Wings & Wheels
Sleek, Rugged, Twenty First Century Machines
- By: Maktoub Magazine
- June 11, 2016
Made-in-Africa Cars and SUVs Make a Bold Entry!
When you think class, rugged performance and ultra-modern metallic beauty, you probably think Japan’s Toyota or Honda, South Korea’s Hyundai or Kia, Germany’s Mercedes Benz or BMW, the Americans’ Ford or Tesla. India’s Tata and China’s JAC autos are also making big statements and penetrating the African market.
But Africa is not sitting idle and taking the backseat or just assembling imported car parts. We preview 5 wholly indigenous African auto companies ready to show the world the power of black technology and boost the continent’s economy.
Africa has over 10 wholly indigenous automakers, producing mid-range economy cars, buses and SUVs, or luxury brands focused on sports cars and limited edition series for the high-end market. However, the question is: How can these innovations be properly aligned with government policies to significantly challenge the West-dominated markets and boost the economies of their various countries?
Africa’s number one luxury vehicle manufacturer, Laraki was established in 1999 and makes high-performance sports cars. It is owned by Abdeslam Laraki, a Moroccan designer who started out creating luxurious yachts (the King of Bahrain is its main client) and also worked for Franco Sbarro. The technical director is Peter Tutzer, previously from Bugatti.
Laraki’s flagship models the ‘Fulgura’ (2002), ‘Borac’ (2005) and ‘Epitome’ (2013).
Laraki Fulgura is based on the frame and mechanicals of a Lamborghini Diablo and equipped with a quad-turbo Mercedes-Benz 6.0L V12. The estimated price is $555,750.
The second model, Laraki Borac, is not based on an existing design but is powered by a Mercedes-Benz 6.0L V12 engine.
Only nine cars of the Laraki Epitome is planned to be built. The model is fitted with the engine of a C6 Corvette V8 and has twin turbochargers
Founded in 2012, Kiira motors designed Africa’s first hybrid car (the EV Smack) in 2014; and Africa’s first solar powered bus.
The auto company is the result of a collaboration between Makerere University’s College of Engineering & Industrial Design, the Uganda Ministry of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives, and the Office of the President of Uganda.
It is wholly owned by the government of Uganda, with the two major shareholders being Makerere University and the Uganda Development Corporation.
In 2006, students from 25 universities and colleges across the world took part in a project to design a plug-in electric hybrid vehicle. Following that three year project, in which the United States-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Uganda’s Makerere University participated, the scientists involved were inspired to embark on a project to develop a “Made in Uganda” hybrid car.
Commercial production is expected to start in 2018.
Kantanka produces both electric saloon and electric four wheel drives. The models include an electric SUV called the ‘Nkunimdie,’ the electric ‘Katanka Onatafuo’ 4×4 Pickup and the electric ‘Kantanka Opasuo’ range as well as the electric ‘Otumfo’ SUV.
It launched its range of vehicles in December 2015, and is already selling them to the Ghana police and military.
The company touts the cars as specially made to survive on bad roads, a known hazard of many roads in sub-Saharan Africa. The vehicles also have a special feature: They can be controlled with voice commands.
Kantanka was founded by Kwadwo Safo Kantanka, a Ghanaian pastor and self-taught engineer. Kwadwo started making musical instruments in the 1970s. He then moved to the manufacturing of electronic advertising boards, voltage stabilizers, induction motors and televisions, which featured voice control technology. But all his products were made in small quantities, as capital for mass production and supply of components were unavailable.
The plant currently has the capacity to produce eight vehicles per day, but it is expected to expand to 20 per day within the year.
Founded by Innocent Chukwuma, Innoson cars prides itself as the most versatile Indigenous automaker in Africa with the widest range of products in market.
Innoson’s range of vehicles includes trucks, Pick-ups, SUVs, Buses, Sedans, and Dump Trucks. The models, produced at its Nnewi, Anambra State plant, include the five-seater ‘Fox’ (1.5 litre engine) and ‘Umu’ (2 litre engine) as well as the mini-bus ‘Uzo.’
Innoson cars are moderately priced between N1.5million to N3.5 million.
The company recently announced it has signed a partnership with The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) which will see the company supply spare parts for jets conducting airstrikes in troubled regions.
BAILEY EDWARDS (South Africa)
Bailey Edwards car company describes itself as an auto brand that “has no rival in Africa” and which makes “top notch sport cars that rank well in the world.”
The Bailey cars company was started in 2002 to fill the need for quality and reliable replica or recreations of the famous Le mans winning cars such as the Porsche 917, Ferrari P4 and the Ford Gt40.
According to the auto company’s website, the factors which distinguish the Bailey cars range is its quality, attention to detail and the endeavour to offer top class service and customer support. Bailey cars recreations are also highly successful in historic racing series around the world.
Bailey Edwards’ model range includes the Bailey GT, GT1, LMP, 917, P4, T70 coupe and Spyder…
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