And African car companies are also creating wholly locally sourced vehicles that can compete on the international market.
African firms are hoping for a slice of the continent’s largely underdeveloped market for new cars.
Africa’s 1 billion inhabitants account for only 1 percent of the world’s new passenger car sales according to industry data. And, South Africans bought over 85 percent of those vehicles.
In SSA, (Sub Saharan Africa) one of the least developed regions in the world, most governments and policymakers see automotive manufacturing as critical to sustainable industrialization and economic development. Some African governments, for example in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa are aware of the evidence from automotive manufacturing countries like Germany, the United States of America and Japan, South Korea, China and India, that the sector promotes industrialization. Processes like metal fabrication, plastics and electronics, and others contribute to this. Additionally, the global automotive sector value chain of vehicle manufacturers, importers, truck and bus assemblers, automotive parts makers and distributors, component manufacturers and suppliers, and retailers, can create thousands of much-needed decent jobs. These are essential in a region where unemployment is high and wages low.
Although technology is leading towards the development of electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous vehicles (AVs), there is limited infrastructure to support these developments in SSA. However, the technological convergence between automotive, electrical and information technology companies can also create new jobs. SSA countries are seeing this as an opportunity to invest in research and development to tap into these emerging industries. This research and development can focus on components manufacturing and value addition to the locally available raw materials.
The automotive sector in SSA constitutes less than one per cent of global production. The industry is relatively small when compared to other parts of the globe and expected to produce only 2.3 per cent of the 82 million vehicles estimated to be built globally in 2020, when compared to China’s 30 per cent, Europe’s 22 per cent and North America’s 17 per cent.
Africa’s homegrown automakers
Mobius Motors are releasing their second model of their stripped-down SUV vehicle made for the rough terrain. The company was founded in 2009 by British entrepreneur Joel Jackson. They’re based in Nairobi and are set to have the car on the road by next year.
Mobius Motors is one of a number of homegrown car manufacturers sprouting up across the continent.
Motors’s new SUV aims to provide a luxury, but robust driving experience for the African market. The starting price is $12,500. Their manufacturing center is in Nairobi. Courtesy: Mobius Motors
Innoson Motors is Nigeria’s foray into the car business. The company claims to be the country’s first automobile brand and released a range of private cars in 2014. It was was founded by Nigerian businessman Innocent Chukwuma. Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing
Kiira Motors is Uganda’s offering. They are planning on releasing Africa’s first hybrid car to sell at $20,000 each next year. It’s also got the backing of the government, with reports that President Museveni has invested $43.5 million into the project. Kiira Motors Corporation
Kiira Motors CorporationKiira Motors has also launched Africa’s first solar-powered bus. The bus has 35 seats, and is powered by two batteries. It can travel up to 50 miles straight. courtesy Kiira Motors.
Wallyscar is a Tunisian based car company that was founded in 2007. The car features a Peugeot 74bhp engine and has two seats. The top speed is 87mph and the company produces 600 units a year. WallyScar SA
With a manufacturing base in Accra, and starting at a price of $20,000, Kantanka is the first ‘Made in Ghana’ car. They are built to deal with poor quality roads and have been used by the Ghanian police service. Kantanka Automobile Company
An early example of African car manufacturing is Birkin Cars, which was founded in 1982 by car enthusiast John Watson. Currently, their only car in production is the S3 Roadster, which is modeled on a Lotus Super 7 sports car. Birkin Performance Cars/Chris Wall
The “Libyan Rocket”, one of Libya’s first luxury built car by the Libyan Government. Saroukh el-Jamahiriya is a V6, 3-liter gasoline engine with an electronic defense system. Of course, in the real world with real traffic, its a ‘’17 feet long sedan.
While there have been update about the car’s features, all in all, it most appear to be a car built for Mummar Gaddafi, former Libya president.
With a 230-horsepower output, the Saroukh el-Jamahiriya is powerful and comes with a feature which can be driven on flat tires for miles.
The Perana Z-one is one car you might just see at any car show, with a perfect bodywork. The 6.2-liter engine was based on the base-model of the C6 Corvette.
The interiors are of high quality and can leave you wanting for nothing.
Also, the 440-horsepower motor is powerful, but was produce as a limited edition with only 10 around the world.
However, this vehicle was build on hi-tech plant with hi-tech performance.
The Epitome has become one of the most popular luxury cars in Africa, more so because of its additional fuel tank which makes it capable of delivering up to 1,750 horsepower.
The custom body style and classic interior is timeless and classy. Laraki Epitome comes with a seamless blend of technology with a special mode which enables to run its engine on a mix of both fuels.
However, maybe its time to stop looking for a American logo’s on vehicle’s grill and switch to homemade wheels that offer the same comfort and quality.
Arguably Africa’s first homegrown produced car, Nyayo Car was founded in 1986 by the Kenyan government who had big ambitions for the country’s car industry. The project never really got off the ground. The prototype cars did however, it’s claimed, have top speeds of 120 km per hour. Courtesy: Ashiriz