Toyota Emerges 2015 NAJA Awards Highest Winner
Despite not having a plant yet in Nigeria, which has resulted to the high cost of its products in Nigeria in recent times, Toyota Nigeria Limited still carted the highest number of awards at the just concluded Nigeria Auto Journalists Awards, organised by the Guild of Motoring Correspondents.
Toyota went home with the pickup of the year award (Hilux), Minivan of the year award (Hiace), sports utility vehicle of the year (Prado), while its dealer Elizade Motors won workshop of the year award.
Though, the Toyota Corolla was nominated for prestigious car of the year award which was incidentally won by Kia Rio this year, Toyota Corolla has dominated the car of the year award in the history of the Nigeria Auto Journalists award.
This year’s car of the year award must have slipped off Toyota’s hands because of the high price of the Corolla resulting from the high duty (70 per cent) being paid by the company for not having a plant in Nigeria.
But a Toyota source told Vanguard Motoring that the Toyota product would soon become competitively priced as the company has completed a semi knock-down plant in Egbeda Lagos which will be commissioned in the first quarter of next year. Kia’s emergence as the car of the year in 2015 did not come as a surprise to many as it had severally emerged first runners-up in previous years.
Also, PAN Limited, assemblers of Peugeot automobiles, was declared the ‘Car Company of the Year, due to its progress in the automotive assembly in Nigeria. Other winners at the award night included Mercedes Benz S-class, which bagged the Luxury Sedan of the Year award; Briscoe won the Most Enterprising Auto Dealership of the Year Award; and Iron Products Industry (IPI) bagged the Auto Builder of the Year Award.
Others included; Auto Assembler of the Year, Stallion; Luxury SUV of the Year, Range Rover; and Truck Brand of the Year went to Mercedes Benz. Also, Mitsubishi Canter emerged Light Truck of the Year; Independent Auto Workshop of the Year, Admiralty Motors; Auto Dealership of the Year, Globe Motors; and Sixt was voted the Car Rental Company of the Year.
Speaking on behalf of the awardees, the Managing Director, Toyota Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Ade-Ojo thanked the journalists for organising the award, saying he was pleasantly surprised at its depth. He charged the awardees not to rest on their oars but should continue to provide good and quality automobiles for Nigerians. Ade-Ojo urged those who could not win any of the awards to work harder next year for them to be recognised appropriately.
The grand award night, which held in Victoria Island, Lagos, was attended by the bigwigs in Nigeria’s auto industry, including the Director General, National Automotive Design and Development (NADD), Aminu Jalal; the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi, represented by Nseobong Akpabio, Assistant Corps Marshal and Zonal Commanding Officer RS-2, made up of Lagos and Ogun States, among other distinguished personalities.