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The African public transport industry is very dynamic. It keeps changing quite so constantly. New and more relevant laws are fast replacing the old and obsolete laws of before. Transport codes and laws that incorporate new ideas and were previously non-existent are now being implemented. But what has really made the most significant difference is the change in the economic situation of Africa. This has directly affected the standards of life of many people in Africa.
Levels of disposable income have risen, spending patterns greatly changed and so has the situation of African roads. This change has meant more traffic and human jams in cities and towns as many more people are now able to buy their own vehicles. The number of public service vehicles has also swollen marginally. So what are the implications of all this?
Have you been to Africa lately?
The famous Japanese Toyota has been the king in the public transport industry in Africa. The vehicles win the hearts of many entrepreneurs, thanks to their more economical maintenance. In addition, their spare parts are more readily available. They also come in different models that cut across different classes based on social status, and terrain requirement-think of a land cruiser truck for instance. The Toyota models are also very fuel efficient in their consumption when compare to other brands. These and more factors have kept Toyota in the lead in the vibrant industry of transport. Bumper stickers like ‘The car in front is always a Toyota’ are common in Africa.
Now business lies on balance
It has not been a smooth sail for Toyota. They had to deal with many huddles to gain acceptance in Africa, and later, they had to overcome more bureaucracy to establish themselves significantly. However, the earlier wars or tussles can be said to have been easy to tackle when it comes to evaluating the current situation. Toyota neither faces problems of lack of proper statutes nor logistical problems as they did in their earlier years in Africa. However, there are still a number of obstacles in the implementation of the Toyota dream for Africa. What could be the problem?
Indirect competition from intruders?
Toyota finds itself fighting for the leading position, with competition coming from rather unexpected quarters; motorcycles. In recent years, the motorcycles from China have invaded this industry in astounding numbers taking up completely the routes that had hitherto been the preserve of Toyota vehicles. Take the example of routes that feed to the rural and less developed areas. These motorcycles are now fully competitively serving the areas.
Toyota is rethinking their strategy. Note that they are far from beaten yet. No matter what happens, Japan will rule the roads of Africa for a long time and truth be told, they are also silently but surely encroaching Europe and America. Look at their Prius Hybrid!