For people like me that live and work in the cradle of mankind that we have come to know as Africa, a fleet of Toyota vehicles is common scenery. You’ll see them on both the major and non-major highways on the daily commute to work.
I am always guaranteed an encounter with a white ’94 HiLux speeding on the lane beside me, carrying a load of farming or construction gear.
I only started noticing the mass presence of Toyota vehicles when I began a series of work-related travels between Europe and the United States.
Every time I’d fly out of the continent, It was almost as if my destination had a national ban on all Toyota vehicles. It took me 3 days to find a single Toyota when I went to Finland. I started asking myself, “why does Toyota only boast its overwhelming presence in Africa?
In my quest for answers, I found 3 main reasons why Toyota rules the roads of Africa.
Compared to other popular car brands in Africa like Land Rover or Nissan, it’s your most affordable choice. For example, a brand new 2010 double cabin Toyota HiLux would have cost you $34,000, versus an Isuzu D’Max costing you north of $40,000.
It’s no secret that pickups and SUVs are notorious for taking multiple punches from tough terrains with ease. Top Gear once took an ’86 HiLux and put it through all sorts of punishment and it survived (kinda). In Eastern Africa, home of Africa’s oldest tropics and wildest terrains, the HiLux is mostly used by the locals to navigate hard-to-get places.
3.) It’s Available
Availability and affordability is a result of the rising number of assembly plants the automaker is opening up all across the continent. This eliminates any tedious transportation costs that are added to the final tag in the showroom. With favorable payment plans on SUVs and popular sedans like the Corolla, the brand caters to both city and country drivers.
Toyota recently opened a facility in Nairobi, Kenya. 88% of the cars assembled in that plant are transported to the northern region of Tanzania. New market entrants like GM and Ford use product variety as leverage in taking Japanese vehicles down a peg in African markets. Although, this will be tough considering the decades of consumer loyalty that Super-Toyota has managed to build.
*BobKevin Shoo is the Founder & CEO of Scope Incorporated. He is an avid video gamer, car enthusiast, and gear head.