In addition to these plants, the Federal Government entered into five more agreements with international automotive companies to establish assembly plants in 1982, according to the National Automotive Design and Development Council Nigeria. These agreements included the establishment of plants by Isuzu in Maiduguri, Mazda in Umuahia, Mitsubishi in Ilorin, Nissan in Minna and Peugeot in Gusau. However, these plans did not materialise.
Car market africaFurthermore, due to inconsistent policy implementation, corruption, declining patronage by local and federal government departments and lack of reliable power supply, the output and capacity utilisation of the six existing plants declined rapidly.
Symptomatic of the demise of Nigeria’s automotive industry was the stop of production activities by Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN), Nigeria’s largest manufacturer, in 2010. Since then assembly plants have been lying dormant. By 2012, all of the country’s automotive manufacturers had been privatised as the government exited the existing partnerships, eroding any incentives for government departments to purchase locally assembled vehicles.
The launch of Nigeria’s NAIDP in 2014 and the subsequent hike in import tariffs for vehicles has attracted the interest of leading international carmakers and has led to the resumption of small scale vehicle assembly in the country. While the high import tariffs are aimed at encouraging local assembly, the sharp drop in vehicle sales in Nigeria in 2015 is a strong indication that this measure had an adverse impact on overall vehicle prices in the absence of a sufficient assembly base that could provide substitutes for imported vehicles. In 2015, local assembly was only able to cover 10-15% of the new vehicle market.
According to a senior representative of one of the automotive companies present in Nigeria, approximately 1,000 passenger vehicles were assembled in Nigeria in 2015 – an even more conservative estimate.
Currently, 35 companies are licensed to produce by the Nigerian Automotive Council under the NAIDP.
Despite the increased focus on the automotive industry, the sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP remains low at 0.07%.
At present the vehicles are assembled from imported SKD kits with a limited degree of local inputs-sourcing due to the lack of a reliable and adequate domestic supplier base. While current assembly figures are low, with Peugeot Automobile Nigeria recording the largest number of vehicles assembled in 2015 with 400 units, the automotive companies aim at increasing their annual output in order to capitalise on the long-term growth prospects of the Nigerian market. However, due to the current economic slowdown, expansion plans are likely to be delayed as reflected in the decline of employment levels in some of the assembly facilities.