There’s much government can do to de-risk the automobile business in Nigeria


…Says Mrs. Ola Debayo-Doherty (Mandilas GCEO)


Nigeria, with its population has the potential of becoming an automobile hub for Africa.


This was disclosed recently to Auto Reporters by Mrs. Ola Debayo-Doherty, Group Chief Executive Officer of Mandilas as the company celebrates its Seventy years of entering the Nigerian market.


Mrs. Ola Debayo-Doherty, the first African and woman to attain the GCEO’s position since the group started operations 70 years ago, also speaks on the potential of the nation’s automobile industry and the need for government to create an enabling environment with a proactive automotive policy that would position Nigerian market as the hub of the automobile in Africa.


According to her: “What we need to fix it, is to drive policies and regulations that support local manufacturing (of vehicles), but at the same time develop policies that would protect those investments in the auto industry.”


“Policies for local and foreign investors who want their investments protected need to be clear,” she declared.


Speaking further, she said: “There is much government can do to de-risk the automobile business in Nigeria.” She added: “The realities of our operating environment, infrastructural issues, and implementation bottlenecks should be properly evaluated and fully considered in delivering a functional auto policy.”


“We cannot overlook the impact of the importation of used cars and grey imports on new car sales.” But “the government must find a lasting solution to this challenge and create a level playing field for new car investments in the country,” she opined.


She further revealed that: “The revival of associated moribund sectors such as the petrochemical and steel industries is crucial to growing thriving auto industry in Nigeria.”


When asked what were the factors that have helped the Mandilas brand to remain relevant for seven decades, considering the high mortality rate of businesses in the country, the Group Chief Executive Officer said: “Critical success factor for Mandilas over the years has been our commitment to Nigeria and Nigerians; a legacy we have imbibed from the humble beginnings of the founder, Mr. John Basil Mandilas.”

And praising her company, she said: “The Mandilas Group is a learning organization,” and “it is one that adapts positively to challenges in her environment and is resilient enough to come out on top.”


“Resilience is in our DNA and that has kept us going despite micro and macro-economic challenges. We have stayed true to our mission and vision statements through the years and they are the driving force for the continued longevity of the Mandilas brand.”


“Secondly,” she continued “our people, they are exceptional. We put our employees first and staff related payments have remained a top priority for us over the years.”


“Consequently, we have enjoyed strong loyalty and dedication to duty from our employees, which in turn has kept us afloat even during difficult and challenging times when we could have closed shop,” she revealed.


Apart from Air-conditioning business that the company is also noted for Mrs. Ola Debayo-Doherty said: ”Our Motors offering includes Car Sales (both new and used cars), Fleet Management and Leasing and of course our After Sales Service.”


“Our after-sales business expertise spans seven decades and (that) we have continued to deliver unrivaled service to all our customers across the country.”


“Our Workshops and Quick Service Centres (QSC) covering Lagos, Ibadan, Benin, Warri, Port Harcourt, Ilorin, Kaduna, and Abuja are manned by trained technicians with a plethora of awards from the 50s till date as a tribute to our continued commitment,” she boasted.


Enumerating on the company’s Awards, she stated that: “We won The Best Auto Workshop of the Year by Nigeria Auto Journalists Association and Best Auto Dealer by The Nigeria Automotive Industry in 2019; Toyota Award for the Best Service Team 2017 and Best Toyota Dealer, 2015, among others.”


On what informed the transformation agenda recently rolled out by the group, the Group Chief Executive Officer revealed that: “One of the risks of being a legacy company is being stuck in ‘the way we do things’ mentality and it became imperative that if we were to retain our profitability, viability, and attractiveness in the market space there is a need to regroup, refresh and recalibrate to optimize present and future business opportunities.”


“The agenda aims to re-launch the Mandilas brand as one of the foremost indigenous companies in Nigeria. We expect to expand our reach and appeal to varied customer demographics in the marketplace. Consequently, our renewed market focus of ‘Committed to You’ is a brand repositioning statement that realigns our business model to be more customers centric. In a nutshell, it is about bringing quality service closer to Nigerians,” she concluded.


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