SOLVING THE PROBLEM
Mobius was founded in 2010 by the British Joel Jackson. During his work for the Kenyan forestry company Komaza, he became aware of a fundamental problem. Used cars from Asia are flooding the Kenyan car market. But the imported cars are not only expensive. They also do not cope well with the rather rough Kenyan road conditions.
Jackson wanted to solve this problem by making a car that meets local needs – at competitive prices. The concept is based on a car that is as simply constructed as possible with few extras. This keeps costs down.
Mobius cooperates with local suppliers wherever possible to optimise the supply chain. This is challenging because there are only a small number of companies that can deliver the required quality.
CONCENTRATION ON A SIMPLE BASIC MODEL
After its foundation, Mobius Motors produced a prototype in 2011, the Mobius I. Various investors came on board. In 2014 another prototype was produced, the first Mobius II, a 1.6 litre petrol engine with 86 hp. Low fuel costs are an important purchase argument for the average African car buyer. The number of units of the Mobius II was 50.
The company is currently taking advance orders for the new edition of the Mobius II. Production is scheduled to start in 2020. The price is affordable for many Kenyans. The entry-level model will cost 1,300,000 Kenyan Shillings (KES). That corresponds to about 10,100 euros. The new model will be available in three versions.
Mobius Motors has announced that it will diversify the utility value of the Mobius II with an expandable chassis. It would like to create application possibilities for the transport of goods and people and as an ambulance by means of various superstructures. Hybrid and electric versions are also planned. At the beginning of 2020, the carmaker produced ventilators because of COVID-19.
“MADE IN KENYA” AS SALES ARGUMENT
Mobius also bets on the national pride of the Kenyans. The Kenyan population is enthusiastic about the car “Made in Kenya”. German sales director Markus Schröder reported on their enthusiasm when he is seen on the street with one of the prototypes. People ask him enthusiastically: “Oh, made in Kenya? I like your car.”
The name and logo of Mobius are based on the so-called Möbius strip. This is an infinite loop, which was studied and described in detail by the German mathematician Möbius in the 19th century. At Mobius Motors it describes robustness, durability, and longevity. These characteristics should also apply to the vehicles.
Mobius’ focus on Kenya as its main target market seems well chosen. Deloitte believes that Kenya is well positioned due to a well-educated middle class, a progressive business environment and good regional market access. The country could develop into an East Africa automotive centre.
The Kenyan government is actively supporting Mobius. According to Reuters, from 2021 onwards no used cars older than three years may be imported into Kenya. In addition, local car manufacturers are to be completely exempted from import duties and excise duties and their corporate income tax rate is to be reduced to half. These measures are part of the government’s “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” strategy.