Izuogu Z-600: The First Nigerian-Made Car that never was

Before the widely known IVM motors came into existence today, a brilliant Electrical Engineer and Lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu designed and developed a prototype of what was the very first African indigenous manufactured car, known as the Izuogu Z-600.

Launched in 1997, the car caused a stir in the Nigerian media, with BBC describing the car as  “the African dream machine” as 90% of its parts were sourced locally.


Design and specification

The prototype was equipped with an independent 1.8L four-cylinder engine that got 18mpg and allowed the car to achieve a top speed of 140 km/h (86 mph). Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) was chosen over Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) in light of the fact that a transmission tunnel, which RWD would require, would be increasingly costly to manufacture. 90% of the vehicle's parts were made locally. 


The plan of the vehicle was exceptionally utilitarian taking after a Renault 4 with its upstanding position and a front end that has similarities with the locally assembled Peugeot 504. 


To be estimated at $2000 it would have been the least expensive vehicle on the planet. Shrewd highlights like a doorbell utilized instead of a horn guarantee it accomplishes its low-value target.

With large-scale production planned under Izuogu motors located in Naze, Imo state,  the prospects of an industrial revolution in Igbo land and Nigeria, was in the making.


The then Head of State, General Sani Abacha, set up a 12-man to ascertain the roadworthiness and authenticity of the car.  The committee later gave Dr. Izuogu’s car a clean bill of health.


FanFare and other African countries’ interests

At a well-organized unveiling ceremony which had General Abacha represented by Oladipo Diya, over 20 foreign ambassadors, and thousands of people in attendance, the federal government promised a grant of 235 million nairas to Dr. Izuogu. This promise was never fulfilled by the FG.


In 2005 interest from other African countries arose about the Z-600 and Dr. Izuogu was invited to South Africa to give a speech on science and technology. The South African government showed keen interest in the car and wanted Izuogu to build it in South Africa.  They invited him to set up a plant in South Africa and begin the mass production of the car. Izuogu reluctantly agreed. According to him, he didn’t like the idea that Nigerians will not benefit from the employment the project will generate.

The car held hopes of everyone high until March 11, 2006, no fewer than 12 heavily armed men raided the factory of Izuogu Motors in Naze and made away with the molds for the engine blocks and crankshaft, mudguards, the design history notebook of Z-600, the design file; Z-MASS (containing the design history for mass production of the Z-600 car) and other components. This was a big setback for the project. 

Since then not much is known about the status of the car.


Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu is currently involved in the design and development of the emagnetodynamics car engine or the “Izuogu Engine” by the World  International Property Organisation.

Posted on June 2020,29  //  Author: Admin