Culture. cul·ture | \ ˈkəl-chər \ the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society.
The car community is one of the tightest families around the world; the values, practices and ideas are basically shared and transferred from one group of people to the next. The evolution of this community is more efficient than ever, the transfer of knowledge is almost instant and there are more sub communities than one could count.
The African car community is no different, each country has founded their own culture influenced by a particular set of factors. Most car lovers in Africa have to import their dream cars except in countries with restrictions on imports. On top of that, the taxes on car imports in Africa are some of the biggest in the world…these are some of the factors that shape the African car culture differently from its counterparts in Europe, US or the Middle East. And perhaps though, the Asian and African car cultures have more similarities than differences.
One observation though is that BMW comes out as the most loved brand in Africa among car lovers. In addition to that, JDM hot spots are slowly losing the popularity share to GDM. Especially when it comes to 4 bangers. The VW Golf GTIs and Rs are now taking over. This of course is due to the fact that Japanese cars have been tailing behind in terms of development, performance, interior and technology…some have succumbed to their very end. New age car lovers go for what is hot around the world not what used to be hot.
That said, let’s have a look at how each country in Africa has shaped their car culture. We will look at sports cars and other special cars per country. A quick Thank You to my followers on Twitter who contributed to this article and to the car lovers who provided these cars photos.
If you would like to contribute to this article, contact us via Twitter @GTspirit or @Earlsimxx. Worth noting that we only focused on cars that are popular in each local car scene, by this we mean cars that rack up large numbers at car meets or car shows; not the ordinary daily driver cars on the roads. In the galleries you will also find additional luxury and supercar photos from each country, just to show you a glimpse of the trend among high spending individuals.
This is a BMW territory, i’m told the BMW club here is the most active automotive club. Unlike East and South Africa, West Africa can import LHD cars. Meaning they have a large and diverse market to choose from unlike RHD territories. The average car guy here will typically go for a BMW; anything from M-Performance models to full M cars like the M2/3/4/5 and so on.
Kenya: Subaru WRX/Mitsubishi Evo
Having grown up in Kenya, Subaru has always been a more popular brand not just among car guys, the general population too. My grandfather drove me around in his 1966 Subaru 1000 for most of my childhood and that’s just my story…there is plenty to go around. Among car lovers, the WRX/STI and Mitsubishi Evolution models have always been popular, but the rise of the VW Golf GTI & R is now more evident than ever and they are easily surpassing the numbers of the other 2.
South Africa: Golf GTI/R/BMW M
RHD territory, SA has always been known for their love of VW. The Golf GTI and R are as popular here as they are back in Germany. BMW culture here needs no introduction either, especially since there is a local BMW plant, the BMW Group Plant Rosslyn which has been producing cars since the 60s. The BMW 325 iS was particularly popular, nicknamed Gusheshe. In today’s BMW car scene however, we found out that most car lovers will go for a BMW M135i/40i or an M4, those two are popular.
Our friend Matthew Kanniah adds: “It’s very diverse, big divide between the rich and middle class for sure. Supercar owners are big here with tons of bragging rights. Lots of exclusive and rare cars here. VAG culture is mostly the 7 GTi and 7R, rarely but some of the 6s. Lots of Polo GTi too. Audi S3 and RS3 for those with a bit of bucks to spend. For BMW it’s the hatch M135/140, M235i/240. And boys with money will run modified N55 M2s, S55 M3/4 and the occasional F and G series M5/6. There’s a huge underground Jap culture here. Lots of the Skyline, Supra and RX7 guys that don’t like to be exposed or known.”
Algeria: BMW E30
Algeria has very high taxes and even though it is a LHD territory, they don’t enjoy the same importation freedom as West Africa. BMW is popular, especially E30 and E36. JDM cars are very rare, French cars are common too. My contact @Gringov06 on Twitter tells me that the The Land Cruiser FJ40 has been banned due to it being used by drug/weapon traffickers.
He adds: “In Algeria german cars are the most popular ones (BMW and VW mainly), followed by french cars, because we used to be a french colony. Algerians like their cars to be fully loaded. Dealerships of premium brands only sell very high specced cars with all the features.”
