Made-In-Nigeria Automobile Industry and Public Relations Actions: An Examination of Public Awareness and Perception

Abstract :

Nigeria’s automotive policy aimed to turn out locally produced vehicles for public purchase and usage. However, haemorrhaging importation of automobiles retains the policy as a dream rather than reality. This study examined the public relations angle of the Made-in-Nigeria auto conversation. Specifically, it surveyed public awareness and perception of corporate activities within the country’s auto industry. It also assessed the level and implications of extant public relations strategies towards creating mutual understanding, trust and goodwill between assemblers and the motoring public. Built on the theoretical framework of Grunig’s Two-way Symmetrical public relations model, stratified sampling technique was adopted using the survey design. We used a questionnaire to gather public opinions of residents of Lagos metropolis. Findings show that the awareness level of PR actions in the indigenous auto industry is low, with a significant percentage of respondents expressing a negative perception of the industry. The study concluded that despite the government's imposition of restraining tariffs on imported vehicles, docile public relations of local manufacturers had not helped the public to accept indigenous automobiles patriotically. The study recommended that Nigerian automobile manufacturers should outsource their PR programmes and undertake engaging productions of motoring documentaries. Moreover, the organisations should create public acceptance advocacy for locally assembled vehicles.