By Segun Kadiri
The recent entry of Stallion group into the three-wheeler mobility business (keke), took a lot of industry watchers by surprise.
Though some have reasoned that the dwindling auto market business may have forced Stallion which controls about 45% market share of the new auto business in Nigeria, to embrace the three-wheeler business, the company insist that the new development is its way of identifying with more Nigerians who use tricycles.
Hitherto, the key players in the business were the Simba group, representing TVS tricycles and motorcycles, and Dag Industries Nigeria Limited, representing Bajaj tricycles and motorcycles.
But the entry of Stallion has seen the conglomerate taking over the franchise for Bajaj three-wheelers and four-wheelers from Dag, leaving it with only the franchise for motorcycles.
Though there are other players in the three-wheeler business in Nigeria like Piaggo etc, the reality on the ground now is that the market is to be mainly dominated by Stallion Bajaj and Simba TVS.
Ever since Stallion announced its entry to the three-wheeler market, it has gone all out to tell the world that it means business.
Though industry watchers welcome the development and envisage a healthy competition between these two, unfolding events show that Simba has been jolted because of the entry of Stallion.
Reasons may not be unconnected with the fact that the personnel (some coming from Simba) making up the Stallion Keke company are very sound hands and that Stallion already has a pedigree in mobility business as well as a broad business chest.
Also, there is a marked difference between Dag and Stallion, as the later is by far bigger and stronger with a nationwide network. What this implies is that the gigantic market share hitherto enjoyed by TVS may sooner than later be threatened because of the entry of Stallion.
Another development that may have jolted Simba is the unveiling of the first-ever Keke rally in Nigeria by Stallion, in which the company subjected five Bajaj motorcycles on a rally across some states in Nigeria. This has never happened before in Nigeria.
Not to be seen as folding its arms, Simba recently unveiled an ambassador for the TVS brand.
At a ceremony held at the Simba TVS motorcycle and tricycle plant at Ogba, Ikeja, Football star, Kanu Nwankwo, was unveiled as an ambassador for Simba TVS tricycle, motorcycle and power bike Sector.
The Olympic gold medal-winning Nigerian Dream Team captain said: “I am extremely happy to be associated with Simba TVS.
I know the company and have seen their contributions to both the development of the motorcycle and tricycle sector and especially their empowerment programme for dealers, customers and riders who patronise their products.
While endorsing Simba’s products, the soccer legend said: “I have the singular honour and privilege of recommending their products- the TVS King tricycle, the HLX+ motorcycle and the Apache Power Bike, first and foremost because of their quality and as well for their after-sales service policy demonstrated in their Workshops spread all over Nigeria”.
Group Head of Marketing, Simba Group, Karthik Govindarajan, said Simba’s association with Kanu Nwankwo represents one more step in the group’s on-going efforts aimed at deepening their relationship with Nigerian football.
However, industry watchers have expressed reservations about the choice of Kanu Nwankwo, as well as the timing of the unveiling.
Simba Industries Limited is a multi-sectoral player in the Nigerian economy, involved in consumer goods, power, mobility etc.
Meanwhile, receiving the team that went on the Keke nationwide rally, Stallion groups says, the feat was a testimony that the Bajaj tricycles are rugged and can withstand endurance test.
The rally that kicked off on August 7 from the Stallion Auto Keke – Ijesha, Lagos showroom completed a tough terrain of 5594 kilometres through 27 cities and 18 states in the West, East and North Central in less than 41 days.
It consisted of a team of five experienced riders and the Stallion Bajaj officials and security agents. Collectively the convoy covered more than 26000 Kms without any product issues.
Managing Director for the business, Mr. Manish Rohtagi stated that “The Keke Rally really boasts on how the New Baba Bajaj is tough, strong, reliable, and well equipped for the Nigerian roads. Having covered almost more than 5000 kms, the Kekes did not face any performance or maintenance challenges.
“It kept its brand promise of “Runs Faster, Lasts Longer” through every rider who was a part of this rally.”
As both companies battle for market share, it is expected that key issues like provision of seamless after-sales services, genuine spare parts, financing, training etc will play key roles in ultimately determining the new market leader.