Ford Motor Company on Tuesday rolled out its first made-in-Nigeria vehicle, the Ranger, a pickup, which was assembled in Lagos in partnership with its local dealer firm, Coscharis Motors.
The unveiling of the new vehicle came about three months after the American automaker announced the decision to set up an assembly plant in Nigeria. This was after the Federal Government had imposed a 70 per cent tariff on all imported vehicles as part of a new auto policy aimed at encouraging local production of vehicles.
According to him, the Ford Ranger trucks will be assembled at the SKD level, using body parts and components imported from Ford’s assembly plant in South Africa.
He also said the new factory, located in Ikeja, had the capacity to assemble 10 vehicles daily, and that the firm planned to increase the capacity anytime there was high demand.
“The facility will accommodate one shift and will produce an initial 10 units per day for the Nigerian market, creating approximately 180 direct and indirect jobs. Over time, this will gradually expand,” he said.
Jeff, who noted that the main driver behind Ford in Africa remained affordability, described the continent as one of the youngest markets in the world, which offered a huge opportunity in terms of consumption.
“The buying power of the African consumer is on the rise as the continent’s middle class increases exponentially. Despite infrastructure challenges, Africa has demonstrated impressive returns on foreign direct investment,” he said.
The President of Coscharis Motors, Cosmas Maduka, said the Ford assembly plant project culminating in the unveiling of the Ranger was a dream come true.
He said, “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.”
Maduka urged the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to fully support the auto policy because of the huge investments it would attract and its turnaround impact on the nation’s economy.