Porsche targets rich Nigerians' love for luxury

Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:01pm EDT
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By Tim Cocks

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria's super rich are no strangers to conspicuous consumption, and there's no better way to flaunt your wealth than by buying a brand new European sports car.

German carmaker Porsche officially opened a new car dealership on Friday in the heart of Lagos' wealthiest district, Victoria Island, a place with one of the world's highest concentrations of millionaires.

There are already dealerships specializing in Aston Martin and Lamborghini, but Porsche hopes to capitalize on a promise of providing sturdier vehicles that can cope with Nigeria's rough roads. Its presence is being seen as a vote of confidence in the West African nation's fast-growing economy.

Porsche also plans to set up an operation in the capital Abuja, where roads are newly built - a better market for the 911 sports model - and where politicians are amongst the world's most highly paid.

"The African continent, and in particular Nigeria, is of growing importance to us at Porsche," the company's Middle East and Africa head George Wills said, unveiling the new 911 model.

High-end goods producers are increasingly targeting sub-Saharan Africa, as its economic growth starts to dwarf other continents and rich Western countries face a slowdown.

Nigeria, Africa's second biggest economy, grew 7.68 percent in the last quarter of 2011, one of the fastest in the world.

Two of Africa's top five richest men are Nigerian.   Continued...

A visitor sits in a Porsche Boxter Cabriolet model car displayed on the car maker's booth during the first media day of the Geneva Auto Show at the Palexpo in Geneva, March 6, 2012. The Geneva Auto Show will take place from March 8 to 18, 2012. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud