By 2022, Nigerians and other users of Toyota’s Land Cruiser will no longer be able to purchase the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) following the decision of the carmaker to stop producing it. The decision was attributed to a sales drop.

Land Cruiser has been in existence for ten years, but Toyota is no longer interested in the production as it has experienced reduction in the demand of the SUV brand. One of the factors restricting the demand for Land Cruiser is the price which is said not to match the value anymore.

Toyota Motor Corporation is a Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. The company offers a range of trucks, cars, Sport Utility Vehicles, hybrids and minivans across the world.

The cheaper substitute has also contributed to the drop in sales, as well as brand competition from Toyota’s range of SUVs. Motorists seem to prefer Toyota’s 4Runner and Sequoia to Land Cruiser. They now term Land Cruiser an ‘outdated piece of machinery’.

Meanwhile, Toyota has made an investment in Abia State to boost the region’s automobile industry. The automobile maker established an ancillary auto centre in Umuahia where it will run a range of top-line vehicles.

According to the Director of Unique Integrated Auto Centre, Jaja Ihesiaba, the auto centre has been structured to become a leader in the automobile industry in the South-East. While outlining the feature of the centre, he said it had been equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for Toyota products.

Ihesiaba also said the centre is the biggest showroom in Abia State, and it will directly source and acquire genuine spare parts from Toyota International.

Why it matters: The ancillary auto centre will be a driver of employment as it will provide opportunities for both skilled and unskilled residents of the state. Toyota is a key driver of labour force globally, accounting for 364,445 employees worldwide in 2017. The company was the sixth-largest company in the world by revenue as of September 2018.

The centre will contribute to much-needed employment opportunities at a period the country’s unemployment number is high, and the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Labour and Employment, in May 2019, announced that unemployment rate would reach 33.5% by 2020.

More so, a 2019 report by the National Bureau Statistics (NBS) stated that the unemployment rate was 23.1%, while underemployment was 16.6%. In Q3 of 2018, the number of unemployed people in Nigeria rose from 3.3 million or 19% to 20.9 million.