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Cover: Toyota is 60% of Nigeria's cars import > Chief Ade Ojo > August, 2015

Chief Ade Ojo, 78 last June has been a Toyota agent since 1976, five years after he started trading in cars under the auspices of his company, then Elizade Independent Agencies, that sells Datsun, Peugeot, Volkswagen and other brands. He tell our editors, Simon Ugwu, Timothy Adaka and Gorrdy Oyailo that Toyota is not playing in the introductory cars segment for fresh school leavers.

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Toyota Nigeria Limited brings in the cars as the distributor in Nigeria and there are eight dealers with offices and branches across the country. The agents are Elizade Nigeria Limited, R.T Briscoe, Globe Motors, Metropolitan Motors, Kojo Motors, Sunny Asemota Omoregie Motors, Germaine Autos and Mandilas Motors.  These are the eight firms making the Toyota brand dominant in Nigeria.

Experience

Competition is tough here. We fought to become number one and we have fought even harder to retain the position for the past 40 to 50 years. Our services after sales are second to none in Nigeria. Toyota Nigeria devotes a lot of man hours to give our men about four trainings per month. We do not joke with customers; they are royalty and we let them know we are partners in progress. As we get referrals from them the family enlarges.

Toyota share of auto market 

Toyota has about 30 per cent of the auto market in Nigeria till last year when it slid because of the unethical way the automotive policy was introduced. A distributor got wind of government plan to raise tariff and imported four times what it normally sells in two years while other brand distributor's imported at higher tariffs. Still we sold more cars last year and our main competitor sales is down third month running this year.

Ratio of new Toyota cars to Tokunbos

We take some sixty five thousand new Toyota cars and the Tokunbo is above three hundred thousand per year. Toyota is the biggest importer of cars in Nigeria. Unfortunately, some new Toyota cars are smuggled into the country as used cars by competitors, this makes things uneasy for us as franchised dealers in new cars.  

Market segmentation

Toyota is represented almost across the segments except now in the A-Sector; the small car market where Toyota price is not competitive. Our cars are bigger now. The Corolla is almost as long as the Camry. Our smallest make Yaris is almost as long as the Corolla, this is why we are not playing in the introductory cars for people who just left school. It is the most popular segment where the Koreans and the Chinese are playing.

Strategies for pushing sales across segments

Price, packaging, fuel efficiency, performance, after sales service and availability of parts are best used to drive sales across all the brands. The facilities available in each car play an important role, so also is the after-sales services.

Most lucrative segment

There is really not a most lucrative segment. We at Toyota more or less use the same percentage to sell our cars.

Toyota’s main value propositions in Nigeria

Our vehicles are very durable. One thing that we have above every other car is the second hand value. More than 60 percent of all vehicles brought into Nigeria are Toyota.

 

 



 

It might not be perfectly correct to say corporate organisations rather than individuals buy brand new cars because of price and that the average Nigerian executives make do with tokunbo vehicles. I know we price our products in such a way as to make the best out of the market.

Can Elizade put new cars into the hands of the people like Henry Ford did in history?

It is not my fault; it is the condition of the market.  Many who play in the used cars market dabble into the new cars market because they are able to escape the arms of the law. They import new cars as secondhand cars. Lexus is a Toyota product but we don’t bring even one into Nigeria. So every new Lexus you see in the street is either smuggled or brought in as used ones.

Potentials and prospects of the market

As prosperity increases, people will buy things they cannot afford when poorer. If Nigeria gets more prosperous, definitely car sales will be on the rise. The duty we pay, 70 per cent now as against 20 per cent is a constraint limiting the number of cars we can bring in, not because people don’t want to own cars, but the government has made cars more difficult to afford.

How soon would we see a fully assembled Toyota car in the country

Very soon.

Challenges to car assembly plant in Nigeria

No steady power supply and good roads, then, no spare parts manufacturers in the country and dearth of necessary skilled labour. Also, we lack credit finance and this is partly because there is no credit worthiness system, no credit bureau.   

 

Major beneficiary of auto policy

Government stands to benefit most in the long run. Presently it is losing a lot of money for inadequate control of the borders. I don’t know what the manufacturers make. Buyers of good cars will benefit from the length of years they can use the cars without problems. The current automotive policy is a problem. Completely Knocked Down, CKD attracts zero per cent tariff, Semi Knocked Down, SKD is 5 to 10 per cent and the fully-built cars attract as high as 70 per cent.

Operations of Elizade Motors, Crown Motors and Classic Motors
This is my strategy. I use the different company to drive the different brands that we handle. We don’t handle only Toyota.

Move into higher education

I am interested in education, particularly university education improvement. It needs a lot of capital. I did not establish Elizade University to make money. I am not saying it should not make money, the university is an everlasting institution, not a quick money making venture. It will take a modest ten years for universities to make money. I established it to showcase my community to the world; I am doing a service to my community. I am training some students who in the first year I had to give a hundred thousand naira scholarship each so they could afford education.

The facilities we have are very good. We charge far below the economic price. People pay more than N2million in some secondary schools in Lagos but we take N700thousand including accommodation. With that you cannot survive in this kind of business unless you have the numbers. When we started we had only 65 students and we have uninterrupted power supply with three 500-KVA generators. Even with only one student, we must still have all the required lecturers to run it.

Other businesses

As much as God grants me the privilege to be alive, I will continue to provide different services to my nation, my state and my community. We are in hospitality, estates and entrepreneurship. We have the Smoking Hills Resort, an 18-hole golf course in Ilara Mokin, Ondo State, my home town where we have the university. The resort is a mini Nigeria with villages named after the main tribes in the country, the villages will have everything in that culture-artifacts, customs and tradition, foods and house architectures, etc. In the evenings, all the tribes will gather to sing, act and interact.

Legacy

Remember me as a very simple man interested in developing his environment to make life more worth living for the ordinary people; someone who has contributed to the development of his country.

 

 

 


 

 

       
       
       
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