Out of Africa: Pickup Trucks and SUVsMay 11th, 2015 by David Beran
When most people think of 4×4 production plants, places like Detroit and Toledo spring to mind. Even Audi’s hometown of Ingolstadt, Germany and cities in Japan could be on the short list. It’s time to add Ghana to that list.
African Kantanka Automobile Company is producing three different SUVs and four pickups at their Gomoa Mpota assembling plant. The Kantanka brand went commercial earlier this year and is described as the most promising one emerging from Africa.
It’s the brainchild of Kantanka Group founder and owner Dr. Kwadwo Safo, a gifted visionary who comes up with the 4×4 designs before they’re produced. Throw in Safari all-terrain tires and bull bars and you’re ready to roll.
The sophisticated, year-old plant imports some of the parts and partially automates the processes of assembling vehicles. It has five different sections where welding, chemical application, washing and spraying, general assembling and testing processes are performed. Assurances from the African government that they would publicize and promote the company have not materialized, but this isn’t slowing down production, which is currently rolling out around 20 vehicles daily. Future plans call for sales services to be added as well.
The first four-wheel drive vehicle manufactured by the company was the Kantanka Onantefo I. Traditionally, locals are dubious of vehicles produced in Ghana, but the plant had a logical remedy. Before hitting the open market, the workers test drove the trucks and SUVs themselves to ensure they were durable and safe for on and off-roading. Ghanaian celebrities were recruited to conduct more test drives and the 4x4s passed with flying colors.
The challenge of selling the 4x4s in Africa is intensified by economic conditions and issues of affordability. Typically, people who need 4x4s invest in more affordable, used vehicles. Hilux pickups, Range Rovers, Defenders, Land Cruisers and Jeeps are the go-to brands favored by locals. The joint venture the Kantanka Automobile Company has with China also draws the ire of Africans seeking true economic independence and autonomy.
About the Author: David Beran
As a professional inkspiller living in Los Angeles, I’ve written in industries ranging from entertainment to employment to automotive. Terrain I cover includes off-road events and races, budget builds, custom mods, EVs and the latest innovations in aftermarket 4x4 parts. I’m always eager to learn about new trends in 4x4s and my motto is “go off-road or go home.” Google+ is the destination for my dispatches: https://plus.google.com/+DavidBeran/posts.