Is it really worth it buying made-in-Africa cars? The pros and cons?


Posted by: Joshua-Philip Okeafor

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What are the pros and cons of purchasing made-in-Africa cars? If you've ever wondered about locally made automobiles, dive into this now!


Africa has traditionally been a customer rather than a manufacturer of automobiles. Africa is reported to have purchased around 2 million new vehicles last year. Almost all cars purchased and used in Africa are imported. Since the majority of these vehicles are used, they are subject to heavy import taxes.

Fortunately, change is here as certain African businesspeople have declined to be shut out of the lucrative car market, and their dreams have come true! There are now indeed made-in-Africa cars!

Really? Which cars are made in Africa? Remember we don’t mean cars merely assembled in Africa such as the PAN cars. Made-in-Africa-by-Africans automobiles are what we are talking about.

Examples such as Ghana’s Kantanka as well as Innoson motors from Nigeria that also produces military vehicles are transforming the African automobile landscape by building their own cars. The question is, how good are these cars made locally?


Okay, the Turtle truck made in Ghana is definitely not the best design Africa has to offer

Here are some pros and cons about locally made African cars:



Especially due to the adverse exchange rate of foreign currencies to the local African currencies like the Nigerian Naira, foreign-made and imported cars tend to be too expensive for the average African individual or family.

This is why most Africans buy used foreign cars, called Tokunbo cars in Nigeria. African-made cars can circumvent the foreign exchange trap, making these local cars affordable to African car buyers. That way they use brand new cars at reduced costs.

Built for African roads and environment

Most African-made cars frequently parrot that they are designed for the environment and the roads in the continent. Some time ago, there was some talk about whether some local car dealerships in Nigeria were importing “tropicalized Toyota cars” for the Nigerian market. With local manufacturers, this becomes a redundant issue.

Create local jobs

An indirect but hugely beneficial fallout to local car manufacture is the creation of local jobs by the car manufacturing plants and companies. Africa is in dire need of extra jobs given the large percentage of unemployed people, especially youths.


Factories like IVM's plant gives the locals needed jobs

Local industry, capital, and infrastructure growth

Car manufacturing in Africa will inevitably lead to the expansion of local capacity, technology, and financial base. This is another indirect fallout that local manufacture of cars will afford the automobile industry and even other industries.

Modern as well as comfortable cars

Since African car makers usually have foreign technical partners, there is a steady transfer of car manufacturing technology and design. This enables locally manufactured cars to still retain the look, modernity, and comfort of foreign-made vehicles.

Easier access to after-sales services

Local manufacturers are not domiciled in faraway Asia, Europe, or America. This means the customers can enjoy qualitative and faster after-sales services from the carmakers themselves, instead of via accredited dealerships as is the norm with foreign carmakers.

Easier access to parts

Just like in the point above, the proximity of local manufacturers makes it easier for car owners to procure car OEM and spare parts. There is no need to wait for weeks before a particular car part arrives from a destination thousands of miles away.


Inferior quality

Many car customers state their fears about locally made cars being inferior to foreign cars. There isn’t proof of this empirically though, and it must be pointed out that some parts are sourced for these cars from carmakers overseas. Still, there are speculations that locally made African cars are inferior.

Too expensive

Customers complain that the difference in price between locally manufactured cars and foreign-made cars is not much. They would therefore rather make up the difference and buy a foreign car or patronize used car dealerships dealing in Tokunbo cars. You can find out why Nigerian cars are more expensive than foreign cars here.


Many Nigerians allege that IVM cars are too expensive

Not durable

Lack of durability is another Achilles heel that local cars are thought to display. Some cars from overseas, such as the Mercedes brand, for instance, can last for more than 2 decades and still function extremely well. Locally cars are not thought to be as durable.

Technologically backward

Many local cars cannot boast of the level of automotive technology available in foreign imports. A case in point is the twin drive towards electric cars and self-driven cars. Electric cars in Nigeria and Africa are just starting to emerge, unlike in the foreign auto industry where tech has gone far indeed.

Made in Africa cars currently

The overwhelming majority of Africans remain ignorant of these car-making ventures, except for now that they have been completed.

8 African-owned car firms, on the other hand, are transforming the continent's automotive history.

1. Birkin Cars (from South Africa)

You can't talk about automobiles manufactured on the continent without including South African automobiles. Which cars are made in South Africa? The South African-based car maker has been in existence since 1982, making it one of the industry's leaders.

