HomeBusiness

How Ajayi Joshua Oluwatobi built a car manufacturing business in Nigeria

How Ajayi Joshua Oluwatobi built a car manufacturing business in Nigeria

Ajayi Joshua Oluwatobi is a Nigerian entrepreneur, who founded Nord Automobiles Limited. The automaker is one of the first truly Nigerian automobile

V&R Auto keeps your vehicles and business moving
When Should You Review Your Life Insurance Cover?
For business, play – or both, there is a Volkswagen Caddy to suit you

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission if you click on the link & sign-up or make a purchase. You will NOT be charged extra for using the link, but it goes a long way in supporting this blog. I only recommend products or services that I have personally used or believe will add value to my readers.

Ajayi Joshua Oluwatobi is a Nigerian entrepreneur, who founded Nord Automobiles Limited. The automaker is one of the first truly Nigerian automobile brands.

Oluwatobi is also the co-founder of Jetvan Automobiles Limited, an authorized dealer of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

How Ajayi Joshua Oluwatobi started Nord Automobiles Limited

“I was the CEO of a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Nigeria and business was booming. That was until the global recession happened,” he describes.

Oluwatobi says suddenly importing things into Nigeria especially from Europe became expensive. He says their clients were no longer able to purchase their vehicles or afford vehicle parts as prices skyrocketed.

“I thought okay you know what there has to be a way out. So, I looked at why the vehicles were expensive and I realized that it was because it was coming from this foreign brand and were made outside,” he describes.

Oluwatobi says he decided to take advantage of a policy by the Nigerian government to boost investment in the automotive industry.

“I thought why don’t I take advantage of this policy and start assembling vehicles in Nigeria.”

Oluwatobi adds he then went to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in Germany, Spain and in other regions.

“Initially because that was because, like many other people, I used to think that China was very hard for quality because it is not true. China can give you everything from top to bottom,” he says.

“I thought they couldn’t do things, so I initially spent a lot of money on this project. Then somebody told me to go to Thailand because I had not gone to China so I went to Thailand.

“When I got to Thailand that’s when I realized that a lot of the components that I was getting in Thailand were actually being made in China then brought to Thailand.”

Oluwatobi says that was when he decided to visit China to compliment the parts that he was getting from France and Spain like transmissions.

In 2016, prototypes were manufactured for regulatory approvals and safety tests. In 2018, the first Nord vehicle rolled off the assembly line. It was the Nord Flit model.

In September 2020, the company began officially selling the full range of cars.

The company’s goal is to make it normal for Nigerians to be able to buy a new vehicle.

Funding Nord Automobiles Limited  

Oluwatobi says the initial financing for Nord came from his pocket and loans received from family and friends.

He admits that at some point in his journey he went broke. The design and the manufacturing of prototypes for Euro New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) testing was expensive.

Oluwatobi almost quit and started looking at other options such as farming and agriculture.

That was when a friend introduced him to an investment company in Nigeria with ties to investors and funds in the UK, Zrosk Investment Managers.

“I pitched my idea and they liked it immediately.”

Zrosk provided seed capital to establish the assembly line and today owns 30% of the company.

Today, Nord has two assembly plants in Lagos and in Epe with a capacity to do 100 cars a month –  or up to 500 with further investment. They now also manufacture their own plastic parts with plans to eventually do their own steel pressing.

Nord Automobiles Limited  offers eight different models with the 3-tonne pickup, the Nord Tank, the most popular. The others are the Nord Max (2.6-tonne pickup), the Nord A3 (sedan), Nord A5 (luxury SUV), Nord Flit minibus, the Nord Yarn and the Nord Tripper.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 0
    error: Content is protected !!