Lack of access to credit facilities remains a key concern in Nigeria and the African continent, as a vast population still finds it difficult to own important assets without having to pay outrightly. In 2019, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) urged Nigeria to make more credit available to businesses if it is determined to free the nation from the claws of poverty.
Autochek, an auto tech platform with the vision of driving vehicle ownership across Africa and a mission to deliver auto financing closer to all Africans says it is allowing people to have more access to vehicles through a seamless platform.
Mayokun Fadeyibi, senior vice president for West Africa at Autochek during Nairametrics’ Business Half Hour radio programme explained that in addition to providing access to varieties of vehicles, the platform is also facilitating means to own those vehicles through its connection with banks and financing partners.
“This way, customers can apply and get offers from different banks so that when those cars are financed, they are also financed with a maintenance plan,” she said, emphasizing that the platform has interesting features that allow customers to buy a car in cash outrightly or pay in instalments.
Commenting on the alarming importation into the country of accidental or damaged cars for reselling, Mayokun said that the problem stems from affordability, the economy and purchasing power as dealers are trying to provide a product that can be affordable, considering that the purchasing power is not the same as it was ten to twenty years ago.
“It is that lack of credit that has created these inefficiencies in the automotive value chain. In a more developed market, access to credit means you can walk into a dealer lot and pick up the vehicle you want regardless of price. All you have to do is to provide your equity. But the lack of credit is creating an avenue for some of the vehicles to be brought in because that’s what people can afford,” she said
Autochek currently operates in five countries namely: Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Cote d’Ivoire, but the challenges it faces differ by the market because, in reality, it’s different countries, different markets and policies. But the company said it is able to scale through the hurdle by understanding what works in each market and then fit the product.
Mayokun said, “Common challenges in the sector are around affordability, quality of vehicles, policy which frames the ecosystem amongst others. One good thing that was announced is the vehicle financing scheme that would allow Nigerians to own vehicles without necessarily paying outrightly. That financing scheme comes in with single-digit interest rate. That’s fantastic as it is coming from a government that literally pushes the value proposition of financing across the entire country. With that happening, that changes the game for all Nigerians in terms of vehicle ownership.”
Mayokun also said the brand was able to acquire Cheki, thereby rebranding and growing it into an Autochek brand. She said, “One of the good things is that Autochek acquired the Checki brand which had been in Nigeria for the past 10 years but was a platform that dealers could launch their vehicle.
“We acquired Cheki brand in Nigeria and Ghana and then we branded it to Autochek. That helped us to build on that platform as customers and consumers were already used to the platform. For us, working around the rebranding, setting up, working with dealers to change their signatures across the country and getting everybody in the auto check that allows them to better offers.
“We have grown aggressively in the past five years and for us, our ambition is Africa. And that’s why our financing value proposition works in every country you go. We are not done with the five countries. In fact, we are just starting to truly be in every African market, we want every African to think of Autochek when they think about vehicles.”