Nigeria - Country Commercial Guide
Automotive Sector
Last published date:


Units: $ millions

Total Market Size for Automotive





2022 (estimated)


Total Local Production






Total Exports






Total Imports






Imports from the U.S.






Total Market Size






Exchange Rate: 1 USD






Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)

Data Sources: 

Total Local Production:   Estimates from local industry contacts

Total Exports:   UN Comtrade

Total Imports:   UN Comtrade

Imports from U.S.:   UN Comtrade

Smuggling, grey imports of used vehicles, and the lack of reliable data make the exact size of Nigeria’s vehicle market difficult to quantify. Challenges concerning the licensing and identification of vehicles further contribute to this difficulty. According to the latest data made available by the National Bureau for Statistics (2018) there were a total of 11.8 million vehicles in Nigeria. Of this number, 39% (4.6 million) were privately owned, 56% (6.7 million) were commercial vehicles, 1.1% (135,000) were government vehicles, and 0.4% (5,834) were owned by diplomats.

Due to insufficient domestic vehicle production, Nigeria is heavily dependent on imports to meet local demand. In 2021, passenger cars constituted the largest export dollar value from the United States to Nigeria (more than $1 billion) according to the U.N. Comtrade figures. The launch of the Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) in 2014 attracted the interest of leading international carmakers and led to the resumption of small-scale vehicle assembly in the country. According to news reports, 28 assembly plants began operations out of the 54 auto assembly licenses issued, but only 6 remain operational and are producing at very low capacity due to forex challenges, infrastructure, and capacity gaps. Due to these challenges, several automakers moved to nearby Ghana and setting up assembly plants there with plans to export the vehicles to Nigeria.

In February 2021, the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), in collaboration with the Stallion Group, unveiled the first locally made electric car. The director of NADDC stated the goal is that by 2025, 30% of passenger cars driven in the country will be electric powered. Under a new tax law which will go into effect on June 1, 2023, imported vehicles with engines ranging in size from 2000cc (2 liters) to 3999cc (3.9 liters) will be subject to an additional tax known as Import Adjustment Tax (IAT), which is levied at a rate of 2 per cent of the vehicle’s value for engines ranging in size from 4000cc (4 liters) and above. The new charge is in addition to the 35% import duty and 35% levy that car importers already pay.

According to Nigeria’s Vice President, the country’s annual vehicle demand is 720,000 units and local production is only able to supply 14,000 units. Therefore, importation (mainly of used cars) has continued to fill the supply shortfall. The NADDC said the country spends about $8 billion each year on imported vehicles. Although automobiles and related components are not on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) list of ineligible products for foreign exchange, the difficulty assemblers face obtaining foreign exchange has led to increased prices and reduced consumer demand. Many corporate organizations, the largest buyers of new vehicles, have reduced or postponed purchases, thereby extending the replacement cycle of their fleet from four to seven years.

Japanese brands dominate the new and used vehicle market, controlling almost a third due to their perceived reliability among consumers. The United States accounts for 60% of the used vehicles, most of which being Japanese brands such as Toyota. Hyundai and Kia have established themselves as increasingly serious competitors to Toyota due to their competitive pricing and improved quality image. The three Asian brands account for approximately half of new vehicle sales in Nigeria. Although there is generally little affinity for American car brands due to poor consumer perception of them, some makes and models have begun to breakthrough.

Leading Subsectors

The growing number of used cars in Nigeria is driving demand for spare parts. The United States has a competitive advantage in car care products, accounting for about 40% of used car parts imported to Nigeria, according to industry contacts.

Some of the rail projects intended to connect the country’s commercial cities are still in the works and not fully operational. Therefore, cargo continues to be distributed largely by commercial heavy and light duty trucks. A significant number of the heavy vehicles on Nigerian roads are used units imported from the United States, Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium. The United States is responsible for nearly half of Nigeria’s import of used trucks and the Mack brand leads as a preferred brand due to its perceived durability.


A PwC report indicates that the growth of companies with products and services supporting auto assembly will improve Nigeria’s chances of becoming an automotive hub. Progression from basic semi-knock down (SKD) assembly to complete knock down (CKD) or manufacturing is dependent on growth of auxiliary industries and supporting infrastructure such as electricity. Building capacity for components such as batteries, belts, lights, and tires are key for the success of Nigeria’s auto industry. There are existing gaps in repair, which will become more pronounced with increased local manufacturing. Addressing this gap will require capacity building, training of skilled labor, and an adequate supply of spare parts. Other business opportunities that the industry brings include the supply of equipment to domestic assemblers, supply of spare parts, and local component manufacturing. The vehicle distribution system and systems for getting vehicles to market also need to be restructured.

Local Trade Shows

West Africa Automotive Show (WAAS)

May 16-18, 2022

Landmark Center, Victoria Island

Lagos, Nigeria


For more sector information, e-mail:   Chamberlain Eke, Commercial Specialist: