There are very strong indications that this is not the best of times for Nigeria’s automotive industry as the sector has continued to nosedive with every successive year and the purchasing power of both the middle class and those at the lower end of the ladder taking dip.
Few years ago, new vehicles imported into the country accounted for over 50,000 units, while presently the figure had ridiculously dropped to an abysmal 10,000 units or even less in a country with an estimated 200 million people.
Out of this 200 million, very few live in opulence with a many impoverished middle class that finds it increasingly difficult to purchase a second-hand vehicle popularly referred in local parlance as ‘Tokunbo’
For those people included government officials and corporate institutions that visited the just concluded 19th Abuja Motorfair held inside the Old Parade ground within the federal capital territory, the scenario as exemplified by the insignificant number of very few franchise owners that put up their vehicles on display says it all.
Unlike previous editions of the Abuja Motorfair where visitors used the opportunity to negotiate for insurance packages and auto financing schemes from banks, there was no single bank that took part in the fair.
At the last count, automotive franchise owners that participated at the event included Toyota Nigeria Limited (TNL); a very loyal company that one would describe as the most consistent participant and strong backbone of the annual event.
As part of its marketing strategies, the company which boasts itself as the franchise with the most preferred auto brand among the buying public in the local market today used the opportunity the present the new generation Toyota Camry to the buying public.
Speaking exclusively to our reporter last Monday Bukunola Ogunnusi, public relations manager of Toyota Nigeria Limited, disclosed that, thid year’s exhibition provided another opportunity for them to bring all the Toyota models under one roof for visitors and prospective buyers to once again have a feel and taste of that superior quality that is synonymous with the local market leader participation.
As part of channels of bonding with the market, the management of Toyota Nigeria Limited on Thursday evening played host to select very special VIPs, some of who trooped inside a uniquely carved out ambience at the extreme end of the large arena during which period Kunle Ade-Ojo, managing director of TNL took out quality time to educate each and every enthusiastic guest of what stands the all-new Toyota Camry out of competition.
Others that participated fully are Massilia Motors Nigeria Limited. The much-rejuvenated car dealership with Thomas Pelletier as the managing director signed on to the motor fair with the new sizzling Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross compact SUV as its top-most priority.
The display of the new trendsetting sports utility vehicle by Massilia Motors; the automotive subsidiary of CFAO group is coming barely two weeks of the new vehicle to the motoring journalists inside the dealership’s upgraded showroom in Ijora, Lagos
Among other franchise owners that lifted the rating of the one week event was the Coscharis automotive group. The company which parades different brands of vehicles ranging from the high, middle and low-end brands used the platform to showcase its Ford models including the compact sedan passenger cars to the luxury SUVs. Coscharis Motors launched new Ford EcoSport during the event.
Also during the exhibition, CIG Motors Limited sole importers of GAC brand of vehicles renewed its aggressive stance in bringing the Chinese product range closer to the garages of most car buyers.
At the event, Vice-president Yemi Osibanjo represented by Jelani Aliyu, director-general, National Automotive Design, and Development Council (NADDC) while declaring the event open formally launched its flagship luxury GS8.
In a speech delivered by Diana Chen, Chairman/CEO of CIG Motors extolled the resilience of Nigerians and local business owners considering the challenges of doing business within the local market. She reiterated her commitment providing in Nigerians with products that meet world standards, at the most competitive prices for a more meaningful and enjoyable life.
Tata Africa Services, a once sprawling dealership that stormed the Nigerian market with renewed vigour and later slipped off registered a surprise presence, while Elizade Autoland which holds the JAC model line-up dealership rights came to the event to tell the market that, it remains one of the fastest growing Chinese brands that is still searching for bigger visibility.
Apart from the heavy-duty JCB Tractors and machinery equipments from the CFAO group, Transit Support Services Limited (TSSL), had on display the BAW commercial passenger buses at the fairground, while representatives from the Nigeria Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) where on hand to educate visitors on some of the interventions it is making to stimulate and attract interest from prospective investors into the country’s automotive sector.
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