After years of purchasing cars outside the continent, the trend has changed as some local engineers have taken advantage of technological advancements to venture into the car manufacturing business and Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) in Uganda’s Makerere University is a testimony to that. African automobile manufacturers are refusing to be left out in the automotive industry.
The company was founded by a group of students and staff of Makerere University after they partook in the Vehicle Design Summit (VDS 2.0) organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2007. At the end of the summit, they successfully helped design and build the Vision 200; an environmentally friendly 5-seater plug-in hybrid electric vehicle which was unveiled in 2008.
Being a part of a team that achieved such an incredible feat propelled and motivated the Makerere University team to aim at revolutionizing the automotive industry in Uganda by developing eco-friendly vehicles.
The team then went ahead to successfully develop and unveil Uganda’s first car, the Kiira EV, in 2011 with support from the Government of Uganda for Innovation Projects at the university.
In 2014, KMC officially became a company owned by the Ugandan government alongside Makerere University. Looking at expanding and producing eco-friendly vehicles for the market, the government also granted them 100 acres of land for the establishment of a vehicle plant, according to their website.
So far, KMC has designed and built three concept vehicles which are the first of their kinds in Africa.