Are you noticing a trend here? Too much BMW love in Africa, it just gets deeper. We had Car Guy Tonio do a write up on the culture here:
The Nigerian car culture development has had two peaks, first peak was sometime in the 60s through the 80s with European cars such as the Citroen DS, the Peugeot 504, Mercedes Benz 280SE seating at the top. Then there was a gradual shift in the population’s preference to Japanese cars sometime from the 90s and 2000s and with that change came the downfall of the car culture as every other person wanted to save fuel with the Toyotas.
The culture began picking up around 2009 with drift events organized by Darkknight Motorsport in the capital city – Abuja and by 2015, there were shows all over the country most especially in Lagos – the commercial centre and the most populous city with 20 million residents and Edo state which set itself as the motorsport centre with the first purpose built race track in the country located in a community called Evbuobanosa. Every November, the Motorsport Raceway Evbuobanosa holds the biggest motorsport races in West Africa with bike, E30 RoadX and Supercar categories. Some people have attributed the usage of E30s in the RoadX Category to the sudden spike of used E30s prices in the country.
Most of the popular cars however are located either in Lagos or Abuja. In Lagos, there are more Mercedes-Benz owners but most only drive Mercedes (C300s, E350s etc) because of the nameplate (prestige) and not necessarily because they love the brand so they are never considered in the equation. However, we have the never ending online “disagreements” between Mercedes-Benz fanboys and BMW fanboys.
The biggest show in Lagos is organized by the BMW Club Nigeria, usually two events per year including a car show and a supercar drag race. The supercar drag race is where you see all the supercars you can think of from Ferraris to the Lamborghini Huracan, Rolls Royce Phantoms and Ghosts, Ford Mustangs, Challengers, and of course BMW Ms and Mercedes-AMGs fighting for supremacy.
Some of the popular BMWs and their owners are as follows: “Eric CDA Africa Parts” who owns the most popular BMW in the country – a pristine 1980s BMW E30 M3 with the “ELDER M’ number plate. His brother “Ikemz BMW” also a diehard member of the BMW Club owns a 2011 BMW F10 5 series. “Oyinbo Nigerian” is known for driving a BMW M4 with the number plate “Thanos”; Thanos was true to its name in the last autofest as it trumped all Mercedes competitors including the AMG E63s, we also have “Harold N” with a beautiful BMW X6M with the number plate “Zeus” which is known for achieving insane speeds and surpassing all bikes at the 2016 Motorsport Festival in Edo state. Up north in Abuja, the capital city, the most popular owners are “Dry Arab” with a BMW E92 M3 and a W205 C63 AMG and “MSD” with 2 M3s, W205 C63 RENNtech and a BMW F10 M5. The most popular Owner in the country would be Eric CDA Africa Parts with his BMW E30 M3 from the 80s.
Written By: Oluwakorede Adejoro (Car Guy Tonio)
Founder of Carvolution Nigeria Limited (Motoring Nigeria)
Tanzania: 2JZ Nation
TZ is very much like Kenya and Uganda, where there is a significant amount of Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Evo. And this is because these 3 countries have a strong rallying heritage dating back in the 90s at a time when Subaru and Mitsubishi were at the helm of the sport both regionally and internationally. TZ has however taken a very different route by popularizing 1JZ and 2JZ swaps. These are very common among RWD Toyota models, coupes or sedans.
According to local man Kalasinga_ “The most popular cars in TZ are the 1JZGTE and 2JZGTE powered Toyota Altezzas, Toyota Chasers, Toyota Aristos/Lexus IS300, Toyota Mark 2. And also Subaru STis and Evos”
Uganda: Subaru WRX/STI
Uganda is also a Subaru territory, and the majority of car lovers here will go for a WRX or STI. There is also a notable Lancer Evo community. Uganda enjoys comfortable import laws with minimal age restrictions on imported cars. This makes it easier to source older Japanese sports cars.
Morocco has a diverse car culture which is very similar to that of Middle Eastern countries. The gap between the upper and middle classes is evident on the streets where you will find supercars ranging from Ferrari 488s to McLaren 650S and 720S; and occasionally a hypercar like a Bugatti Veyron or a Chiron. There is a huge motorsport presence, your average car lover will spare a notable amount of time for the track. The cars include sport hatches or sport compacts including AMGs, Audi RS models, BMW M models and road cars based on Touring racecars.
Like Morocco, Egypt has two major groups; the one with supercars and the one with regular sports cars including sports hatches, M cars, AMG cars and rally/touring based road cars. The tuning culture is also big, with regular motorsport activities topping it off.
