About 7,000 new vehicles were sold in the first nine months of the year, representing 48 per cent drop from the total figures of 14,500 units recorded in the same period last year.
The Managing Director, Toyota Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kunle Ade-Ojo, gave the statistics while speaking with journalists in Lagos on the performance of the auto industry in the third quarter of the year.
He said, “As of the end of the third quarter of the year, the vehicle sales were 7,000 units compared to about 14,500 last year, which is a drop of about 48 per cent in sales.
“From the importation point of view, there is a slight improvement because in the first quarter, we had about 90 per cent drop, but as of the third quarter, the drop had reduced to 62 per cent.”
About four years ago, the Nigerian Automotive Council (now Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council) had given 50,000 as the annual figure of new vehicles sales in the nation as against about 500,000 for used vehicles.
Ade-Ojo attributed the fall in the sale and importation/assembly of new vehicles in the country in the last one year to economic recession; increase in the import duty from 22 per cent to 70 per cent; drop in the value of the naira against the United States dollar and other foreign currencies; and other foreign exchange-related issues.
The Nigerian economy just exited recession after contracting for five consecutive quarters, with the Gross Domestic Product recording 0.55 per cent growth rate at the end of the second quarter of the year.
Ade-Ojo said with the gradual restoration of the economy, the auto industry could grow by five per cent next year.
According to him, Toyota Nigeria still has the highest market share in the automobile industry with 22 per cent as of the third quarter of 2017.
He predicted that the Toyota market share in Nigeria would rise to 24 per cent at the end of the year.
He said Toyota Hilux, belonging to the pickup commercial segment of the auto market, contributed about 70 per cent of the about 1,900 units of vehicles sold by the TNL through its dealers between January and September this year.
Other models he identified as top sellers were Toyota Hiace and Avensis.
Ade-Ojo said, “This year, if you look at the ratio sale of vehicles, most sales were more of commercial vehicles. In 2018, we hope to see a bit of balancing with the recovery of passenger vehicles. This year, a lot of companies were very careful because of the economic recession. They buy vehicles that will help improve productivity of their business.
“As the economy improves, so will there be balancing of sales across the models and vehicle segments.”