Until 2017, two of the most important names in Nigeria’s automobile business—Chief Michael Ade-Ojo and Sir Willie Anumudu—are wont to be chummy, albeit business-wise. For over 25 years, the auto mogul, Ade-Ojo through his company, Toyota Nigeria Limited, has had a dealership agreement with Anumudu’s Globe Motors.
And business was so good as Globe Motors alongside seven other accredited dealers sold thousands of units of Toyota vehicles to form the Japanese-made whips among the leading brands within the country, accounting for nearly half of vehicles imported, and really popular on Nigerian roads.
But within the last two years, that relationship has been strained resulting in a chilly war between the 2 moguls. it’s been a dog-eat-dog world for the market share, climaxing, a few weeks ago, with a choice to sever ties thanks to the alleged violation of the dealership agreement between both parties.
The story of how the 2 wealthy men’s longstanding accounts led to such acrimony is laid call at a series of a colorful advertorial in some national newspapers that gives a sneak peek into the high-stake maneuvering that plays out behind the scenes of the huge distributorship deal.
Toyota Nigeria, during a recent advertorial published in some major national dailies, had issued a notice that it had revoked its dealership with Anumudu’s Globe Motors and thus the latter “is not a Toyota accredited dealer and hence is not any longer authorized to transact any business on behalf of Toyota (Nigeria) Limited.
As such, Toyota (Nigeria) Limited won’t be responsible for any business transaction with Globe Motors Holdings Nigeria Limited.” it had been this disclaimer that exacerbated the silent war that has lingered since 2017.
Spotlight learned that several attempts were made to resolve the crisis between the 2 parties but all failed to result in claims and counterclaims over the dealership crisis.
A source said Ade-Ojo was forced to require the steps to revoke the dealership arrangement over allegations that Anumudu’s Globe Motors was infringing on the dealership agreement with Toyota Nigeria—being the only representative of Toyota Motors Corporation of Japan—by importing vehicles unilaterally without recourse to its agreement with Toyota Nigeria.
But, these allegations are dismissed as false and misleading by Anumudu via his associates. consistent with Anumudu, during a counter publication, Globe Motors remained bonafide and accredited importers and distributors of Toyota Vehicles in Nigeria.
He claimed that Ade-Ojo and his companies are scared of his strides and competition thus the resort to misinforming the general public.
The auto mogul noted that while not denying Toyota Nigeria because of the major accredited distributor of the Japanese brand in Nigeria, that doesn’t preclude other companies from importing and selling the brand.
While Anumudu could probably be all bent battle the perceived oligopoly within the Toyota market in Nigeria, from all indications, however, the Toyota headquarters in Japan seems to be backing Ade-Ojo’s decision to revoke the dealership agreement together with his company.
Ade-Ojo is fondly mentioned as ‘Nigeria’s Mr. Toyota’. The businessman isn’t called ‘Mr. Toyota’s just because he loves cruising around within the Japanese-made whips except for almost 50 years, he has handled successfully business with Toyota.
And after nearly five decades of mingling with the automakers, Ade-Ojo has earned the exclusive rights to Toyota Motor Corporation business in Nigeria. His lifetime’s commitment has made Toyota one among the foremost ubiquitous car brands in Africa’s largest and most populous economy.
The billionaire businessman wont to control as Toyota Nigeria Chairman before he retired two years ago and handed over to at least one of his sons, Kunle Ade-Ojo, who inherited the continued ‘beef’ between the 2 auto moguls.
The businessman is on a well-known terrain of the market war as not a couple of would remember how the founding father of Elizade Motors, some years ago, led other dealers of imported vehicles and operators of allied businesses to require on the powerful Indian billionaire brothers, the Vaswani Brothers who own Stallion Group.
Ade-Ojo battled the Indian powerful brothers to submission and he seems determined again this point around to not have his Toyota distributorship rights tampered with.