Why Many Nigerians Still Prefer Imported Cars Over Locally Produced Brands

One of Nigeria’s biggest indigenous car manufacturers, Innoson Motor Vehicle (IVM)launched new brands of cars that run on liquified natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) but the carmaker is still battling with low patronage.

On Tuesday, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) president Otunba Francis Meshioye launched the company’s LFG and CNG-enabled vehicles.

As a car maker in Nigeria’s growing automobile manufacturing industry, IVM said 70 per cent of its car parts are produced locally, while 30 per cent are sourced from Japan, China, and Germany.


At the lunch of the LPG/CNG powered trucks, cars and buses, the MAN president solicited for government patronage for the manufacturer.

He said, “It’s great to see what we witness in other parts of the world, in our own home. I encourage the Nigerian government and individuals to patronize Innoson Vehicles as that’s a sure way of partnering with the greatness we saw here today.”

Innoson Group of Companies Chairman and founder, Innocent Chukwuma in 2019 admitted that he has enjoyed patronage under Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Last year, IVM revealed a $4.7m vehicle manufacturing contract with Sierra Leone.

However, in response to the launch of its new cars which is in line with Nigeria’s energy transition plan, consumers have identified some reasons why they are avoiding IVM cars.

A critical issue raised is the affordability of IVM cars compared to imported brands.

For instance, @GbagyiGirl, tweeted “Please look into making vehicles that are affordable for civil servants and students, this will give ordinary citizens the opportunity to own cars, then we can flood your brands in every road of Nigeria.”

Also, @EzeChimaijem said, “I suggest you think of producing for the masses, not just the billionaires. Toyota and Lexus are selling because they targeted the average people. Cars of N3m, N5m, and upwards, will sell.”

For @Deus_ExZ, he said, “TATA made cars reasonably affordable to the middle class of India. Which Innoson Car can a Nigerian middle-class family afford?”

Similarly, @Chikezi23206446 said, “Your pricing doesn’t seem to be competitive. We have a good number of trucks (Hilux) to make, but the difference between the brand and Toyota is insignificant.”

Another reason why a lot of buyers are not patronising Innoson is the design, according to their feedback on the company’s Twitter account.

A Twitter user @tycoonoflag noted, “You guys should work on your car design to beat the imported brands. If you want Nigerians to choose your rides over imported brands, Work on the designs, please.”

Similarly, @itzmarveltom said, “Honestly, I thought it was the throwback video of Olu Maintain’s ‘Yahooze’. You aren’t evolving with your car designs and it’s not like it’s even cheaper than your foreign counterparts! Do something different!! Employ creative minds.”

Also, @TompooLeslie said, “Your design ain’t working out for us. Hire a good car designer but interior and exterior. Up your PR job too Innoson vehicles are not known in Nigeria.”

Based on the feedback, the company has been identified to have a ‘poor PR team’, which they believe is causing a major setback to their sales.

According to the users of the micro-blogging site, IVM has a poor online presence.

For @austinkingzee, he said, “You guy needs to learn how to effectively sell your product first, Innoson is a fantastic vehicle but the way your media team have always presented it makes it look mediocre. Seriously, you guys need to do more on how you’re presenting your products.

“While we need to promote our very own local brands, we must also criticise them constructively.
My take on where IVM on includes; Revamping your website to make it more accommodating for people to find out info about your product; Improving your PR; Spare Parts market

For @TheAfricanZorro, he twitted, “We should be flooded with multiple IVM billboards and TV advertisements in every state in Nigeria, but that’s not the case. Improve your marketing department.”

innocent chukwumaInnoson Groupinnoson motorsManufacturers Association of NigeriaOtunba Francis Meshioye
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