AFRICAN AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERS: MADE IN AFRICA FOR AFRICANS

The famous automobile manufacturers are from Japan, South Korea, Europe, and the United States of America.  It looks like each continent has car manufacturers; however, when it comes to Africa’s second-biggest continent in the world, they are thought to be no car manufacturer from them. The Africans had been sick and tired of being a  dumping ground for foreign manufacturers as most vehicles were imported and secondhand cars. The Nigerian used the word “Tokumbo,” which means “foreign used.” A desire to prove that African is not a second class people to drive a secondhand vehicle led some African to build their car for their people. They are some established car manufacturers from Africa.

The Africans had a massive admiration for Innocent Chukwuma as he was the founder of the first-ever made in Africa automobile Innoson Motors based in Nigeria. Innoson Motors was born from the zeal to remove the “Tokumbo” permanently from the African soil. Since its inception in 1987, it has become the largest car manufacturer in the continent, having 10,000 vehicles to the civilians and also become the official car for the Nigerian government. It is not hyperbole to say Innoson Motors had given birth to the Made In Africa automobile industries.

Inspired by Innocent Chukwuma, a pastor from Ghana named Kwado Safo Katanka, using some zeal, had established Katanka Motors, the Ghanaian first in-house car manufacturer. A pastor becomes a pioneer of the Ghana first automotive is fascinating. Before Katanka Motors become an automotive company, it is a company that making electrical devices, and also it is a family business. Now Katanka Motors had divided the company into two divisions one is for electrical, and another is for automotive. Katanka Motors had built the Made in Africa SUV and 4 x 4, suited for the African roads.  Like Innocent Chukwuma, the pastor had become a legendary figure in Ghana due to the inception of the first-ever car manufacturer from Ghana. Furthermore, they are planning a Made in Africa electric car in the future.

Speaking a 4 x 4, they are another African car manufacturer from Kenya called Mobius Motors. The founder Joel Jackson is not African like Innocent Chukwuma and Kwado Safo Katanka; however, he had received much praise and had been in Ted Talks for becoming a source of inspiration for others. He had given birth to the idea of building a unique African made 4 x 4 when he had visited Kenya and recognized a need for a vehicle that could be manoeuvred easily in the Africa rugged terrain fusing at an affordable price for the people of Kenya. The cost of Mobius Motors is $10,000, a low price if compared to “Tokumbo” in Africa.

Like Mobius Motors, who had built a unique 4 x 4 for African soil, a car company from Tunisia also embarked on a similar journey. They are Wallyscar, established in 2006 by Zeid Guga and Omar Guga. Since its inception in 2006, it built a robust, reliable, and affordable car for the African people. They are successful abroad, too, as their vehicle is distributed and sold in France, Spain, Qatar, and Panama. They also had a collaboration with Peugeot Motors as Wallyscar using Peugeot’s own PSA 1.4 litre engine. Since their car are distributed in the European market, they ensured that it complies with European automotive standards.

Now, Africa had a vehicle and also specially made 4 x 4 for their continent. Adding another layer to the African automotive manufacturers, a businessman from Morocco called Mohammed Laraki founded Laraki Motors in 1999. It is an Africa made sports car. The car’s price is not on the lower side like Mobius Motors as it is a custom-built car for each potential customer. They first launched Laraki Fulgura, Borac, and their most successful model, Epitome. They had evolved the Epitome in 2013 called Epitome Concept, which had a V8 engine with 1100 horsepower and can it a top speed of 175 mph.

We have a businessman and a pastor who had created the in-house automotive. In Uganda, the engineering student from the University of Makerere had embarked on the new dawn for the Africans. The government of Uganda under president H.E Yoweri Museveni wants a hybrid African-made vehicle. The engineering student of the University of Makerere who participated in the Vehicle Design Summit had realized his dream when they had launched Kiira EV, the first African electric car in 2011. Three years later, the Kiira Motor Company was founded, with the Ugandan government holding 96% of stakes in the company.

Since Innocent Chukwuma realized the African people’s anger and zeal to remove “Tokumbo” forever from their soil, Africans made cars that became a massive success in the continent. He started the African automotive and became an inspiration for others from Africa to build unique African vehicles. The pastor from Ghana also had become an instant legendary man from Africa when he became the pioneer of Katanka Motors. Although it is uncommon for a pastor to become an automotive founder, this had happened due to the zeal of the African people not to let their continent become a dumping ground for foreign car manufacturers.

The Ugandan government also had become an inspiration as they had made the first African electric vehicle a reality by collaborating with students from the University of Makerere. The African manufacturers have become a popular choice among the African people. Those who are well established in Africa also have the concept car founded by Mohammad Laraki in Morocco. Now, African automobile manufacturers have every type of car to cater to the needs of their people. Sooner, African automotive can become a popular choice among automobile lovers likes their competitors from Japan, Europe, and American.

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