Africa is quickly becoming the focus for auto makers looking to discover the last island of growth in an overly saturated global marketplace. Toyota, PSA and Renault-Nissan are hoping to make inroads on the continent beyond their current strongholds in trucks (Toyota) and North Africa (PSA/Renault) respectively. But a new start-up is proposing a very different kind of car for Africa, one far removed from the current crop of compact offerings.
Fans of the W123 Mercedes better book the next flight to Marrakech. If the Moroccan government has its way, the country’s ubiquitous fleet of W123 taxi cabs will be scrapped, in favor of Renault and Dacia minivans.
Emerging markets have been a big theme at TTAC for the past few years, with our coverage going beyond the cursory articles on automotive developments in the BRIC countries. Our articles on places like North Africa and Indonesia aren’t always the most popular, but we keep an eye on them for a very important reason. These countries are the final frontier for growth in the automotive sector.
Datsun’s first product, the GO subcompact, has yet to go on sale in its first market, but Datsun is already looking elsewhere to expand its offerings beyond the initial four markets of India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.
While Equitorial Guinea is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, only half of the people have access to clean, safe drinking water. One fifth of children born in the country die before they are five years old. Two years ago the French government raided the €80 million, 101-room mansion near the Champs Elysees belonging to Teodorin Obiang, the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in power since 1979. Among the treasures found in the mansion were a cache of supercars, which have now been sold off.
Today we inaugurate a 5 Part series about how Chinese carmakers are setting themselves up for success abroad. Each day of this week I will publish a new Part for the series. I hope you enjoy it!
For the first time in the history of car manufacturing, Chinese carmakers have sold 1 million cars outside of China in 2012. They are now relying more and more on export markets to boost their bottom-line, especially as conditions have worsened for local passenger cars at home over the last couple of years. However, as I described in my article “China: How local brands may finally find their mojo at home“, the Chinese are learning how to sell low-cost overseas and apply these strategies at home, making themselves more competitive in the process.
In fact, while the long-dreaded Chinese ‘invasion’ of the West European and American car markets is still a long way off, Chinese manufacturers have been working extra-hard under the radar to secure less developed markets that will form the bulk of the global car sales growth over the next couple of decades.
Renault’s plans for a plant in Algeria have stalled, amid the French auto maker’s desire for an agreement barring auto makers from setting up shop in the country for 5 years after the plant comes online – and Volkswagen is apparently what’s keeping Renault up at night.