Home > Nigeria > Nigeria 2011: Toyota Corolla king of the roads UPDATED

Nigeria 2011: Toyota Corolla king of the roads UPDATED

Toyota Corolla in Lagos, Nigeria May 2010

* Now updated with 2011 info - many thanks to nami for your insights! *

Even though Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with 155 million inhabitants, only 45,000 new cars were sold in the country in 2010. That's 1 new car per year per 3,400 inhabitants, compared to 1 for 75 in China and 1 for 22 in Australia!

Toyota holds one third of the Nigerian new car market, with Hyundai, Kia and Honda following in the brands ranking. The best-selling car in the country is the Toyota Corolla and it has been so since 2005. Based on observation of the country's streets through recent YouTube videos, the model should secure a market share of at least 12% in Nigeria.

Toyota Camry

The podium should be 100% Toyota with the Hilux in 2nd place and the Camry at #3. Note the Hilux was the best-selling vehicle in Nigeria ahead of the Honda Civic, before the Corolla snapped that title away 6 years ago.

Kia Rio

The rest of the Top 10 could be composed of the Toyota Hiace, Kia Rio & Cerato, Hyundai Accent & Elantra and Honda Civic & Accord.
Other successful models in Nigeria include the Mitsubishi Pajero, VW Passat, Toyota Prado (with a nice career ahead judging by the number of old gens on the roads), Yaris Sedan, RAV4, Sienna and 4Runner.

This speculation is based on the insights of nami from Nigeria and the observation of the streets of the main cities in the country through recent YouTube videos. If you have more information about the Nigerian market please make sure to get in touch!

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Categories: Nigeria
  1. nami
    August 1st, 2012 at 14:03 | #1


    Hey williams,

    Majority of all used cars in Nigeria come from US. A microscopic amount comes from Japan. This is due to the Nigeria’s similar use of LHD(left hand drive) cars compared to Japan’s RHD. Most cars coming from Japan must be converted to RHD because it is illegal to drive them in the country. The extra cost of doing this has made japan less of an option for cars, but is not disadvantaged when it comes to used car parts. Now Kenya and Uganda is the opposite as they use RHD cars in those countries.

    The US is the major source of all used cars in Nigeria. Helped by the surplus of used cars and the relatively lower purchase price of cars in the US compared to countries in EU or ASIA. In the 1980s, used car imports were predominantly from Belgium and Germany due to their scrapping policy enabling purchase of reasonably functioning vehicles for little money. Hence used cars were colloquially referred to as “Belgium.” That term has been replaced by the local term “Tokunbo.”

    For new cars, all new Toyotas and VWs come from South Africa. Kias and Hondas come from Thailand.

  2. William
    June 26th, 2012 at 05:50 | #2

    Great insight
    Im currently doing a paper at school about the used car market in Africa so maybe you can help me out. Are the cars bought in Nigeria(used and/or new) produced mainly in US or ASIA (Japan)?
    Thanks for the info

    • matgasnier
      June 26th, 2012 at 10:25 | #3

      Hey William,
      I would say both the US and Japan.
      Can anyone living in Nigeria confirm please?

  3. Sandeep
    November 27th, 2011 at 19:37 | #4

    Lol you can see a Volkswagen Passat CC by the Peugeot 307 and peoples are looking at the Passat CC

  4. nami
    November 24th, 2011 at 12:28 | #5

    Great work matt for your insightful global sales info.
    You’re right about the Corolla being the best selling model. Its been there since about 2005. before that the Hilux was the best selling vehicle while the Honda civic was the leader in passenger cars.

    One thing though, Production and sales of the 406 was stopped in 2007 to focus on the 307 hatchback. Mainly because peugeot nigeria barely makes 2000 cars a year. The 307 might have challenged the corolla for 2008, when over 3500 copies were sold helped by fleet purchases by state governments for taxis. Since then its been a downward spiral.

    Peugeot despite having local presence over decades has a bad reputation with nigerians. Nigerian would rather buy a Honda or Toyota before they consider a Peugeot. Only the government buys Peugeots. And more recently they have lost much government patronage. The 307 built in Nigeria is most responsible for this recent poor perception as the cars were poorly built and spend more time in the mechanic shop than on the roads.

    Getting sales data is so difficult. The country representatives are secretive about their sales not wanting their competitors to know their actual sales figures and going through the Government motor vehicle registration is even worse. This is due to the fact that any data they have is already polluted by multiple false registrations the workers give out to collect bribe.

    I have been trying to collect data for ever with little progress. The new cars sales is not a great representation of the demographic. Used cars are more fitting but finding figures here is like searching for the holy grail. Notwithstanding, going by whats trendy at the moment, the Honda Accord and Toyota camry are kings of the used car market.

    • matgasnier
      November 24th, 2011 at 18:55 | #6

      Hi Nami,
      Thank you so much for these great insights! I will modify my post to include your very valuable points.
      And keep me in mind when you finally find the holy grail and sales data for Nigeria are available!!!
      Thanks again

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