Another North African country with plenty to offer. Have personally done business here and their car culture is no different from Egypt or Morocco. Luxury car buyers are on the rise, fully optioned cars on the high end purchases is the key trend here. Other than that, the culture of road based Touring racecars is common here too with regular motorsport events around the year.
Located on the west coast of Southern Africa, expect to find a culture that mirrors that of SA in one way or another. There is notable VAG activity here, Golf GTIs mainly and BMWs ranging from M-Performance models to M models like the M4. A few others include the models like the Lexus RC F, Audi R8 and select AMG models.
Similar to the countries of the Southern Africa region, VAG following and culture is big here in Namibia. There are quite a number of Golf 7 GTIs and 7 Rs going around. From there on you will find a large BMW community of M cars, and there rest repeats itself: AMGs, Audi RS models, Porsche cars and more.
Island in the Indian ocean and a paradise destination to many, but did you know the car culture here is bigger than most countries in Africa? Well there is a lot of tourism money going around, combine that with car fanaticism and you have a tasty car culture. The motorsport scene has tarmac events mainly composed of JDM cars (Lancer Evos, Hondas, Subaru STIs etc) while your luxury car scene has everything from BMW M4, M850i, some Ferraris, Aston Martins, Audi R8 and so on. Next time you book your vacation to Mauritius, spare some time to enjoy their local car scene.
Botswana: Little JDM Hideout
This one was a surprise, we expected a lot of VAG activity just like the rest of Southern Africa and while that is still present, it was the JDM culture that caught us by surprise. The import scene here is impressive; they even have a dedicated show for it. You will find anything from Skyline R33s to R34s, Supras and of course the likes of Lancer Evos and Subaru WRX STIs. That said, expect to see a lot of Golf GTIs or R as they are plenty here too. Audi S and RS models are also popular which is in line with the culture down south.
This is also another import scene hidden down south, there is a lot of drifting activity in the local motorsport scene. That means a lot of import cars including but not limited to Mazda RX7s, Skyline GT-Rs, Silvia S14/15s and more.
Interesting mix of cars here, the culture in Zambia has a bit of Southern and Eastern Africa style in it. Several R34 GT-Rs lead the import scene, Nissan Silvias, 1/2JZ swaps, Golf GTIs and Rs, BMW M Performance models and a good Subaru following too. Rallying activity is significant here too when it comes to motorsport.
We found a JDM following in Zim, their motorsport scene is fairly active as well including drags and rallying.
Photos by: crew_zw
The culture in Libya is similar to that of most Middle Eastern countries. There is a huge gap in the social classes but be sure to spot a lot of luxury cars driving around. The Lexus LX570 is popular, American cars and German luxury cars to name a few. The Golf GTI/R is popular among the youth.
Photos by: most_powerful_cars_in_libya
A small island, popular tourist destination and a JDM paradise hidden in the Indian ocean. There are quite a number of Subaru WXR/STI from Bug eyes to Raptor eyes, Lancer Evos and a good Honda Civic following. You will also find all the popular 90s JDM cars here; Celicas, Levins, Integras and so on.
Photos by: seychellesmodifiedcars
BMW territory in Rwanda, and even though it’s still a young scene in terms of cars, our source tells us you will find 4.8 X5s, 330is, and others like the E63 650i Coupe. The BMW Club was kind to send these photos to us, taken at a previous motor show.
Additional photos via cars_of_rwanda
The following countries will be updated soon as enough information is received.
Didn’t find a lot to go with about Sudan, there are a lot of desert sports here and Land Cruisers and other 4×4 are plenty.
Photos by: sudan_master_cars
Nothing much on Ethiopia either. We do know however the VW Beetle culture is very strong here, there is a lot of restoration for these models going on and they are popular among the youth.
Not much here but we bet you will find a lot of Dakar Rally inspired activities. We did come across an active classic and vintage car club mainly made up of Citroen owners.
Photos by: df_prestige
There should be a good amount of car lovers from here as well, we will update soon.
Photos by: supercarscameroon
Landlocked country in West Africa, this is what we could find. American cars are popular especially Camaros and Mustangs.
Photos via bamacars
Also a West African country, very active in rallying and you will find a significant amount of car activity here. This is what we could find.
While we couldn’t find a specific model or car club that represents the car scene in Congo, we did find a few photos of the luxury car scene.
Photos via topcongocars