A very prominent Kenyan who has, by virtue of hard work and ambition, blazed a trail that will have many Kenyans panting as they try to catch up. Karangu is President and Chief Operating Officer of Mercedes Benz of Augusta and Fairway Ford of Augusta. Previously, he held progressively responsible positions with a variety of automotive companies. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of Augusta Prep School, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Augusta. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Morgan State University. He was recently named to the Board of Directors for MCG Health Inc.
It is no small feat to be mentioned in the Black Enterprise Magazine’s top 100 black owned companies (in #41 in 2003 and #42 in 2004) but his car dealership has achieved that status. He has also been interviewed on CNN as one of the most prominent black businessmen in the US car market.
David Karangu, 38, owns Kenya Auto Enterprises, an Augusta-based company which holds the Mercedes Benz franchise. Augusta is the second-largest luxury car market in the state of Georgia after state capital Atlanta.
Karangu’s franchise operates under the name Kenya Auto Enterprises and employs over 100 people. Annual sales exceed $66 million (about Sh5 billion). His dealership is ranked 41 out of 100 in the US in a survey by Black Enterprise magazine. Kenya Auto Enterprises is also quoted in the Augusta Chronicle.
It can be traced back to his days at Morgan State University, Baltimore, in the 1980s when General Motors came scouting for talent and he Ford as a manager. In 1997, a Ford dealership was offered for sale and Karangu, then only 30, seized the opportunity.
The dealership was earning approximately $10 million (Sh740 million) in sales annually. By 2003, reports Black Enterprise magazine, earnings had shot up to around $72 million.
He has now acquired a new BMW/Subaru/Volkswagen dealership (March 2007) and divested his economy car businesses. His focus is now going to be on luxury cars.
Born in Atlanta in 1967, Karangu came to Kenya when he was about five, but went back to the US when he was 17. He enrolled for a marketing course at Morgan University where his father was teaching.
We salute you. Thank you for setting very high standards for us to aspire to.