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 rule 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 included 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 were particularly into massive production of Trucks, Police vans and other military, security personnel vehicles. On the other hand, Volkswagen & Peugeot took care of passenger cars.
One can safely say that the government at the time heavily patronized 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 cars and that was how we got to where we are today.
Car Manufacturers in Nigeria
Now you know how Tokunbo cars became the order of the day, 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
A list of these Indigenous manufacturers / Auto dealers who managed to register their brand names in the category of made-in-nigeria cars and on the mind of customers is below.
1. 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.
With head office at Nnewi in Anambra state, the auto company has scaled up its production capacity and now produces over 10,000 units of mini & midi buses, garbage collecting vehicles and pick-up trucks annually.
2. 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.
3. Coscharis Motors
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.
4. 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.
List of Foreign Car Manufacturers in Nigeria
Here goes the list of auto companies in Nigeria with sponsorship, origin traceable to foreign organizations
1. 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.
The federal government later sold its equity stake in this partnership to ASD Motors, making the new shareholders one of the owners.
2. 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 it’s 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.
Globe Motors is owned by William Anumudu who is popular known as Eze Igbo na Ikoyi.
3. Stallion Motors
In what seemed like a bid to privatize the economy, the FG 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.
4. 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 make called Kia Rio which became customers favorite.
There are automobile manufacturers in Nigeria but most of them are just assembly plants coupling car parts together. We thank God the Industry is improving on daily basis and that is the most important thing now.
Other manufacturers in Nigeria worth mentioning are Elizade Motors, Leventis Motors, Briscoe Motors, Skymit motors and Omoregie Motors.