By Theodore Opara
THE Nigeria Auto Journalists Association, NAJA, the umbrella body of all practising Motoring Journalists in the country has recognised companies, products and individuals who stood out in the automotive industry in 2017.
At an award night held at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, the Journalists gave out 20 awards and recognitions, including the prestigious car of the year award and icon of the Nigeria Auto industry awards which were the main awards at the event.
Present at the award were stakeholders in the auto industry as well as the Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, who was represented by Ms. Felicia Izuora, a senior management staff of the agency.
The 2017 award pulled more crowd as the hall was filled by stakeholders who came to receive honours for their works. The climax of the award was the recognition of Chief Michael Ade-Ojo who was honoured with the icon of the Nigeria Auto industry. He was accompanied by his children who are managing directors of Elizade Autoland and Toyota Nigeria Limited, TNL, respectively. They were accompanied by their staff and members of the Toyota family in Nigeria.
Also the car of the year award which was retained by Peugeot 301 Midlife drew ovation from everyone present at the occasion. The Peugeot 301 beat the Nissan Almera and Kia Rio to the prestigious award. The 301 was the only one among the three nominees that had a facelift in 2017 thereby bringing in something new to the car. Its engine also won an international award last year after winning the Nigeria car of the year. Award winners in the other categories included Toyota Hilux which emerged Pickup of the year in Nigeria, thereby dethroning the Ford Range which clinched the award in 2016.
The third nominee in the category was Mitsubishi L200 Pickup. The Toyota Hiace retained the mini bus of the year award while Mercedes Benz S-Class won luxury car of the year. Mercedes Benz also won the Truck brand of the year. The Ford Explorer was the winner of the SUV category while the Range Rover Autobiography was honoured as the luxury SUV of the year.
The tyre brand of the year went to Pirelli Tyres distributed by Infinity Tyres in Nigeria while light truck of the year honour went to Fuso Light Truck distributed in Nigeria by CFAO Equipment in Nigeria.
The Dangote plant won the truck plant of the year while PAN Nigeria Limited was honoured as car plant of the year. Also, Hyundai Motors represented by Stallion was recognised for outstanding customer service of the year. The gigantic Coscharis multi brand showroom, Awoyaya, Lekki, Lagos, was honoured as showroom of the year.
Other recognitions included new entrant of the year, SUV category which went to Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, new entrant Pickup category went to JAC Frison, while new entrant, tyre category went to Continental Tyres.
The remarkable achievement, recognition was given to Massil-ia Motors for the birth of the new company which is the coming together of all Mitsubishi distributors as Massilia.