When Nigeria first unveiled incentives for carmakers to set up plants its auto industry had ground to a standstill.
Fast forward two years, and there are at least 36 automakers with production licenses in the continent’s biggest economy, with Volkswagen AG, Nissan Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. already making vehicles with local partners. The country is seeking to join South Africa as the only manufacturing base for the car industry in sub-Saharan Africa, with countries from Ethiopia to Uganda hoping to follow suit.
“Africa really is the last automotive frontier,” Mike Whitfield, Nissan’s head of sub-Saharan Africa, said in an interview. “You still have a very un-motorized population.”
Vehicle ownership on the continent is estimated by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers at less than 50 per 1,000 people, compared with about 800 in the U.S. Demand for passenger cars in particular is growing in sub-Saharan Africa, as road conditions and fuel quality improve and young populations with disposable income seek mobility, Whitfield said. Read more