In Nigeria, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) began the training of its staff, especially the engine drivers, to introduce automobile transportation system in 1901 (Uzochukw, 2014). Other institutions that facilitated the introduction of automobiles in Nigeria include the Public Works Department of the Ministry of Works and Transport in 1931 and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) in 1942. The Automotive Industry in Nigeria dates back to early 1960s when private companies like UAC, Leventis, SCOA, BEWAC and R.T. Briscoe pioneered the establishment of Auto Assembly Plants using Completely Knocked Down (CKD) or Semi-Knocked-Down (SKD) parts.

In 1970s, was the turning point in the development of automobile industry in Nigeria. During this time, the government of Nigeria becomes aware of the vital role of this industry in the Nigerian economy. Given the premeditated role, the Nigerian government becomes concerned in this sub-sector so as to put together the expansion of the local automobile expertise. This led to the establishment of two (2) car and four (4) truck automobile plants in Nigeria under the Federal Military Government leadership of General Yakubu Gowon. The two (2) car plants were located in Kaduna and Lagos state which are Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria Ltd. (PAN) and Volkswagen of Nigeria Ltd. (VWON) respectively. While the four (4) truck automobile plant are as follows; Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company (ANAMMCO) in Enugu state, Styer Nigeria Ltd. in Bauchi state, National Truck Manufacturers (NTM) in Kano state, and Leyland Nigeria Ltd. in Ibadan state. These assembly plants performed fairly well in the 1970s as the countrys economy was relatively good (Salami, 2007). The decade was the boom period when the products of the assembly parts were affordable by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the citizens alike.

Unwillingly, the attendant effect of these good times was the neglect of essential requisites of the partnership agreement by the Federal Government of Nigeria. All the automobile plants set-up in the 1970’s have closed down except PAN due to unfavourable policies. This was an immense advantage for technology partners to save the money that should have been put into research and development (R & D) of the local content scheme (National Automotive Council Nigeria, 2014).


The idea of the Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria (PAN) was concretized on October 6, 1969, when the Government invited sixteen (16) reputable vehicle manufacturing companies in the world to establish a vehicle assembly plant in the country. The Federal Military Government accepted the proposal from Peugeot out of those tendered by sixteen vehicle manufacturers.

Twelve years before the initiative, the Peugeot car made its first entry into Nigeria when individuals imported about 100 units of Peugeot 403 model into the country. These cars soon became popular due to their legendary reliability and suitability to Nigerian road conditions. The demand for Peugeot cars in Nigeria rose sharply again in the 1960s with the further introduction of Peugeot 404 model. With the high demand for Peugeot products, which was a mark of their popularity in Nigeria, it was not surprising that on May 7, 1971.

PAN limited was incorporated on December 15, 1972, as Limited Liability Company. Twenty-seven months after incorporation, the then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, commissioned the assembly plant on March 14, 1975, even though full operations had commenced on March 2, 1975.
Incidentally, the 1980’s was the period when private investment in automobile component parts manufacturer was gaining momentum and this was by virtue of the private sector spirit of adventure in the country.

In 1982, the Federal Government completed agreements with five manufacturers for the establishment of the following five light commercial vehicle assembly plants: Mitsubishi in Ilorin, Nissan in Minna, Peugeot in Gusau, Isuzu in Maiduguri and Mazda in Umuahia. However, they were not established, though GM subsequently entered into a partnership with UAC to produce Isuzu by FMI of UAC, which later became GM Nigeria Ltd.

With the formulation and adoption of the National Automotive Policy by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1993, the National Automotive Council (NAC) was established and this represented a landmark in the development of the automobile industry. The Nigerian automotive Industry has installed capacity to produce 108,000 cars, 56,000 commercial vehicles, 10,000 tractors, 1,000,000 motorcycles and 1,000,000 bicycles annually. Capacity utilization in vehicle manufacture is below 10% and about 40% in motorcycle, bicycle and components parts manufacturing. The current vehicle inflow into the economy is about 50,000 new and 150,000 used ones. This translates into about 100,000 units of new vehicles annually and is set to rise as the economy improves. These car and truck/light commercial vehicle plants were all privatized by the end of 2007 and The ECOWAS countries are current and potential customers for our auto products.
National Automotive Council Nigeria (2014). The Genesis of the Automotive Industry in Nigeria. Retrieved 19th October, 2014
Salami, K. A. (2007).

Emissions control technology by automotive industry: trends and challenges. Inaugural lecture series 10, Federal University of Technology Minna
Uzochukw, M. (2014).

Review of the Federal Government of Nigeria Policy Thrust on Railways. Retrieved 19th October, 2014

Industrial and Technology Education Department, Federal University of Technology Minna

Leave a comment