AutoChek, a company set up by Etop Ikpe, former CEO of Cars45, has acquired Cheki’s holdings in Nigeria and Ghana.
Prior to the acquisition, Cheki, a vehicles’ marketplace, was owned by Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM). The new platform is expected to relaunch before the end of the year.
The story first reported by AimsGroup and confirmed to BusinessDay by Etop Ikpe noted that AutoCheck plans to use technology to transform the automotive buying and selling experience for African consumers, by creating a single marketplace for consumers’ automotive needs, from sourcing and financing to after-sales support and warranties.
Ikpe told BusinessDay that the move for Cheki aligns with its vision to address obvious lapses in the automotive industry. One of the lapses comes from the fragmentation of the industry which he says is responsible for the gaps in car owners in Nigeria. By dealing with this fragmentation, countries like India are able to scale and contribute significantly to the country’s economy.
In India, the manufacturing of the automotive sector alone contributes 30 million jobs. 35 percent of manufacturing GDP in India comes from the automotive industry.
“If you trace it back, you find out that in the 1970s Nigeria was manufacturing over 300,000 vehicles. We had Range Rover, Leyland, automotive factories were manufacturing batteries, windscreens, and wipers. And you begin to question and say “What happened?” this is a sector that provided a lot of value and technical competence. What has happened?”
For most Nigerians, a big obstacle is an access to car financing. Currently, only one percent of people who bought their car did so through credit for financial institutions. This is not for lack of capacity on the part of the banks to finance vehicles. Ikpe says it is largely because the banks are too busy running every process of the financing. This only complicates the process and makes it even more impossible for many more people to buy cars.
Another obstacle is the lack of maintenance support and not much is achieved without efficient car maintenance.
“These are the sectors that we are aiming to solve. If we can bring all these sectors together, then people can have a better buying experience. People cannot finance a car if they do not have a guarantee that the car they are spending money on is going to be maintained not by road-side mechanics who depreciate the car,” he said.
Following the acquisition, ROAM, the parent company of Cheki has since transferred ownership and operational control to Autochek. I the coming weeks, all Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana outlets will be rebranded under the Autochek umbrella. Autochek would also absorb Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana teams, including its current CEO, Chimezie Okonkwo.