Some car dealers in Abuja have called on the Federal Government to formulate policies to encourage Nigerians to patronise locally manufactured cars.
The dealers, said on Thursday, said the sliding exchange rate of the naira had affected their businesses negatively.
They said that the current economic situation in the country had affected the price of imported vehicles by about 50 per cent.
According to them, if Nigeria can stop importing vehicles, their price will drop.
Mr Anthur Akwarandu, a car dealer at Gwarinpa, said that currently Nigerians were not patronising the only Nigerian vehicle manufacturer – Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company.
He said that government officials preferred to patronise foreign manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda at the expense of Made-in-Nigeria vehicles.
Akwarundua, the Chairman, Biggudd Global Motors, said that the rising dollar rate against the naira had made importation of vehicles difficult for the dealers.
“For example, Venza, which was between four million and N4.5 million naira before now costs six million naira.
“As a result, people now find it difficult to buy at that rate.
“What we are waiting for is the budget to be signed so that there will be money in circulation; hopefully by that time, the situation will have improved.
“We were selling an average of four cars before, but now, we find it difficult to sell a car in two weeks,’’ he said.
The dealer said naira used to be much stronger than the Beninois currency – CFA Franc – where some Nigerian dealers imported vehicles.
According to him, the CFA is now appreciating against the naira, making it difficult to still buy the same number of vehicles dealers bought about a year ago.
Mallam Saidu Hayatu, the Chairman of A.S Galadima Motors, said that over 50 per cent of dealers had stopped importing vehicles since four months ago.
“The car we were buying for 10,000 U.S dollars before now cost 20,000 U.S dollars because by the time we change naira to dollars, the cost will go higher.
“By the time we buy the vehicles and bring them here (Nigeria), people complain that they are too expensive.
“So, some of us have stopped importing vehicles except on request,’’ he said.
Hayatu said he was selling an average of 10 cars in a week before, but said that “if I am lucky to sell two in a week now, I will be happy”.
The dealer said that even payments for sold vehicles were often in installments rather than full payments.
“The situation is becoming hard and if dollar doesn’t go down, then we may be out of business,’’ the dealer said.