The struggle for a better life is as old as man himself.
Transportation, being the core of most production companies, has been man’s major challenge. Right from the Stone Age, the movement of people and goods from one place to another has been a hard nut to crack. It is because man has continued to strive for improvement that transportation has continued to evolve.
Brief History of the Nigerian Automotive Industry
The automotive industry in Nigeria has been in existence since the 1950s. So many passenger cars and trucks have been assembled here in Nigeria. Automotive manufacturing and assembling industries such as Bedford TJ trucks (a subsidiary of United Africa company), Federated Motors Industries, and SCOA (producers of Peugeot 404 pickup trucks), contributed to the growth of the automotive industry in Nigeria.
The industry began to grow substantially in the 1970s when the then government, as a result of the oil boom, signed a joint venture partnership with foreign car manufacturers. They assembled cars and assisted with the local industry.
As time went on, these foreign brands took over the market. They produced vehicle brands such as Peugeot Nigeria Limited and Volkswagen. From the 1970s to the 1980s, the local automotive industry suffered greatly.
Local companies such as Leyland, Anambra Motor Manufacturing, and Steyr could not compete favourably with Bedford Truck and other foreign companies because of the high cost of importing motor parts.
By the time these local companies assemble these cars, the cost of selling them became too high, while the foreign companies sold at a much lower price. People naturally gravitated towards foreign cars as no one would like to spend so much money when he can get the same thing at a cheaper rate.
Government policies affected the local industry negatively and by the end of the 1980s, the local industry was almost spent as they could not keep up. The year 2000 saw the dominance of foreign brands in Nigeria. Mostly, used foreign cars dominated car sales, thereby causing a drastic reduction in production.
Most of the local companies became moribund and hence, were privatised or sold out to foreign companies.
A Glimpse of Hope?
Recently, another local assembling company has emerged Innoson Motors. The emergence of this local brand might mean hope for the automobile industry in Nigeria. However, It is too early to tell. But will Nigerians give this local industry a chance? Will the government help this local industry thrive by refining its policies? Time will tell…