Toyota, Mercedes, L’Rover battle for luxury SUV crown

luxury Sport Utility Vehicle

The contest for outstanding new vehicles of the year has commenced among dominant auto brands in Nigeria as organisers of the annual event have shortlisted a number products for honour despite biting economic crunch that has drastically reduced the purchasing power of people and companies, translating into low vehicle sales.

Toyota Land Cruiser, Range Rover Autobiography and Mercedes Benz G-Class are slugging it out in the luxury Sport Utility Vehicle category, according to a statement by Naja, the event handlers.

Indeed, the atmosphere for the auto brands of the year is getting electrifying with the selection of Kia Rio, Nissan Almeria and Peugeot 301 Mid life as contenders for the coveted car of the year award; while Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200 are the nominees in the pickup category.

Like in the car of the year category, analysts say it will not be a straight win in the luxury SUV segment; they note that the three nominated vehicles have individually enjoyed considerable patronage and popularity among fans of luxury brands in the country.

The selection of the Toyota Land Cruiser this year may have nothing to do with the recent record of a modified Toyota Land Cruiser that emerged as the world’s fastest SUV with a blistering run of a 370km per hour mark; the vehicle has consistently made the final shortlist over the years and won the award last year.

The 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser is a full-size premium three-row SUV offered with standard four-wheel-drive, with seating for eight passengers.

For the Range Rover Autobiography, it is said to be a blend of refinement and performance and the maker says it is one of the best among recognised luxury cars on sale.

Mercedes says the 38-year evolution of the G-Class keeps elevating the pinnacle of refinement and that the 2017 edition has been created to conquer challenges on six continents.

It says from its advanced lighting to its classic upright shape, the vehicle’s purposeful elegance is both unmistakable and irrefutable, adding, “Every surface of the G-Class reflects its confident capability on any surface of the earth.”

For the luxury car of the year, the contest is among BMW 7-Series, Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes Benz Mayback.

Some auto personalities that are driving the products including the Chairman of Toyota Nigeria Limited, Chief Michael Ade Ojo, have also been selected for recognition during the event holding in Lagos on December 12,2017, according to a statement signed by the Chairman of Naja, Mr. Frank Kintum. Ade Ojo, he added, would be honoured with the icon of the auto industry in Nigeria.

The Peugeot’s assembly plant in Kaduna, the Lagos-based VON auto plant owned by Stallion Autos and Innoson vehicle plant in Nnewi are the three nominees for the auto plant group. While Massilia showroom in Victoria Island (Lagos), Mercedes-Benz Centre, Lekki and Coscharis Showroom at Awoyaya (Lekki-Epe Expressway) are under consideration for the showroom of the year.

Elizade – Toyota, Dana – Kia and Stallion – Nissan are listed as nominees under auto workshop of the year; while in the tyre brand category, Michelin, Dunlop and Pirelli have been shortlisted.

For the corporate social responsible category, Naja gave the nominated companies as the Nigerian Breweries Plc, Bolous Enterprises, Coscharis Ford and Guinness Nigeria Plc.


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