 million.
Mobius target market is small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) in agribusiness, infrastructure as well as supplies operating in remote rural areas and who require a vehicle that can withstand the rough terrain.
The car manufacturer also targets the lucrative tourism market for riders in the national parks as well as governments agencies, especially those located in remote rural outposts.