‘People are shying away from buying cars; some have even left the business’

– automobile dealers lament

Dealers in automobiles have lamented the rising exchange rate, saying it is killing the once-lucrative business.

Despite the official rate pegged at N197 – $1, the rate of the naira to the dollar has steadily risen at the parallel market, and now stands at around a whooping N370/$1. This has driven prices up, patronage down and killing business – according to car dealers.

Those who ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with said this.


Mr. Tunji, Auto Solution

Would you say car sales are up compared to last year?

People are not buying cars again, they say the price is too high for them. The economy has made people apprehensive. In a week, we can sell one or two cars, whereas when it was moving, we could sell up to four to five cars.

Also, the rate of the dollar has made prices to go up. Importing cars now has become very difficult. Our friends in America find it difficult to ship them down here. If you buy cars today, the next one would be in two months.

Which cars would you say are the popular currently?

The most popular cars especially for low-budget customers now is Toyota Corolla 2005-2006 and Lexus RX 300 and 330.


Joseph Omobolaji, The Bael Services and Automobile

How has the high exchange rate affected car prices and sales?

It hasn’t affected car prices yet. The influx of cars in Nigeria is more than demand currently.

Would you say car sales are up compared to last year?

No, they aren’t up yet, supply is still more than demand for now.

Which cars are the most patronised currently and how much?

Toyota cars, from N1 million to N2 million.


Vincent Fowler, VA Autos

Would you say car sales are up compared to last year?

Car sales have dropped drastically, and it’s owing to the exchange rate. You should ask how many we sell in a month, not in a week. We can go a whole week without selling any car. Before, you could say you sold so and so in a week, now, you calculate on a monthly basis. In a month, it’s rare to sell two to three cars.

Interestingly, people actually want to buy cars, but when you tell them the price and the reasons it’s like that, they turn away. They don’t tend to understand, may be they expect us to do magic.

How have you been coping despite the challenges?

It’s been hard. Imagine on a Monday I’m staying at home, I’m not going to work. I called the bureau de change guy on Friday to get the current dollar rate and he said it’s N330. I was shocked! How can you buy cars to sell at that rate? Even at that rate, you’re not even sure of getting the dollar. You have to inform the bureau de change two or three days ahead so they can get it for you.

People are pulling out of the business and doing something else with their money.


Anthony Adolphus, Auto Autonini

Would you say car sales are up compared to last year?

Don’t you know what is happening in Nigeria now? Can you compare the rate of the dollar now to last year? As at one or two years ago, dollar exchanged for about N115, compared to now that it exchanges for N319.50. If you buy a car of $10,000 (which is about N1.60 million), how much would you sell it? Car sales business is bad.

How many cars do you sell in a week?

You are talking about a week, if you sell one in a month, thank God. We’re yet to sell the ones we’ve had for about one year because of the rate of the dollar. What we normally do is that when we sell, we remove our profit then re-invest the money.

We have even stopped buying cars from America because of the rate, we now buy from Canada, even though their rate too is high and it takes more time to ship them down, up to three months, compared to about 28 days from America. So, business is not moving that much like before.


Mr. Awoshika, Sarma Motors

Would you say car sales are up compared to last year?

No. The general downturn in the economic state of the nation has taken its toll. And it has been worsened by the ever rising dollar rate.

How many cars do you sell in a week?

The probability of selling a single car in a week is very low. An average dealer will count himself lucky if he’s able to sell one or two cars in a month. Before now, we could sell as many five cars in a month. Though the number of cars you have in your shop also matters.


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