One year after hinting about setting up an automobile assembly plant in Nigeria, Ford Motor Company has confirmed its intention to start with the
coupling of its best-selling Ford Ranger pickup truck in the fourth quarter. It said the Nigerian assembly plant would be established in partnership with its dealer, Coscharis Motors.
According to a statement from the company, the assembly plant will be the first outside South Africa, where Ford produces the Ranger for 148 markets.
The President and Chief Executive Officer, Ford Motor Company (South Africa), Mr. Jeff Nemeth, was
quoted as saying, “Nigeria is a priority market for us in sub-Saharan Africa. Depending on how Nigeria develops over time. We are potentially looking at
using our Nigerian plant to service West Africa.” He was further quoted as saying the auto market in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, had huge potential but retailed only a small amount of new
vehicles annually.Nemeth said the plant would be located in Ikeja for the assembling of the Ford Ranger using parts and components imported from South Africa.He said that the plant would have the capacity to assemble up to 5,000 units annually and was optimistic that the vehicles would be sold in Nigeria. Ford produces 85,000 units each year in South Africa,which are sold across 24 African countries,” he said. “It would take between one and two months to take an order, build it and deliver it within the country. If
you order from overseas, it would take between four and six months,” Nemeth said, noting that the benefit of the Nigerian plant was being close to its
customers.Renault-Nissan, Kia Motors and Germany’s Volkswagen had earlier commenced the assembling of
vehicles in Nigeria.Nemeth told our correspondent in August last year
that although Ford was considering setting up an assembly plant in Nigeria, the American automaker would not risk having a factory in the country unless
there were ready markets for its products. One of the conditions he had given then was for the country to have a free-trade agreement with its neighboring nations to ensure a free movement and unhindered market for all locally produced vehicles and other goods within the West African region.
He said the sector was dominated by imported used vehicles, with limited financing for consumers to buy
new vehicles, adding that the absence of an industrial policy that would encourage suppliers to set up in
Nigeria had stunted growth.
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