The sale of new vehicles in Nigeria has recorded a 60 per cent decline this year, the Managing Director, Toyota Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kunle Ade-Ojo, has said.
He specifically said the figure dropped to 6,000 units this year from 15,000 units sold by all dealers of new vehicles in different parts of the country last year.
Ade-Ojo spoke with journalists in Lagos on Wednesday, while giving a review of the year’s performance in the auto industry and a projection into the activities of next year.
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This is coming after the Director-General, National Automotive Design and Development Council, Mr. Aminu Jalal, said the demand for new and used vehicles had dropped from 400,000 annually to 250,000 units, attributing the situation to the harsh operating environment affecting every sector of the economy.
Ade-Ojo also said factors such as shortage of foreign exchange and buyers’ low purchasing power due to the economic recession were responsible for the decline in the vehicle sales this year.
He added that the imposition of 70 per cent tariff on imported vehicles as stipulated by the auto policy led to the increase in the prices of new vehicles, thus making individuals and companies to either cut down on their number of vehicle purchases or shun them completely.
He said, “Between January and now, vehicles’ prices have doubled because of foreign exchange scarcity. Some of us incurred losses having had to go to the black market to source for forex.
“Government is still the biggest spender; and when it is cash-strapped, this will affect business in the country generally.”
Ade-Ojo, who said some companies had to sack or suspend their workers due to the harsh business environment, stressed that many auto firms could be forced to shut down next year if the Federal Government failed to take measures that would significantly improve the economic situation.
He also said the recent funds made available by the government to manufacturers to ease the forex problem was grossly inadequate, adding that it was just about 10 per cent of what was needed.
He said Toyota Nigeria had cut down on its spending on marketing and other non-essential issues to save costs just as he hinted that the firm would focus on after-sale service next year.