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Six Global Car Assembling Plants Driving Change in Ghana

In a remarkable shift, Ghana has become more than just a picturesque landscape; it has emerged as a future where the engine of development is powered by innovation on both local and global fronts, with some of the world’s automotive giants setting up assembling plants, transforming Ghana into a hub for innovation, economic development, and a new era in transportation. Ghana stands out as the 7th best economy in Africa according to the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. 

Moreover, the country boasts of a high freedom of the press rating, further enhancing its appeal as a promising emerging market for investment. The Ghanaian manufacturing industry receives substantial support from the local government, propelling it to secure a position among the 40 fastest-growing industrial productions globally. The automotive sector in Ghana is largely made up of retailers of imported used vehicles and a few distributors who deal in the retailing of new vehicles.

Ghana imports about 100,000 vehicles per year.  About 90 percent are used vehicles, with an estimated value of US$1.14 billion annually. The United States, Japan and Germany are leading suppliers. Currently, there are six automobile assemblers registered under the Ghana Automotive Development Program (GADP), which includes, Volkswagen, Toyota, Rana Motors, Sinotruck, Japan Motors and Kantanka.

Volkswagen (VW)

Volkswagen (VW) a German automobile manufacturer is one of the pioneering automotive engineers in Ghana. Volkswagen Ghana in August 2020 became the first automotive company registered under the Ghana Automotive Development Programme (GADP). It initiated commercial operations, focusing on assembling a range of vehicles from the renowned German automobile brand, Volkswagen. In just under two years of operation, Volkswagen (VW) Ghana has successfully sold approximately 1,000 locally assembled cars. As Volkswagen’s smallest SUV model, the T-Cross is a subcompact crossover known for its surprisingly spacious interior. Despite its size, it offers ample room and comes generously equipped with standard features. This makes it an effortlessly drivable and practical family car, accentuated by its elevated seating position.

In 2020, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo revealed Ghana’s inaugural Volkswagen vehicle assembled locally, marking the culmination of the VW assembly plant’s establishment in the country. Volkswagen Ghana Limited this year opened its vehicle assembly plant in the Tema Free Zone area with the capacity of producing 5,000 plus cars and pickups annually.

Toyota Ghana Company

Toyota Ghana Company Limited stands as the exclusive entity in Ghana authorized by Toyota Motors Corporation through a formal distributorship agreement. This authorization empowers them to distribute reliable Toyota vehicles, genuine spare parts, and deliver high-quality after-sales services, ensuring a comprehensive and trusted Toyota experience for customers in Ghana. Toyota with automotive latest cars like the saloon, SUV, pickup truck, buses and hybrids excellence, have established its car assembling plants, signalling a deepening commitment to the Ghanaian market.

Committed to prioritizing customer satisfaction, Toyota Ghana recently integrated innovative ideas into its operations to ensure the consistent quality of its products, putting customer interests at the forefront of its endeavors. The products: Independent Aftermarket Parts (IAM Parts) and Toyota Genuine Motor Oil (TGMO) were introduced to address the difficulties faced by cost-conscious customers who feel compelled to purchase counterfeit parts for their older vehicles. Toyota Genuine Motor Oil delivers comprehensive engine protection, guarding against friction and heat stress to enhance performance and extend the lifespan of your engine.

In 2021, Toyota Ghana officially launched its certified pre-owned vehicle business unit, Automark, to provide customers with convenience and transparency throughout the process of buying or selling their used Toyota vehicles. Also in March 2022, Toyota Ghana introduced the All-New Corolla Cross, a compact yet comfortable SUV model.

With its presence in the Ghanaian market, Toyota Ghana has opened employment avenues for the youth in Accra, Kumasi, and other regions. Toyota Ghana Company Limited (TGCL) formalized a project partnership with the University of Ghana, signing an agreement for the establishment of a versatile workshop and training centre to benefit the university community. The company also held the Toyota Ghana training facility in Accra to equip its customers with on-site training.

