Just as Hyundai cars were mocked years ago…

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You know Hyundai; right? The automobile brand. Good. Some of you reading this will not be old enough to remember Hyundai’s first foray into Nigeria. But I do. I remember the Hyundai Excel and the tagline that it was marketed with – “Cars that make sense”. The Excel was in our faces on TV, radio and everywhere possible, and early adopters purchased them. But the Korean brand suffered some damage later, as people complained that their cars were not on the same level of quality as the more popular French and Japanese models that Nigerians lived and swore by. Nigerians flocked back to their Peugeots, Toyotas and Nissans.

Fast forward to 2013, and it looks like aliens have since visited Nigeria, abducted people and wiped their memories. Hyundai cars are everywhere. Many of those who swore that they would never drive one, much less spend ten kobo of their money on them have since spent and are now brand evangelists for the Korean brand. I remember when I purchased my 2008 model Accent. It had just been released in the market and my brand new model was delivered to my residence. Some acquaintances queried my decision to buy a Hyundai instead of a Toyota or Honda. Though I smiled and bantered on the surface, in my mind I told them not to enter my car if they didn’t like it. My Accent has clocked five years in active service now and has given me no problems. Apart from replacing the tyres, the only other thing that has been replaced in that car is the fuel pump which was damaged by adulterated fuel some years ago. From a brand that was looked upon with suspicion many years back, today Hyundai makes cars that are trendy in looks and reliable in performance.

Watch the mobile space. The same way that the Hyundai Excel was popular in the low end of the market, we see new mobile brands that are popular in the low end market as well today. Like the Excel, some of them may not be top notch products. But anyone who underestimates the power of the low end market is in for a rude shock. These new mobile brands addressing the needs of the low end market – should they persevere and keep improving – will someday become household names. Some day, people will live and swear by these brands. We will find our family members, colleagues, even bosses using these brands – and it will be hip and cool.

I am no prophet, but I can tell you these things and they will be so. Mocked today; celebrated tomorrow.


  1. well, there was a time when Japanese brands were.mocked too. “who go buy Japanese”?

    this reminds me of a heated conversation I heard with a CAR enthusiast about keeping an open mind on brands.

    He thinks it sacrilegious that I would buy 2 Kia Rios for.the.price of one “loaded” Toyota Corollas.

    different people, different realities.

    Yes, it is.wise.to pay for what you get, and not just reputation / brand.

  2. I never use to be a fan of this product. But I was amazed when I drove the elentra 4years ago. OMG! What manner of car is this? I shouted! The engine runs smooth, the stability on ground is second to none… When u really want to look at it with its class… U can’t put it side by side the corrola and the civic. They are not mates. As I saw the corolla as a waste of money.
    I could put the elantra side by side with the Camry and it will give same performance. It would only out class the Elantra if its a V6 engine.
    I went ahead to drive their flagship – the Sonata 2012 – OMG – toyota is just noise and over hyped. And that has clouded our judgement.

    What I believe is that they just haven’t gotten into the market just as much as Toyotas and hondas, but when they do, they will sweep them aside just they(toyota and honda) did to Benz and BMW.

  3. Technology has its own phase, in consumer electronics(tv,radio etc) philip rules later d japanese brands like sony,panasonic,sharp etc later the koreaNs like lg,samsung. For phones it was American motorola, then the almighty Nokia that the world all over taught nobody could conquer, then a small insignificant company name RIM(blackberry), the d Apple changed the landscape and Android (for the asians to feast with their devices as OEMs). For caRs just leave it JapAnese and Koreans their cars are damn reliable, I have a toyota that is 24yrs(toyota camry)that’s still very sharp but dull to drive but reliable than any car I have driven in my life, this is because nothing has be changed on the car just tyres and a radiator change not even the plug has been changed. Technology will continue to evolve and mind you we don’t even know what our kids will invent or cause to invent. Thanks Mo keep the flag flying

  4. Tecno killed Nokia from the Bottom, and now is attempting to take on Samsung.But if only Tecno knows! Watch your back,for Gionee, Infinix , THL etal are in the dark corners breathing on Tecno. In these cases the consumers are the Winners!

  5. You are right there Mr Mo. It’s all about the bottom of the pyramid. To succeed in Nigeria as a brand, you must capture the low-end market.

    It’s been proven over and over again.

  6. Yeah, one of the Chinese mobile brand catering for the low-end market has already stepped it up a notch with the introduction of their Android devices with midrange specs and affordable price too and already one particular big sized one had become so popular that their initial import dried up so quickly in the market. Naturally, Tecno N7 would have dropped in price by now, but because of its huge popularity, it is even tending to increase in price.

    The sequel, Tecno Phantom F7 (also A1) resembles the Samsung Galaxy S4 and also upped the specs significantly and already attracting a huge following even though it is not widely available (and I think not even launched officially in the country yet). And there are the other new entrants like Infinix, Be and others who are making sure that Tecno keep working hard so they don’t lose their popularity.

    Yeah, even Samsung and LG where also mocked at a point in the electronics market in this part of the world, but certainly not anymore.

  7. If it is not Toyota, it can’t be like Toyota. If it is not BMW, it can’t be like BMW. Yes, Hyundai and Kia brands are good today and people buy them, but they still don’t belong in the class of most valuable brands like Toyota, BMW, Honda, Benz, etc. The fact that more folks buy the Hyundais of this world don’t necessarily make them rank in worth as the first-class brands. In our emerging markets economy side of the world, mass affordability is main reason any second-line alternative brand would sell – not because they are of exact same high quality as the first-class brands.
    The same principle applies in the mobile phones market.
    I played with Techno N7 at Revive Store at Computer Village the other day and the experience was not as smooth as one would get on a Galaxy Note, the phablet Techno N7 is benchmarking in SIZE. Screen resolution is comparably very poor, its touch screen feels more like a resistive one than capacitive. Camera and picture quality is nothing to write home about. And Techno N7 UI is at most very pedestrian and uninspiring.
    Yes, Techno is selling everywhere in Nigeria more because of their LOW, DIRT CHEAP pricing. This does not, however, mean their brands can’t improve and measure up to premium quality standards in the future. There is always room for improvement for any brand, and the sky is big enough for every bird to fly in. But not every bird will be an Eagle. It’s the reason, despite relentless onslaught by Samsung, HTC, Nokia, BlackBerry, LG and co, iPhone is still considered and ranked the premium flag bearer of smartphone planet.

  8. // In our emerging markets economy side of the world, mass affordability is main reason any second-line alternative brand would sell – not because they are of exact same high quality as the first-class brands.//

    this post is not about cars, but you would do well to . get up to date and stop living in the past.

    the kia and Hyundai of today’are as good as the Hondas and Toyotas.

    Google is your friend.

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