Their automobiles are sold in many countries around the world, including the U. S., Japan, and Europe. The SS3 Street Series and the CS3 Clubman Series are two of Birkin Cars' most famous classic replicas. The Benz Velo, however, was the first car made in South Africa in 1896.


The Birkin S3 is a product of the Birkin cars (pty) company

2. Innoson Motors (from Nigeria)

Innocent Chukwuma, a Nigerian-born businessman, established the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company. They are Nigeria's first automotive technology corporation to build vehicles.

Innoson has manufactured at least 500 cars in Nigeria at a cost of 1.5 - 3.5 million each. Innoson is supported by the Nigerian government due to its wide variety of products. Recently they made the Innoson Keke Napep ambulance.


The IVM G40 is a product of the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) company

3. Kantanka Cars (from Ghana)

Dr. Ing. Kwadwo Safo Kantanka founded the Kantaka Automotive Company in Ghana. The production facility of the Katanka Automobile Company is situated in Gomoa Mpota, Ghana's central district.

The Kantanka cars, ostensibly built for Ghanaian environments, are virtually identical to those that have been on the market in China for years. Kantanka makes both sedans and 4-wheel drive vehicles. Nkunimdie and Kantanka Opasuo are two of the company's SUVs.


The Kantanka car company is known for its great SUVs

4. Kiira Motors Corporation (from Uganda)

Kiira Motors Corporation's (KMC) interests are distinct from those of other African automotive firms. The Ugandan automaker is involved in producing hybrid electric vehicles.

It was established in 2014 by University of Makerere engineering students who took part in the Vehicle Design Summit, which was founded by MIT students in 2006. The Ugandan government is a supporter of the firm.

KMC's Cars include the Kiira EV Smack, Kayyoola Solar Bus, and Kiira EV POC, all of which have a 40AH and 207V battery reserve.


 The Kiira EV is a product of the Kiira car company 

5. Laraki (from Morocco)

Mohamed Laraki, a Moroccan entrepreneur, founded this in 1999. The first car, the Laraki Fulgura, was built in 2002.

Borac was the next model designed, supported by the Epitome, and the business has grown and evolved since then.

Larakis models are concept vehicles that are custom-built for clients and were listed as among the most luxurious cars on the market in 2015, with each one costing over $2 million (₦804m).


The Laraki Epitome is a product of the Laraki car company 

6. Mobius Motors (from Kenya)

Mobius Motors was formed in 2010 with the aim of servicing the African auto market, and their first batch of low-cost vehicles was launched at the end of last year.

The business uses simple design principles to manufacture reliable and inexpensive cars that can cope with the East African automobile market's used foreign cars.

The cars, which were engineered with African road conditions in view, are priced at around $10,000 (₦4.2m).


The Mobius cars company makes simple, cheap, reliable cars

>>> You may want to read:  Young Gombe man builds unique car out of local materials

7. Wallyscar (from Tunisia)

Wallyscar is a Tunisian brand that was founded in 2006. The company is known for making 4X4s that are inexpensive, dependable, and strong.

According to a survey from 2014, the firm sells over 600 units per year, mostly in Africa and the Middle East.


The Wallys company is another powerhouse for the cheap and strong SUV like the Wallys Iris

8. Nord Automobiles (from Nigeria)

Like its sister company, Innoson, Nord automobiles is a Nigerian manufacturer of autos based in Lagos. The company caused fanfare when it launched last year with 5 distinct models.


The Nords Automobiles car company is Nigeria's latest carmaker

Don't take our word for it. Here's video evidence.

Top 10 African Car Manufacturers


Made-in-Africa cars are indeed a thing. Why don’t you test drive one of these beauties today and support the local industry? Enjoy!

>>> Get to read more car trivia that blow your mind on!

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Car buying & selling

Joshua, or KK as friends call him, is a Filmmaker, Writer and Director. A Christian, Joshua is a product of Nigeria’s foremost film school, the National Film Institute, Jos, where he majored in Writing/Directing. Joshua began his writing career at age 18 when an older brother gave him a four page outline of a children novel. Joshua intends to keep writing and directing. His screen name is sometimes Joshua Kalu Ephraim (Writing), and sometimes Joshua KK (directing).

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