Why Africa’s Bumpy Automotive Marketplace Is Revving With Acquisitions

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Regardless of narratives depicting heavy traffic congestion and perpetually busy roads, the world’s last frontier market is still short on vehicles. Though somewhat ironic given the continent’s rapidly swelling population and the resulting need for seamless transportation, there are fewer automobiles in Africa than anyplace else. 

According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, only 44.8 million vehicles are in Africa—representing a meager 3.5 percent of the global car marketplace. For a population of now around 1.3 billion, only 42 four-wheelers are available per 1,000 people in the region. In 2016, just 1.3 million cars were sold here, which was only about 1.4 percent of vehicle purchases worldwide. 

But Africa’s “vehicle deficit” means there is a largely untapped automotive market, one said to yet be in its foetal phases. Around 100,000 vehicles are sold in Africa, and that number is forecast by the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM) to increase to 2 million yearly from 2035. More so, this prognostication does not take South Africa—which has the continent’s largest auto market (about 85 percent)—into account. 

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