Nigeria is blessed with material and human resources which is evident in the Calibre of Giants who are doing amazingly great in their different fields of endeavours world over.
The Nigerian automobile industry is one of the pragmatic testaments of its greatness, creativity and human capital development. Due to the high cost of import duties placed on the Automotive industry possibly to encourage local production, improve the economy, and still make selling price of each manufactured car affordable by an average citizen, the Federal Government in 2013 adopted an Automobile policy, in a bid to encourage foreign and indigenous car manufacturers to site their assembly plants within its territory since vehicles produced in the country don’t attract import levies, thus tend to be cheaper than its foreign counterparts.
The good news is that the Nigerian automobile manufacturing Industry is growing with a handful of these companies producing motor spare parts, fixing broken vehicle components, revamping used cars and assembling imported car parts. Just a few are into production of brand new (tear rubber) vehicles in Nigeria and that is a backlash at least for the labour market that begs for more employment opportunities.
Over the years, the growth of the auto Industry has witnessed series of challenges that is seeing to the preference given to foreign fairly used (Tokunbo) cars into the country. The reasons behind this shift are embedded in the history of this Industry in Nigeria especially that of the 1980s. Spare a few minutes to know what really happened.
History of Automobile manufacturing in Nigeria
The history of the Automotive Industry in Africa per se dates back to the colonial era when the British merchants brought them in during the ’50s into their protectorates. After the independence, the government went into a joint venture partnership
that brought in world-class makers of fuel-powered conveyance units at the time from America, Germany, France and the United Kingdom which saw to the establishment of the Six assembly plants following the oil boom of the 1970s:
National Truck Manufacturers, Kano
Volkswagen of Nigeria Limited, Lagos
Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited, Kaduna
Anambra Motor Manufacturing Limited, Enugu
Leyland Nigeria Limited, Ibadan
Steyr Nigeria Limited, Bauchi
That partnership includes subsidies on imported car parts to encourage these foreign experts.
These assembly lines were mainly into production of commercial Trucks and Passenger cars. Apart from the National Truck manufacturers located in Kano, Leyland Nigeria and Anambra Motor Manufacturing Limited, others were particularly into massive production of Trucks, Police vans and other military, security personnel vehicles. Conversely, Volkswagen & Peugeot took care of passenger cars.
One can safely say that the government at the time heavily patronised and supported the Auto Industry mainly to enhance movement (mobility).
Since demand for these products was high enough to keep these companies in business, more than 100 units were reported to have been assembled per day. These plants produced the popular cars of the 1970 – 1980s and also left a trace in some of the vehicles we use today. The cars produced include: Peugeot 504, 505, and other Volkswagen products like Beetle, Jett, the Golf, Passat, and the Kombi bus which later metamorphosed into Danfo that we know on Lagos roads today.
Fast-forward to 1989, the country experienced a shortfall in oil prices and since crude oil contributed reasonably to the national treasury, the industry started experiencing a decline in demand which resulted in some of the firms going out of market.
Having been faced with such an unexpected tragedy, the Nigerian government tried its best to remedy the situation including increased charges on import duties so as to meet up. That move did backfire as cost of production went up, initially suppliers were not able to meet up with demand from buyers due to increased cost of production.
When it continued that way, people resorted to Tokunbo cars which became cheaper than Made-in-Nigerian ones and that was how we got to where we are today.
Car Manufacturers in Nigeria
Now you know how Tokunbo cars became popular in Nigeria. It is worth mentioning that Nigeria still have automobile manufacturers who have managed to thrive amidst high influx of Tokunbo (used) cars like Toyota, Mercedes and Honda.
For the sake of simplicity, we have divided the list into indigenous and foreign vehicle manufacturers
List of Indigenous Automobile Manufacturers in Nigeria
- Nord Automobiles Limited
Ajayi Joshua Oluwatobi is the founder and CEO of the local manufacturing firm, Nord Motors. He is also a polished entrepreneur and co-founder of Jetvan Automobiles Limited, a recognized dealer of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in the country.
