“To be Africa’s leading company through pioneering global best practices and playing an integral role in achieving Africa’s unlimited potential.” This is the official vision of Stallion Group, the west African conglomerate that is currently manufacturing cars in Nigeria. In May 2014, they began delivering made-in-Nigeria Nissan vehicles and now they are fulfilling their promise of manufacturing and assembling Hyundai range of vehicles. As of 2010 Stallion Group was operating in 18 countries in West Africa; it is a privately owned business promoted by the Vaswani Family and spearheaded by Sunil Vaswani. They have been in the market for over 40 years and there is clearly no stopping as they grow their empire and better the lives of millions of Africans. Besides dealing in the car manufacturing business the Stallion Group is active in many other sectors such as the trading, industrial, agribusiness, steel, sugar and IT sectors, just to name a few.
At the launch of the new project, Mr Sunil Vaswani commented that the new vehicles will be affordable so as to give Nigerians some breathing room from the choke-hold that they are currently experiencing from wholesale vehicle importers. This basically means that more Nigerians will be able to achieve the universal dream of owning a car. As it stands there are only 31 cars per 1000 people in the populous country, where there a hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs who are dying for a car or a truck to help them grow their businesses. More importantly however, is the impact this will have on the (according to the Brookings Institute) 11.1 million unemployed youth in the country. The made-in-Nigeria vehicles are being assembled at the Hyundai motor plant in Lagos where a large majority of the unemployed youth reside.
Above and beyond providing unemployment, and offering cheaper cars, the contribution that this will have on the economy is unprecedented. It is no secret that with Boko Haram problem and falling oil prices, the Nigerian economy is in crisis. What the made-in-Nigeria cars could mean is that Nigeria can now start exporting cars to other African countries looking to buy less-expensive cars as well. Currently exports are at $97.46 billion and 95% of that comes from petroleum and petroleum based products, which is completely unsustainable. Made-in-Nigeria cars could be the solution that Nigerian economists could be looking for. It is something that the President and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr Olusegun Aganga realized and thus played “indefatigable supervisory roles” reported by Tokunbo Aromolaran who is the managing director of the plant.