Made In Africa: 8 African Car Manufacturers
Africa may be the new frontier for global automakers and investors in the automotive industry.
The continent’s car market has been dominated by repaired and resold vehicles, but many local car companies — some, in business for decades — are getting more attention, stepping up their game and creating locally sourced vehicles that can compete on the international market.
Beyond the usual suspects, here are 8 African car manufacturers gaining international recognition or competing on the international market.
Birkin Cars, South Africa
Based in Durban, Birkin Cars was founded in 1980. The manufacturer is best known for its reproduction of the Lotus 7 Series 3—the Birkin S3. The company has branches around the world now, and its cars have raced in the Prince George Grand Prix circuit in East London, according to Birkinperformancecars.com. The company remains mostly private about the prices of its limited-edition cars, but one pre-owned vehicle is available for sale for around $12,000 on Birkindirect.com.
Saroukh el-Jamahiriya, Libya
The name of this car means “Libyan rocket,” which makes sense considering the vehicle’s futuristic design. Its sleek lines make it look as if it is moving even when it isn’t. The car came out in 1999 and caught the attention of BBC.co.uk, which reported that it had been designed by former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Libya claims it is “the safest vehicle on Earth.” The car had some innovative safety features including the ability to drive for miles on flat tires, and a device that would cut fuel supply in the event of an accident to prevent a fire, according to Howafrica.com.
Laraki is a Casablanca-based car manufacturer in business since 1999 that imports European and Asian car brands. Moroccan designer Abdeslam Laraki—who has also designed luxury yachts—owns the company. In addition to importing cars, the company has created its own luxury performance sports cars including the Borac, Epitome and Fulgura. The Laraki Borac was showcased at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005, according to Diseno-art.com. Most of the manufacturer-designed models are in the $500,000-and-up range. The Laraki was ranked most expensive car in the world in 2015, according to TopCarRating. The price for the 2013 Laraki Epitome Concept: $2 million.
Advanced Automotive Design, South Africa
Advanced Automotive Design in Pretoria puts out racing-style sports cars and has been in business since 1995. The company first earned a name for itself at the 2007 South Florida International Auto Show when it displayed its Shaka Nynya car—a design similar to the Chrysler Prowler concept car and the Lotus 7. The car was designed to drive up to 135 mph, according to Aada-african-car.blogspot.com. It sells for $45,000 in the U.S., says Carnewz.blogspot.com.
Wallyscar is based in La Marsa and is a relatively new company founded in 2006. That being said, it’s already gained a name for itself and sells approximately 600 cars a year. It’s known for its colorful and sporty jeeps. Wallyscar sells in Morocco, France, Spain, Panama and Qatar. The manufacturer is the first Arab and African car maker to register with the Society of Automotive Engineers Organization and it has plans to create environmentally friendly cars, according to Wallyscar.com.
Bailey Edwards, South Africa
Bailey Edwards is a top sports car manufacturer in South Africa known for its replicas of classic performance vehicles like the Porsche 917 and the Ferrari P4. The manufacturer recently opened operations in North America. Bailey Edwards cars range in price from around $80,000 up to over $100,000, according to Motorauthority.com.
Kiira Motors (Uganda)
Kiira Motors was the first to offer a hybrid electronic vehicle in East Africa in 2014. They’re still working on the commercial release of the car. The car began as a college project, designed by a group of University of Makerere students. Now the government has put over $40 million into the project, as a part of a goal to turn Uganda into the “hub of the automotive industry in East Africa,” says Qz.com.
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Co, LTD. (Nigeria)
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing makes affordable, high quality and locally sourced passenger sedans in a factory in Anambra State. After the company released its newest Fox model, Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga declared the car manufacturer “a reference point in the success story of the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan introduced by the federal government” according to Newtelegraphonline.com.
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