By Kasie Abone
As part of its mission to change the consumption pattern of Nigerians in favour of locally manufactured vehicles, Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM) Limited is set to stir competition in the luxury vehicles category. With the launch of IVM 80 which is set to hit the market in about three months. IVM is ready to take on competition in the luxury segment of the auto market. IVM 80 is modeled after Mercedes G Guard, a mid-size four-wheel drive luxury SUV manufactured by Magna Steyr (formerly Steyr-Daimler-Puch) in Austria and sold by Mercedes-Benz. Characterised by its boxy styling and body-on-frame construction with a legendary off-road ability, G Wagen has been one of the most expensively priced luxury SUV.
According to the company’s Sales Manager, Mr. Kosy Maduanusi, IVM 80 is a local replica and alternative to the imported Mercedes brand G Wagen. The need to offer Nigerian luxury consumers a local alternative he argued was to address the foreign exchange challenge arising from importation of goods as well as proving to Nigerians that what they are looking for abroad to buy can be got in Nigeria.
On the quality of the vehicle, Maduanusi assured that the quality of IVM 80 is comparable to that of G Wagen adding that IVM 80 was a truly Nigerian SUV as about 65 percent of the parts are sourced locally. IVM he said had been improving on its component manufacture by empowering its suppliers to specialise and improve on their supplies.
Would Nigerians embrace this brand or would the new bride be greeted with skepticism? Maduanusi said that was expected as people were naturally skeptical to change but added that that would be minimal as the market had tried and tested IVM brands of vehicles and found them to be durable and reliable. “Early adventurers would risk buying them, and when they do, we are confident that they would enjoy what they have bought and encourage others. We experienced some level of skepticism on our vehicles in the past but now the market can trust IVM brands of vehicles. We know what we can produce and what we are capable of.” He assured. He revealed that IVM 80 would be unveiled alongside G5 Bullet proof armoured vehicle.
With the buy Nigeria campaign being intensified, there is no doubt that IVM is hugely committed to delivering quality local auto brands to various categories of buyers. And to promote the Buy Nigeria campaign, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma visited the Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu where he reinstated his company’s commitment and unrelenting efforts towards achieving his company’s mission to deliver brand new vehicles that would be competitively priced to Nigerians.
“Our mission by the grace of God is to drastically reduce the prices of vehicles and cut down the country’s dependence on imported vehicles. We did it with motorcycles; we can do it again with motor vehicles” Chukwuma assured the minister.
However, he listed challenges bedeviling local manufacturers of goods which if addressed would enable his company deliver on its promises.
Some of these challenges include easy access to foreign exchange needed to purchase raw materials and components to maintain over 7,200 employees, efficient power supply and government policy to protect and encourage consumption of home-made goods by government and her agencies and individuals.
Currently a bill for an Act to amend the Public Procurement Act is before the senate. Sponsored by Senator Sam Egwu, the bill seeks to provide for and adopt Local Content Policy. Egwu argued that the amendment of the Act became necessary in view of the need to encourage Nigerians to patronise locally-made goods and encourage local industries and as such, create jobs for the teeming Nigerian youths.
According to him, when the bill is passed into law, Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) would be mandated to purchase certain percentage of made-in-Nigeria goods to address the gap between the consumption of locally made goods and their foreign alternatives.
“The Federal Government spends billions of Naira to import cars into the country when Innoson Motors and other local manufacturers are not being patronised. We have all the raw materials; we also have the biggest market in Africa, yet we saturate our market with foreign goods. The amendment of the bill will go a long way in developing Nigeria to become a world class producer. We should not forget that the love for foreign goods is responsible for the level of unemployment we have in the country today,” he said.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Ben Murray Bruce and other lawmakers are among the growing clients of IVM vehicles.