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Mixed Feelings, as Lagos Motor Fair Recorded Low Turnout of Auto Brands

Unlike the previous editions, the just concluded 2024 Lagos Motor fair, 18th edition, suffered a poor turnout by the nation’s automobile franchise dealers and assemblers.

Apart from  Carloha, Chery National dealer and Mikano Motors, both of which had a strong showing, the event was dominated by spare parts dealers and manufacturers from Asia, especially China. Over 50 spare parts dealers exhibited at the fair.

Of course, Chery stole the show with the launch of Tiggo 8 Pro SUV. With a lot of visitors and dignitaries invited by the organization, the vehicle was unveiled with fanfare.

Styled with large Panoramic Roof, All LED Light Sources, New tail design and Fashionable Sports Front Face, Chery Tiggo 8 is a beauty to behold.

With Family Embracing Cockpit Design, it displays  8 inch large screen, Android Auto + Carplay, High definition reverse image, Comfort Chassis Suspension tuning, Rhyhmic ambient light, High  quality luxury CNSL, Aviation Seat Headset with High quality manual leather seats. It also has 3.5 inch LCD instrument, Electric air conditioning and EPB+ Autohold. Other Chery variants like Tiggo 2 Pro, Tiggo 4Pro, Tiggo7 Pro and Arrizo 5 were also showcased. The sing-song of Chery at the show was its fuel economy and 6 years Free Service and Warranty.

Mikano, the second major automobile exhibitor at the event also showcased its most anticipated CNG bus called Captain W. 14-seater bus

Powered by 4-cylinder 1.5L (147 HP/204NM) engine mated onto a 5-speed manual transmission and Hydraulic Power Steering, the CNG bus is 5265 mm long Length, 1715mm wide and 1995 mm high. Equipped with Halogen headlamps and taillights, the 14-seater bus comes with AM/FM radio+ AUX/electric windows and Air conditioning.

Other vehicles at Mikano’s stand include: Dongfeng mini-trucks, Changan X7 and Maxus T60.

Weststar Associates Limited, Authorized General Distributor of Mercedes Benz in Nigeria had no vehicle on display. Instead, it exhibited quality Mercedes-Benz spare parts.

Toyota by CFAO also featured mainly auto parts and one brand of FBU Toyota Corolla Cross tucked in. Recently, the auto company opened its original spare parts shop at Ladipo market due to incessant complaint by customers about buying fake Toyota parts at the market.

Notwithstanding, the Managing Director, BKG Exhibitions Ltd, the Fair Organizer, Ifeanyi  Agwu rather viewed the event from a brighter side.

According to him, the massively turned out foreign spare parts exhibitors contributed  a lot to the economy.

“Our hotels were fully booked our vehicles hired,” he pointed out, adding, “though, we may not be able to give the exact amount concerning the tourist input of the exhibitors, none of them will spend less than $2,500 before leaving here.

“Whichever way we look at it, therefore, their attendance is a huge boost to our economy. We have done so much in term of our effort to advertise the fair. We hope Nigerians can take advantage of the fair to partner with spare parts manufacturers represented here to manufacture in Nigeria or be their agents.”

Indeed, this year’s West Africa Automotive Show (WAAS) held recently at Landmark, Victoria Island was not left out. Many auto spare parts manufacturers in Europe also attended the show.

Also speaking on the issue, Agwu said : “Nigerians are in firm control of automobile spare parts business in West Africa and a few other countries outside the region. We are very much engaged in the auto spare part business in countries in this region. That is why you see makers of auto components from Asian countries including China flooding the Lagos Motor Fair. They see a big market here.”

Motor Fair is usually an event where auto automobile dealers, manufacturers, suppliers and enthusiasts come together to showcase their latest vehicles, technologies to a wide audience. But ironically, majority of automobile brands on sale, manufactured or assembled in Nigeria were absent, a situation which might be connected to inability to compete with imported used vehicles.

Also as disclosed by an auto industry stakeholder, who spoke to us in anonymity, Nigerian local assemblers and manufacturers also suffer from FOREX scarcity and fall in value of Naira against the dollar, translating to high custom duties, all of which have been exacerbated by the federal government’s delay in passing into law the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP)

Although this year’s Lagos Motor fair ended on Friday without the usual turbocharged excitement of multiple auto brands, with the ongoing efforts of the present government to keep the issue of auto industry on the front burner, it is likely that more Nigerian auto companies would, come 2025, have a cause to join the likes of Mikano and Carloha to showcase more dream machines.

This story was contributed by Rotimi Asher, Editor of Business Monitor, who covered the event

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