There are indications that Mikano Motors and Chinese automobile manufacturer, Geely, may part ways in less than three years of business relationship.
Mikano Motors, an automobile arm of Mikano International, revived Geely’s presence in the Nigerian market in 2020 with the dual launch of the Geely EC7 Sedan and Geely X7 Crossover in 2020. It was followed by other Geely brands including Azkarra and Coolray.
But three years later, the relationship seems to be hitting the rock over the decision of Mikano Motors to delve into other brands, especially the Changan, which Mikano Motors recently took the distributorship.
Geely is said to be uncomfortable with Mikano Motors’ switch to Changan, another renowned manufacturer also from China, triggering the present cold war which has seen Mikano not importing any Geely brand in one year.
At the moment, Geely is said to be sourcing for a new sole distributor in Nigeria.
Managing Director of Mikano Motors, Mr Ralph Haidar, who provided an insight into the relationship with Geely stated that the auto manufacturer wanted Mikano to solely represent the Geely brands without adding other brands.
According to him, this would be against its business interest and vision of expanding in the automotive market through the sale and distribution of different brands and models of vehicles.
In a chat with Motoring Reporters at the weekend, the MD disclosed that while Geely is offering five brands, Changan on the other hand gives the company access to as many as 25 brands with 15 brands currently on display.
Daily Trust reports that Mikano in February 2023 unveiled the Changan brands as the exclusive distributor in addition to Geely, Maxus, and ZNA pick-ups in its portfolio.
The Changan brands unveiled include CS15, CS35 Plus, CS55, CS85, Eado DT, and Eado Plus, among others.
Haidar explained that Mikano has nothing against Geely but its decision to add Changan brands to its portfolio is irreversible given the fact that Changan offers wider varieties.
He however said if Geely changes its position today, it would continue to distribute Geely brands, adding that the over three decades old reputation built by Mikano International in the Nigerian market had helped in convincing motorists to accept the Chinese auto brands.
Despite the issue with Geely, Haidar said Mikano has continued to be responsible with their customers in terms of providing the right after-sale support, including covering areas not in the warranty to give maximum satisfaction to the customers.
He said, “We have been in the country for the past 30 years. We are very responsible towards our customers. The issue with Geely has been dragging on since July or August 2022 and you know that we have not been importing any of their products but I have been catering to the after-sale of our Geely customers for the past year despite fighting.
“It is like you are fighting with the mother of your children but the children should not bear the consequences of the fight. That is what we have done so far. Whatever is going on between us and Geely on negotiation and others, our customers must not bear any consequence of that. They should get the best because they trusted us and we are there to give them the best experience we can.”
He added that there is nothing wrong with a brand leaving a distributor and going into another, and the same thing has happened with Toyota and so many brands in the market.
Explaining why Mikano brought Changan brands, he said, “I brought Changan because I was not satisfied with the number of models that are coming to me from Geely and there is no pick-up truck, no commercial line-up from Geely. Now I have Changan on board which gives me 25 models including electric vehicles.