“With a rapidly-growing population, an overall growing economy, and relatively few vehicles per residents, Africa may be the next hot auto market,” says Craig Guillot, a business writer based in New Orleans, United States.
With a projected doubling of the population to 2.5 billion people by the year 2050, demand for vehicles is expected to rise.
While Africa isn’t known as a prime location for the auto industry, it has been manufacturing cars, light trucks, and commercial vehicles since the 1920s, Hightower says. As investments on the continent have been limited, most efforts have focused on the assembly of imported vehicle parts rather than the full design and manufacturing.
Apart from assembly lines of popular brands like Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen, PSA, etc., Africa can now pride itself on cars made of local design and manufactured to a large extent in Africa. There is a rising demand for made in Africa cars across the continent.
Here is a list of Africa’s leading seven local auto manufacturers:
- Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited, Nigeria
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing is a Nigerian automobile and bus manufacturing company located in Africa’s leading industrial city of Nnewi, Anambra state. It launched the first wholly made-in-Nigeria car in 2014 – the IVM 6490 A. Founded by Nigerian businessman Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma, the domestic vehicle maker Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company has built on its success of manufacturing buses and trucks to launch a passenger car line comprised of a truck (IVM 1021A) and a Sports Utility Vehicle (IVM 6490A). As of 2016, 70% of the car parts are produced locally while the rest is being imported from Japan, China, and Germany. The Innoson IVM is armed with state-of-the-art materials and sophisticated design. At first glance, you would never imagine that this is a car that is entirely made by Nigerians even in terms of technology and science. With over 11,000 units produced in its plant, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company is Africa’s largest single local automobile manufacturing company in terms of production capacity, output, and variety.
2. Kantanka Automobile Company Limited, Ghana
Kantanka Automobile Company Limited is Ghana's first privately owned Automobile Manufacturing and Assembling Company located at Gomo-Mpota, Winneba, Central Region of Ghana. Kantanka Automobile makes the Kantanka brand of vehicles of 5 different models. The Kantanka Onantefo SUV, Kantanka Omama Luxury and Ordinary Pick Ups, Kantanka K71 Mini SUV, Kantanka Mensah Saloon, and Kantanka Amoanimaa Saloon Cars. Kantanka Automobile Company Limited is a subsidiary of the Kantanka Group of Companies founded by Apostle Dr. Kwadwo Safo Kantanka who also serves as Founder and Leader of Kristo Asafo Mission of Ghana. It is estimated that this manufacturer can produce 150 cars per month with its cheapest model costing about US$20,000.
3. Kiira Motors Corporation, Uganda
Kiira Motors Corporation or KMC is an automobile manufacturing company in Uganda owned by the Government of Uganda and Makerere University. Founded in 2014 with its headquarters at Ntinda, Kampala, Uganda, KMC developed Africa's first electric vehicle in 2011, Africa's first hybrid vehicle in 2014, and Africa's first solar electric bus in 2016. It is yet to be ascertained if Kiira Motors has commenced commercial production
4. Mobius Motors, Kenya
Founded in 2010 by Joel Jackson with its headquarters in Nairobi Kenya, Mobius Motors Kenya Ltd is a Kenyan automobile company that designs, manufactures, and sells vehicles built specifically for the African mass market. Incorporated in the United Kingdom in 2010 and registered in Kenya in 2011, Mobius Motors is the only automobile company in Kenya and one of the two automobile companies in the East African region. Mobius motors are designed around Africa’s common road terrain and transport usage.
5. Birkin Cars, South Africa
Birkin Cars, Ltd. is a South African-based car manufacturer founded in 1982 by John Watson. The company's specialty and the only currently-manufactured vehicle is the S3 Roadster, a kit-car copy of the Lotus Super 7. According to the company's official website, Birkin Cars (Pty) Ltd has sold its manufacturing business to Birkin Performance Cars, a company owned by Ralph Smith and Dean Knoop. The company trading as Birkin Performance Cars has acquired the exclusive rights to manufacture the current Birkin product range (S3, CS3, S3XS, and CS3XS) and all preceding models under license to Birkin International and market those products in all countries excluding North America and Canada. Birkin Cars (Pty) Ltd headed by John Watson will continue with the design and development engineering activities of the company and will provide technical direction to Birkin Performance Cars on a consultancy basis. Since the 1980s, Birkin has expanded several times but has kept its base of operations near Durban, South Africa.
6. Wally’s Car, Tunisia
Wallyscar is a Tunisian car manufacturer, owned by Omar Guiga. It is founded in 2006 and based in Ben Arous. The first model of the manufacturer is the WallyscarIzis produced in 2008.
The company sells in Panama, France, Spain, Qatar, and Morocco. Wallyscar cooperates with the French automobile company Peugeot, using a PSA 1.4-litre petrol engine in their vehicles.
7. Laraki(Laraki Automobiles s.a.), Morocco
Laraki Automobiles S.A is a company based in Casablanca Morocco develops luxurious high-performance sports cars.
Laraki was established in 1999 by AbdesslamLaraki, a Moroccan designer and entrepreneur who first became wealthy by importing cars in Morocco in 1973. Laraki Automobiles Company is known for three major models: LarakiFulgura, LarakiBorac, and Laraki Epitome.
The LarakiFulgura is the company's first attempt at a sportscar. Originally unveiled as a concept at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show. The LarakiBorac is the company's second model, and also debuted as a concept at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. The Laraki Epitome was unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concoursd’Elegance in 2013.