By Theodore Opara
Against all odds, the Peugeot 301 emerged the car of the year in Nigeria in 2016.Peugeot 301, assembled in Kaduna by PAN Nigeria Limited, emerged the winner in a contest with Toyota Corolla and Nissan Almera. The 301 polled the majority vote in both the on-line contest and the voting by Auto journalists, for the award that was organised by Nigeria Auto Journalists Association at the prestigious Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Presenting the award to the Managing Director of PAN Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Boyi the Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Lagos State, Prince Anofiu Elegushi commended the management of PAN for producing a world class car like the 301 and the Nigeria Auto Journalists Association for putting the event together, even as he tasked auto industry players to invest in the local industry.
According to him, “as we celebrate and bestow honour we will like to state that it is pertinent for us to begin to invest in the Nigerian “car”. We are long overdue for such. There are a few of such in Nigeria. While we import most cars as CKDS or such other forms we bring them in, we must now commence a process of investing in building local content into it. The Nigeria Auto Journalists are eminently placed to champion this cause”.
Commending the journalists for their contributions to the development of auto sector in Nigeria, the Commissioner said: “A second concern that we must also deal with is safety issues. I will recall your positive contribution when Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) commenced the campaign to introduce speed limiting devices in vehicles used for public transportation. I therefore salute your sagacity and candour.
In other categories, the Mercedes Benz S-class emerged Luxury Car of the Year, beating the BMW7 Series and Jaguar XJ. Sports Utility Vehicle of the year went to Toyota Prado, while the Pick up of the year was won by Ford Ranger.
Toyota Hiace went home with the Mini Bus of the year award, while the Heavy Truck of the Year was won by Mercedes Actros. Globe Hyundai and Jet Van Mercedes were joint winners in the Outstanding new entrant of the year category, just as God is Good Motors walked away with the Most Safety Conscious Transport Company of the Year.
Show Room of the Year Prize was won by Nissan show room, Victoria Island, Lagos, while Pirelli was crowned Tyre Brand of the year. Chisco Transport was recognised as the West Africa Coast Transport Company of the Year, while Yamaha was voted Motorcycle brand of the year.
In the personalities category, the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) was awarded Road Safety Personality of the Year; the President of Coscharis group, Dr. Cosmas Maduka got the Auto Personality of the year award, just as the Managing Director of Toyota Nigeria Limited was selected as the CEO of the year. The late Executive Director of Nigeria Auto Manufacturers Association (NAMA), Mr. Arthur Madueke, was given a post humous award for its contributions to the auto industry.