The African continent could potentially be the next auto manufacturing hub. This is due to its growing economy, increasing population and relatively few vehicles per residents.
The managing director of Motoring Ventures, Edward Hightower revealed that there was potential for the African continent to have a successful development story in auto manufacturers such as the case of Latin America and Asia. Mr. Hightower has been in the automotive business for over 25 years during which he led GM to attain the $15 billion crossovers in business vehicles that included Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, and the Cadillac Xt55. He also served in leadership positions at BMW and Ford.
Hightower noted that Africa had been manufacturing cars since the 1920s including commercial vehicles and light trucks. He also said that Africa had concentrated more on assembling imported car parts owing to the limited investments in the continent. Africa assembles 1.1 million cars per year out of the 97 million vehicles produced globally. While Morocco and South Africa are the leading producers in Africa, the market is growing steadily with Volkswagen, PSA Peugeot and Nissan opening assembly plants in Kenya. Mobius, a Kenyan based car producer, is also set to launch the Mobius II which is an affordable SUV designed for African market by next year.
Hightower pointed out that Africa’s potential lies in its large working population, the affordable and trainable workforce and similarly the rising population which will increase demand for more cars. He also noted the availability of literate workers in the African continent, specifically in Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Further, the concentration on BRIC, especially Asia has left the African continent with little competition and open governments which have implemented policies for production. He also noted that China is now the largest auto producer in the world since it decided to invest in local auto production in the late 80s.