DT Dobie Kenya MD Ian Middleton (right) during the showcasing of a Mercedes C Class at a previous date. The company is set to retrench some of its employees.

DT Dobie has announced imminent job losses that could render tens of the company’s employees redundant in the coming days continuing the nasty job losses streak the country finds itself in, as the Kenyan economy continues to fall victim to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In a notice to employees, Managing Director Ian Middleton, however, says that the job losses “have nothing to do with the Coronavirus” but everything to do with the loss of business including the loss of the Nissan franchise to South African company Imperial Group, which happened six years ago.

‘This is to notify you that the management has been reviewing the performance of the company for the last 15 months and evidently there is a continuous loss of business for the company,’ said Middleton ” There are many reasons for this; the overall Kenyan economy over the past year, restriction on parts importation and internally loss of Nissan as a brand and the resultant reduction in servicing Nissan vehicles,”

The Managing Director says the decision to send some employees packing was made at the end of 2019. DT Dobie now joins other Kenyan companies in different sectors that have parted ways with their employees in the past year.

“The company has been prudently exploring ways of minimizing the reduction and impact of the number of employees to be affected by the impending redundancy and towards this end, we will share previous evaluations done,” added Middleton.

The company knows that the job losses are likely to affect its employees negatively and to that effect, it is mooting counseling sessions with distraught employees.

“The company shall from time to time hold consultative meetings in order to explore ways of reducing the number of employees to be affected and mitigate the harsh impact of redundancy you are therefore required to attend such meetings,” Middleton said.

In 2014, DT Dobie which currently holds the franchise to sell Mercedes, Volkswagen, and Hyundai trucks in Kenya lost its rights to distribute Nissan and Renault brands in the country to Imperial Group and the ripple effects from that blow are still being felt up to date.

DT Dobie had held the franchise for the two brands for decades but the deal symbolized the evolution of the Kenyan motors industry that is continuing to be more competitive with time.

The Mercedes Benz distributor is the first Kenyan company that has not attributed looming retrenchment to Coronavirus with most companies now retrenching at will and blaming it on the virus.

Meanwhile, DT Dobie’s dwindling fortunes are set to impact on the growth of the manufacturing sector in the country considering the company assembles some brands including Volkswagen Polo Vivo in the country.

The Parliamentary Budget Office estimates the sector contributes to Sh700 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year, an amount that will fall significantly this year. “The pandemic presents a major shock to the vulnerable sector,” PBO says in its Special COVID-19 bulletin.

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