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Once again, the patriotism of Nigerians towards Made-in-Nigeria goods has been put on the spotlight after a clash ensued among Nigerians over the market value of Innoson SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle). There was also an accusation that the vehicle was a replica of a Chinese vehicle brand, BAIC Motors. 

Made-in-Nigeria products have been struggling to gain acceptance among Nigerians for years. While cement manufacturers like Dangote and BUA have succeeded in making the cement market theirs, manufacturers of some other products especially in the automobile industry have struggled to compete foreign-made products. One of these manufacturers is Innoson, the manufacturer of Innoson Vehicles. 

Despite being the pride of Nigeria, which is cost-effective compared to foreign brands in Nigeria, Innoson Vehicles is still fighting for relevance among Nigerians, and the latest outburst towards the worth of one of its cars and the creative design of Innoson’s engineers show that some Made-in-Nigeria goods still have a long way to go. 

[READ MORE: Nigerians react as Anambra lawmakers reject Prado SUVs for Innoson SUVs]

Mixed reactions trail value of Innoson’s car, its copycat design of Chinese vehicle

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Collison against Innoson

In the era of support Naija-to-grow-naira, it is surprising that the condemnation was almost deafening. The Nigerian automaker had supported the Big Brother Naija reality TV show that was organised for Nigerians, so one would think it was a collaboration from heaven but some Nigerians did not see it that way. 

The criticism of Innoson brands was based on the company’s originality in the design of its vehicles and its price. The Innoson SUV has a striking resemblance with the Chinese car, BAIC BJ80. 

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Tribal sentiment

Many insinuated that the negative reactions towards the Innoson vehicles were tribal sentiments. Some Twitter users said those who condemned the manufacturer did so because Innoson vehicles are manufactured in Anambra, and if the manufacturing factory was located in other regions in the South-West and North, there wouldn’t have been criticism. However, the critics distanced themselves from such a notion. 

Mixed reactions trail value of Innoson’s car, its copycat design of Chinese vehicle

Supporters of MIN

Innoson was, however, well supported, regardless of the critics’ attempts to belittle its design. According to Nigerians who condemned the criticism of Innoson, there’s no goods or product that doesn’t bear a resemblance to existing brands irrespective of the sector. 

[READ ALSO: Irate Nigerians drag Imo State Governor for snubbing Innoson Vehicles]

Mixed reactions trail value of Innoson’s car, its copycat design of Chinese vehicle

Copycat in the automotive industry

Replica is not allowed in the automotive industry globally and any automaker involved in copycat design can be sued for copyright infringement and in some cases, unfair competition because the replica is often cheaper and more affordable compared to the original. However, a handful of Chinese automakers have been sued and the court ruled against them. 

AfCFTA impact

With the free trade agreement already signed and likely to kickoff soon, it’s important for Nigerians to embrace Made-in-Nigeria goods in order not to be swept away by goods made in other African countries. The acceptance of Made-in-Nigeria goods will improve the production level and reduce unemployment in Nigeria.

1 COMMENT

  1. Of course, after corruption and tribalism, the next problem we need to deal with in order to progress as a country is slavish mentality that foreign items are always better. A lot of young people can be excused for their ignorance because such beliefs are older than them. However, the Innoson company needs to be more creative and strategic in pricing and product positioning. They should strive to make more reliable mass market cars that will not cost too much above most high grade tokunbo cars in order to entice the public. High returns shouldn’t be their main goal for now, but rather mass market penetration and volume sales beyond institutional buyers who currently constitute the bulk of their customers.

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