Only 350 new vehicles were imported by Nigerian auto firms in the 1st quarter of this year, which shows a drop of about 90 percent, as over 3,500 was recorded in the same period last year.
The Managing Director of Toyota Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Ade-Ojo, who gave the statistics at a press briefing in Lagos, attributed the development to high duty on imported cars, shortage of foreign exchange and economic recession.
Similarly, he said the total retail sale of new vehicles for the first quarter of 2017 stood at 2,000 units compared to 5,500 units sold last year.
Although he said the fall in vehicle imports was also witnessed last year, it was not as pronounced as this year’s.
For instance, he recalled that the total vehicles imported into the country in 2016 dropped to 7,000 from 18,000 in 2015.
“The scarcity of forex affected business last year and that affected importation. Also, there was the devaluation of the naira. Whereas in the first quarter of the year, the United States dollar was just about N200, by the end of the year, it had doubled. So, prices of vehicles also doubled in the space of one year and a lot of businesses could not afford to pay for the increase given that they were also struggling to survive,” he said.
Federal Government had jacked up the import duty on cars from 22% to 70% to discourage vehicle importation and crashed duty on imported vehicle components by auto assemblers.