Coscharis Motors says it is ready to establish an assembly plant in Lagos in conjunction with a Chinese firm for the production of over 14,000 vehicles every year.
It said the Chinese firm, JiangSu Yoylong Automobile, had agreed to serve as the Original Equipment Manufacturer and the technical partner for the project.
The Group Managing Director, Coscharis, Mr. Josiah Samuel, confirmed the development in Lagos on Friday after the two firms had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the project.
He said Coscharis had commenced negotiations for the purchase of 14 hectares of land where the assembly plant would be sited.
Samuel also revealed details of the factory design, which showed that the plant would be churning out 18 units of buses per day, amounting to 4,680 units yearly; and 37 units of passenger cars, pickup and multi-purpose vehicles per day, which would add up to about 9,620 units annually.
He said the discussion on the project with the Chinese firm began about three years ago, but noted that not much could be achieved before now because there was no enabling government policy to back up the venture.
He noted that the new auto policy rolled out by the Federal Government had thus provided the platform to reopen the discussion for the execution of the project.
“Extensive work is already ongoing on the project; the assembly plant design and layout is already in place; our partners are here today to finalise discussion so that we can move on to the next phase of the project,” Samuel stated.
He said the company had also concluded an agreement with another Chinese auto firm, DongFeng Design Institute Company Limited, for the design and management of the project including its general oversight.
The Coscharis boss was optimistic about the success of the project as he noted that Nigeria with 54 per cent of her 170 million people in the working class group, “the demand for automobile, specifically cars and buses, is on the increase.”
He lamented that despite being the largest auto market in Africa, Nigeria currently relied heavily on imported vehicles to meet its demand.
For instance, Samuel recalled, “A total of about 400,000 vehicles (100,000 new and 300,000 used) were imported in 2012. As the seventh most populous economy in the world, with a growing middle class of over 38 million and a potential vehicle market of one million vehicles annually, the Nigerian automotive industry, with its current assembly of only commercial vehicles, will definitely not be able to handle the needs of Nigerians.
“Nigeria needs cars, buses and light trucks (pickup) assembly/production to fully benefit from the industry’s potential.”