The first Ford Ranger truck to be rolled out of Coscharis’s assembly plant in Ikeja, Lagos was unveiled on Monday by Mr. Jeff Nemeth, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company, Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Nemeth said the Ikeja plant would accommodate one shift and would produce an initial 10 units per day for the Nigerian market, creating approximately 180 direct and indirect jobs.
In 2013, Innoson Motors, an indigenous company, unveiled new brands of vehicles, building on local assembly successes by Hyundai and Nissan.
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited founded by Nigerian industrialist, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, unveiled its new cars – IVM Umu, IVM Umu and IVM Uzo- manufactured at the company’s Nnewi plant in Anambra State, South east Nigeria.
“The main driver behind Ford in Africa is affordability. Africa is one of the youngest markets in the world and presents a huge opportunity in terms of consumption,” Nemeth said at the Ikeja plant on Monday.
He expressed confidence in the buying power of the African consumer, noting that it was on the rise “as the continent’s middle class increases exponentially”.
“Despite infrastructure challenges, Africa has demonstrated impressive returns on foreign direct investment. New assembly operations, even on a small scale, have positive knock-on effects in the local economy and workforce.
“In line with the operating procedures for Ford plants around the world, Ford will send experienced employees to Nigeria to assist with implementing the Global Ford Production System, which focuses on the highest standards for safety, quality and delivery,” Nemeth said.
The Ford Ranger trucks will be assembled at a semi-knockdown (SKD) level, using body parts and components imported from Ford’s Silverton assembly plant in South Africa.
Ford’s SKD operation in Nigeria was established in partnership with the local Ford dealer group, Coscharis Motors Limited, and is based in Ikeja.
Mr. Cosmas Maduka, President of Coscharis Motors, said: “We have worked hard and moved quickly to turn this dream into a reality. Today marks an important milestone when the cogs in the wheel really start to turn, not only for Ford in Nigeria, but in general for the Nigerian industry, which is receiving a much needed boost towards industrialisation and the development of the automotive industry.
“We are committed to setting the bar high, and establishing world-class, best practices in Nigeria that every other industrialist will have to be judged by. This is a major milestone for us and marks another first in the evolution of our company.”
Nigeria is a significant market for Ford’s sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region and accounts for a solid percentage of the regional sales, and is the reason Ford is committed to increasing market share in Nigeria, and other key African markets in the future.
70 percent of the parts used in building the Innoson cars were locally sourced, heralding the emergence of a local car manufacturing industry that will, in the nearest future, serve the region. Already, the company has disclosed it plans to take its brand to neighbours in West Africa, with the Republic of Benin and Ghana on its radar. The company had earlier impressed with its trucks and buses.
The range of Innoson vehicles is already enjoying patronage locally, unlike in the past when indigenous manufacturers were stifled by the lack of appreciation of their products. Across Africa, locally-made goods are beginning to earn respect and desired patronage through quality assurance and competitive pricing.