19th August, 2010
No fewer than 30 brands of automobile at the last count are being represented by franchised dealerships across the country today. And they are jostling for patronage, viewed globally by automakers as the fortress of automobile market in Africa.
Although getting precise data of new imports to the country could sometimes be miserable, dealerships and their principals have learnt to do their business regardless of this challenge.
For them, the Nigeria automobile market has all the potentials to grow and in no distant future, double its size. Unfounded statistics put combined new vehicular imports to Nigeria last year at about 700,000 units from a staggering 10,000 units some eight years ago.
This figure does not however include more than 150,000 units of similar imports known as Tokunboh in the local parlance i.e. fairly used vehicles from different parts of Europe and the Americas that are occasionally hurled into the country by night through the borders.
Mindless of these activities the market has continued to be a beehive of activities attracting more brands of automobiles that are on daily basis seeking to register their mark on the Nigeria turf.
One of the most recent entrants is the Chinese engineered GreatWall Motors that is marketed by Asian Hall Cica Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of CFAO.
Like other players, GreatWall seeks to have a bite on both the commercial truck vehicle segment and of course the passenger car category.
Among the entrants are TATA, Subaru, Yutong, JAC, Lifan, Chery, Jingei, Quingoi, Geely, Foton, BYD, Landmark, Grandtiger, Ssanyong and a whole lot of others.
Even at that, more automobile and tyre brands from different parts of the world are continuing in the jostling spree to have a spicy bit on the fledging market shares.
Until the 1980â€™s, Peugeot imported more units of vehicles than rival brands with an appreciable 200,000 units annually while Nissan/Datsun followed closely and Toyota tagging with 56,000 units. But that has since changed with the towering image of the Toyota brand worldwide.
Not even the entrance of the new playersâ€™ especially Chinese imports could stop the bullish Toyota safe for Kia proactive moves that appears to be encroaching on Toyotaâ€™s shares. Although Nissan, Honda and Peugeot are making fair inroads, their combined import may not be compared to Toyota and Kiaâ€™s on the import chart.
Like the automobile circle, importers of motorcycles are similarly advcancingÂ their course as well. They have grown strong as to usurp the market shares of Honda Manufacturing Nigeria previously Nigeriaâ€™s foremost motorcycle assembly plant, currently numbering more than 20 variants.
Statistics put the number of motorcycle imports to Nigeria at about 500,000 units annually.