Currently the company has its headquarters in Lagos with some of its products including Nord A3, Nord Max, Nord A5, Nord Flit, etc. The firm aims to re-establish Nigeria as a car-manufacturing country once again.
- Lanre Shittu Motors (LSM)
The advent of Trucks in Nigeria predates independence and LSM is aware of its need, hence the company’s resolve to make available these vehicles to fellow citizens at affordable rates.
LSM is owned by Lanre Shittu and this “assembly” produces over 150 trucks per month.
- Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing
Innocent Chukwuma widely known as Innoson Motors is an indigenous car manufacturer who rose from a motorcycle spare parts trader to a big name in the Automotive industry in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Its automobile division (the IVM) which is a subsidiary of Innoson Group of Companies was established in 2007 – got recognized as the first indigenous car manufacturer in Africa by the administration of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who commissioned the company on the 15th of October 2010.
- Peugeot Nigeria
One of the foremost auto parts assembly plants in Nigeria is owned by Peugeot as we indicated in the brief auto history. The company which happens to be a joint venture between Peugeot and Nigerian government since 1969 is still functional till today in Kano despite its numerous challenges.
They Federal Government later sold its equity stake in this partnership to ASD Motors, making the new shareholders one of the owners.
- Globe Motors
Having been introduced into the Nigerian markets by Globe Motors, in 2018, the Japanese manufacturer, Hyundai partnered with its major distributor in Nigeria to launch its very first auto factory in the country.
Since then, we have witnessed a number of Nigerian-made Hyundai cars like Hyundai Elentra, Accent and a few more. Apart from that, Globe has to its portfolio cars from some other brands like Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Higer.
- Dana Motors
Dana as we all know is not just into Airline, they are also into the Automobile Industry. It has a factory where it produces mainly Kia cars especially its celebral make called Kia Rio which became customers favorite.
- Stallion Motors
In what seemed like a bid to privatize the economy, the Federal Government also sold its stake it had in Volkswagen of Nigeria Limited to Stallion Motors.
This acquisition saw to the locally assembled Nissan vehicles that flooded the auto market in 2014. Producing them here reduced the price of these products which seemingly got the attention of some government officials who later adopted the brand as an official government car.
This company is one of the most popular and sought-after assembly plant for luxury cars like BMW, Morris Garages, Ford, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Land Rover and MINI vehicles. In 2018, the Nigerian auto dealer completed its ultramodern plant with production capacity set to churn out over 10,000 vehicles every year.
The company has so many showrooms and Aftersales services across the country with its head office located in Lekki, Lagos. You can know more about the parent company profile here. Meanwhile, its CEO is no other than Cosmas Maduka.
- Proforce Motor
PROFORCE LIMITED was incorporated in 2008 as a total defense solution provider specialized in the manufacturing of armoured vehicles and personal protection.
Ade Ogundeyin, Founder/CEO, Proforce Limited, a leading defense company and makers of military equipment and defense systems. The delegation which was led by Engr. Dideolu Falobi, FNSE, National Chairman, UNILAG Faculty of Engineering Alumni Association (UNILAGFEAA)
- Elizade Motor ( JAC)
Auto Land Ltd, authorised dealer of JAC Motors in Nigeria, on Wednesday started assemblage operation in Lagos to roll out 15, 000 vehicles yearly from Semi Knock Down (SKD) parts. The plant, which is currently operating on a single shift was certified by the Federal Government to build different brands of cars.
Chief Michael Ade-Ojo is the founder of Elizade University, Ilara Mokin, Ondo State and Elizade Motors. Today, the company which Ade Ojo started with just one support staff in 1971 has become a conglomerate with several subsidiaries including Toyota Nigeria Limited, Mikeade Investment Company Ltd, Mikeade Property Development Company.
These auto giants with elevated integrity have their offices and showrooms scattered across the country for easy accessibility.