The current lull in the auto market, which has seen many brands recording their lowest sales in many years and others being dropped by their marketers, will give way to a slight, “more realistic growth,” in 2018.
This was a forecast made recently by the managing director of Toyota Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kunle Ade.Ojo, who predicted a growth rate of about 5 per cent, because of “the easing that we are beginning to see” in the market.
Ade-Ojo, who was interacting with the motoring press at the company’s head office in Lekki, Lagos, noted that the ratio of sales tilted in favour of commercial vehicles than passenger vehicles in the past one year.
He, however, stressed that, with the 2018 budget as a stimulus, a more realistic improvement is likely to be recorded generally, with the gap between commercial vehicles and passenger cars closing substantially.
The TNL managing director remarked that, “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 bought vehicles that would help improve productivity of their businesses.
“As the economy improves, so will there be balancing of sales across the models and vehicle segments. A more realistic growth will be experienced next year. However, there are risks. As the 2018 budget is signed into law, we might begin to see some marginal activities in business. We are hoping that there will be an improvement generally,” he said.
Regarding importation, he disclosed that there was a marginal improvement towards the end of 2017 because, in first quarter of the year, Toyota had about 90 per cent drop (compared to the same period the previous year), but by the third quarter, the slide had reduced to 62 per cent.
According to him, Toyota Nigeria imported a total of about 2,300 units in the third quarter of the out-going year, which was about 62 per cent lower than the figure for the same period in 2016, which was 6,100.
Presenting TNL’s outlook in the period under review, Ade-Ojo said, “As at the end of third quarter (of 2017), our market share was about 22 per cent of the brand new vehicles sales (in the country) but we are hoping to bring it to about 24 per cent at the end of the year. We are, however, forecasting to end it at about 9,000 units of vehicles.”
Ade-Ojo disclosed that the current best selling model for Toyota is the Hilux, accounting for 1,200 units.