For some time now, international auto makers have been looking towards the continent of Africa not only as a growing market for vehicle sales, but a good place to build production facilities. This shift in economy is largely due to a swelling middle class and an increased private consumption of goods such as automobiles.
As mechanic colleges pop up across the continent to handle a growing auto-based infrastructure, companies in various African countries have been making inroads in designing and manufacturing vehicles to be sold domestically and across Africa. Their ultimate goal may be to make a significant dent in the worldwide auto market.
Here are a few of the African companies that are making waves:
Nigeria’s Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company
The President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, commissioned Mr. Innocent Chukwuma to start this company. They began by manufacturing busses and trucks and have parlayed that success into a consumer vehicle line comprised of a 5-7 seat SUV, the IVM 6490A, and a 2-3 seat pickup truck called the IVM1021A. Both vehicles feature 5-speed manual transmission and top-of-the-line torque.
Uganda’s Kiira Motors Corporation
A few years ago, some said that the electric car developed by students at Uganda’s Makerere University as part of a school project wouldn’t go beyond being just that. Fast-forward to 2015 and Kiira Motors Corporation is developing a hybrid based on that design.
Called the Kiira EV SMACK and powered by a battery which can be recharged by a generator powered with an internal combustion engine, this 5 seat sedan is designed specifically for the rugged Ugandan terrain. Graduates of auto mechanic courses will still have to wait a few years to get under the hood of this vehicle however, as it is scheduled for release in 2018.
Take a look at the Kiira EV SMACK here:
Ghana’s Kantanka Automobile Company
When it comes to making waves in the African car market, Ghana’s Kantanka Automobile Company is most certainly on track to be the leader, or at least they were. Now they’re waiting for approval from the Ghana Standards Authority and holding back the release of their multiple vehicle line. Once that approval is granted, the company will mainly be selling SUVs and pickup trucks, all produced at the company’s plant in Gomoa Mpota, in the central region of Ghana.
The company was founded by noted entrepreneur and philanthropist Apostle Safo Kantanka and is using the slogan “made in Africa for Africans.” Success of these vehicles depends entirely on how much of the local population buys them. How few times the new owners have to visit an automotive service technician will probably factor into the equation, too, as it does anywhere in the world.
Do you think African-designed and manufactured cars will make their way to auto markets in North America sometime soon?