The Nigerian market has become the most sought after for international tyre manufacturers on the continent because of its huge market potential. Sadly, the high cost of new tires and low purchasing power of consumers, caused by the recent economic contraction, has impacted negatively on the volume of sales.
Initially, there were some locally established tyre manufacturers in the country, but epileptic power supply in the country has forced some to relocate to neighbouring countries for their operations. This has created a thriving market for foreign brands in the country.
According to a TechSci Research report in 2015, the tyre market in Nigeria is dominated by the passenger car tire segment, and this trend is expected to continue over the next five years.
Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in Q1 2018, revealed that Nigeria has a total of 11.7 million vehicles, with commercial vehicles accounting for 6.8 million, representing about 58.08 percent, private are 4.7 million (40.67 percent), government vehicles followed with 139,264 (1.19 percent), while diplomatic vehicles accounted for 5,912 (0.05 percent).
Welcome to this week’s edition of Product Review, a weekly analysis where we feature products contending for prominence in Nigeria’s consumer marketsplace. This week, we bring you the various brands in the Vehicle Tyre market and how they are competing for visibility and profitability.
Brands in the market
In Nigeria’s tyre market, there are both premium and budget (cheaper) tyres. The declining purchasing power of consumers has continued to make the budget tires more attractive. These tyres (which account for about 80% of the Nigerian total tire market) are imported mainly from Asian countries.
Dunlop Nigeria Plc and Michelin Nigeria Limited are major pioneers in Nigeria’s tyre industry with the establishment of their respective manufacturing outfits. In 2005, the combined annual local capacity was 2.25 million units, representing 75% of Nigerian tyre market at that time. These two companies were the only tyre manufacturing outfits in Nigeria, and indeed the West African region. However, the owners of both factories shut them down at the end of 2008 and 2006 respectively.
Currently, there are about 150 brands of tyre in the Nigerian market. Dominant players include Dunlop, Michelin, Bridgestone, Pirelli, Firestone, and Continental tires. Apart from these flagship brands, several small players have also made entry into the Nigerian market.
On account of their significantly lower prices, brands from Asian countries have also increasingly penetrated the Nigerian market over the last few years. It is not uncommon to see brands such as Kumho, Hankook, and Yokohama in major distribution outlets across the country.
By 2008, imported brands accounted for about 90% share of the market, as against only 25% in 2005. Today, all the tyres in the Nigerian market are imported following the cessation of local tyre manufacturing. The high cost of tyre brands has also seen a boost in second-hand and substandard tyres. This often times results in road accidents. According to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), 772 out of the 9,000 road traffic accidents (RTCs) recorded in 2015 across the country were caused by burst tyres.
SWOT Analysis of the market
Considering the huge population in the country and its growing young population, Nigeria is definitely a prime market for investors and manufacturers.
The growing vehicle sales, expanding automobile fleet and increasing infrastructure development are some of the major factors that have boosted the tyre market in the country.
Most brands with good tyres are very unaffordable, this has boosted smuggling activities at the nation’s porous border posts.
Abundance of natural rubber, carbon black and other Petro-chemicals in the country will be a huge value addition to manufacturing tyres.
Lack of basic infrastructure such as power has forced local manufacturers to close shop. Any manufacturer willing to do business in the country must invest in alternative power generation.
What consumers are saying
During an interview by Nairametrics, many motorists noted that price is a major factor when buying their tyres. A commercial driver, who gave his name as Bashiru, said he didn’t even know the names of tyre brands as he only goes for fairly used tires which are readily available in markets at cheaper rates.
According to him:
“I don’t even know their names, I get mine from my friend who sells fairly used tyres. This is cheaper than the brand new.”
Another car owner, Mr. Benjamin, said he goes for Michelin tyre because he has been using it for a while and it is very reliable.
Mr. Ikenna, a car dealer who also sells car spare parts in Ikeja, said that the pioneer brands still enjoy goodwill in the market, while the new brands are still struggling to gain customers’ confidence. However, affordability is a major factor for most Nigeria users.
In our Twitter poll, Michelin got 42%, Bridgestone got 25%, Dunlop and GoodYear got 18% and 15% respectively.
There are immense opportunities for local manufacturers in the country; however, the unreliable power supply and harsh operating environment has forced pioneer companies to shut down.
Also, the thriving second-hand tyre market is a growing concern as this has increased the rate of accidents on our roads. The Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and the Nigerian Customs Service must double down on their statutory responsibilities, while vehicle owners should exercise more caution when buying tyres.