Rana Motors

Rana Motors has become a burgeoning dealer of pre-owned cars in Ghana, offering high-quality vehicles across various categories. In May 2023, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo inaugurated a state-of-the-art assembly plant for Rana Motors and Metal Works Limited in Amasaman, located in the Greater Accra Region. The initiative was to facilitate the introduction of KIA vehicles in Ghana, aligning with the nation’s Automotive Development Policy.

Again, Rana Motors successfully launched the inaugural fleet of 30 Phoenix Ashok Leyland vehicles, fully assembled in the country. These 30 vehicles were crafted at Rana Motors’ assembly plant in Amasaman, situated in the Ga West Municipality. In October, Rana Motors introduced the Ashok Leyland Phoenix trucks to the Ghanaian market. The new 3-seater automobile, Ashok Leyland Phoenix, comes with multi-angle adjustable seats offering class-leading comfort that sets the benchmark in the commercial vehicle industry.

Sinotruck

Sinotruck, specializing in robust trucks, has parked its manufacturing expertise in Ghana. Established in 2001, Sinotruk International is a wholly-owned subsidiary of China National Heavy Duty Truck Group (CNHTC) and serves as the exclusive foreign trade arm of CNHTC. The company focuses on enhancing truck sales, modification capabilities, technical services, spare parts supply, and overseas KD assembly through continuous improvement.

In October this year, President Nana Akufo-Addo inaugurated the Zona Tec Sinotruk Assembly Plant. The plant will assemble more than 3,000 heavy-duty and light-duty trucks, including tipper trucks, wheel loaders, backhoes, trailers, semi-trailers and oil tankers annually. It also employed at least 200 more crew members and created more indirect employment opportunities. Zonda products have gained the trust of clients, including the Ghana Bauxite Company, Ghana Manganese Company, key players in the construction sector, and petroleum haulage companies.

Japan Motors

Japan Motors Trading Company (JMTC), a globally recognized automobile manufacturer of Nissan, Foton, Yamaha and Lassa has buckled up its presence in the Ghanaian market. Nissan Motor Corporation collaborated with local partners to inaugurate a $9 million assembly plant in the country to facilitate the production of vehicles locally. The Nissan Assembly Plant in the Industrial City, Tema, can produce 11,593 units of vehicles per shift per annum.

Japan Motors, Nissan’s longstanding distributor in Ghana, has invested $8 million in constructing the assembly plant. Nissan selected Japan Motors as its local assembly partner after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Ghanaian government in 2018. This marked a significant milestone, with Nissan being the first global OEM to pledge support for the development of a sustainable local automotive industry in Ghana. Early this year, Japan Motors designed the Nissan Qashqai to offer an exceptional crossover experience and give customers more comfort.

Kantanka Automobile

Kantanka Automobiles, a homegrown hero contributing to the car culture in the Ghanaian landscape designs, manufactures, assembles and sells luxury cars. Mr. Kwadwo Safo Kantanka Jnr, the Chief Executive Officer of Kantanka Group of Companies, generously presented a brand-new Kantanka Omama Pick-up (2020 edition) to the Ghana Army. The donation ceremony took place at the Apostle Safo School of Arts and Sciences in Awoshie.

In 2020, the Kantanka Group was formally granted a license to continue its auto assembly operations in Ghana and to benefit from incentives under the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Policy. Though the Toyota and Nissan Groups have positioned themselves to establish assemble operations before Sinotruk, a leading global manufacturer of HeavyDuty Trucks also assembled a variety of trucks in Ghana, Kantanka Automobile will also benefit from incentives under the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Policy.

Global car assembling plants are not just about vehicles; they are shaping the future of Ghana to create jobs, impart valuable skills and add revenue to Ghana’s economy.

By: Esther Adwoa Gyanwah Karikari/ Instinct Business Magazine

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