Unveiling Africa’s Own Car Maker in the Heart of Ghana
Ghana may not be the first country which springs to mind when thinking about vehicle manufacturing, but it does have its own car maker: Kantanka Automobile, in establishment since 1994.
According to the company’s website, Kantanka was founded by a preacher named Kwadwo Safo Kantanka for the “research into the manufacturing of automotive components and their combination with other parts outsourced from component suppliers.”
It says it built its first vehicle from 75 per cent locally-manufactured components – including the engine block – in 1998, and claims to design its own cars.
However all of its models appear to be rebadged and lightly-restyled versions of cars from little-known Chinese car makers.
For example, the Onantefo – launched in 2006 and still on sale today – is based on the Foday Landfort, while the Omama ute (above) is based on the Foday Lion F22.
There are five specifications of the Omama, from the range-topping Omama Luxury with a 2.5-litre turbo diesel engine that makes 100kW/340Nm, to the entry-level Omama Hardbody with a 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine and a body which is described as “durable”.
In both utes, the engine is paired with four-wheel drive and either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
Kantanka Automobile also builds electric vehicles – including a city car known as the Amoanimah EV.
It appears to be powered by a small cluster of batteries under the bonnet – which may not use modern lithium-ion technology – rather than the under-floor, long-range battery packs of electric vehicles made by large brands.
Other electric vehicles manufactured by Kantanka reportedly use between six and 16 batteries.
A solar-powered electric vehicle concept was once shown off by the company, although it’s unknown as to whether this model made it into production.
Kantanka has also shown a radical-looking two-seat sports car called the Akofena, which is described as a “luxury sports car”.