2023 NAJA AUTO AWARD: GAC GS4 Takes Centre Stage As Car of The Year, Mercedez, Toyota, Others Win Big
By Daphne Uduneje
The 2023 trading year began on a winning footing for stakeholders in the auto industry, as the Nigerian Automobile Journalists association (NAJA) recently organized the 2023 Auto Award in recognition of the performances of industry players in the just ended 2022 .trading year, through awards in various categories dished out recently in Lagos, at the prestigious Oriental Hotel Lekki.
Top on the list of winners was the GAC GS4 which bagged the coveted Car-of-the-Year trophy, defeating the Suzuki S-Presso and Geely Coolray, which were strong contenders in the car of the year category.
,Mercedes-Benz, marketed by Weststar Associates Ltd. in Nigeria, emerged as the Luxury Brand of the Year, defeating BMW and Porsche, while Toyota Land Cruiser emerged as the SUV of the Year and Range Rover (Autobiography) clinched the Luxury SUV of the Year trophy, respectively. The Toyota Hilux emerged as the Pickup of the Year, defeating the Mitsubishi L200 and Ford Ranger. Toyota also won the minibus of the year award. The Chinese bus of the year award went to the Foton View C2, which is being handled in Nigeria by Kewalram Nigeria.
Other big winners at the award night were Lanre Shittu Motors, CFAO Motors, Mikano, R.T. Briscoe, Elizade Autoland, Innoson, Stallion Motors, Cosharis, Jet Systems, Autochek, and Kewalram Nigeria.
Suzuki S-Presso picked the Budget Car of the Year, and the JAC J7 went home with the outstanding auto design vehicle of the year. Lanre Shittu’s JAC truck plant was adjudged the truck plant of the year. It also won the Large Truck of the Year award, while Innoson Motors bagged the Assembly Plant of the Year award.
Mikano’s showroom on Victoria Island, Lagos, won the Showroom of the Year. Stallion’s Bajaj was declared the three-wheeler of the year. The firm was also named multi-brand assembler of the year. Jet System received the electric auto company of the year award; Micking emerged as the oil brand of the year; Nord won the best innovative auto company award; and Autochek was celebrated as the best in online auto finance and marketing. The duo of R.T. Briscoe and Mandilas Motors were honored as the most resilient auto companies. Dangote’s Peugeot also had the most resilient auto brand. GUO Transport emerged as the transport company of the year.
As part of their contributions to the development of Nigeria’s auto industry, Seyi Onajide, MD of RT Briscoe, and Kunle Jaiyesimi, DMD of CFAO Motors, were honoured with the auto personality of the year awards. Also, the late Chairman of Globe Motors, Willie Anumudu, and the late Vice President of Coscharis Group, Mrs. Charity Maduka, were given posthumous awards for supporting the growth of Nigeria’s auto industry.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of NAJA, Mike Ochonma, said the awards recognized stellar performance of auto brands, plants and personalities creating value in the sector based on the criteria including brand value, market leadership and business strategy against their peers in the past year under review. He said all winners were selected for their impressive performance in the Nigerian auto industry despite a challenging macro-economic environment in the past year under review. Commenting on the award, DMD, CFAO Motors, Jaiyesimi, commended NAJA for its consistency over the years, noting that the recognition by NAJA was an indication that great work does not go unnoticed.
Speaking on the award for CFAO, Jaiyesimi said, “It is gratifying that our many years of commitment and mindful service, with our clients’ needs at heart, are still yielding great results.
“We are deeply honored to receive this award. Being recognized by NAJA, an umbrella body for auto journalists in Nigeria, is a fulfilling achievement for us. This award is about defining our role towards creating value for our employees, customers, shareholders, communities and the society at large.”