By Bennett Oghifo
The Nigerian auto market is set to receive another local brand of vehicles, following plans by an indigenous auto company, Globe Motors to roll-out its nameplate, Globe in addition to Higer and Hyundai.
According to the Chairman of Globe Motors Holdings (Nig.) Limited, Mr. William Anumudu, the first set of the Globe, Hyundai and Higer vehicles, assembled in its new plant in Lagos will come out of the production line next month.
The plant cost over $150 million on completion, he said, “We are going to roll-out our first set of vehicles in July 2016 and we will produce Hyundai, Higer vehicles and Globe brand. We have made a lot of investments and we believe on completion of the project, it will be worth over $150 million.”
On the development of the assembly plant, he said in 2014, they acquired 10 hectares of prime real estate along the Lekki corridor and invested a lot of money in the development of infrastructure.
As development of the plant progressed, he said they invited the Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Engr. Aminu Jalal and his team to conduct a joint inspection of the facility with officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget Office, Customs, and that thereafter, these officials made several visits to the plant.
In February last year, the federal government issued Globe Motors recognised status as vehicle assemblers and they proceeded to sign agreements with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in South Korea and China.
The plant, he said would begin with the assembly of semi knocked down (SKD) parts before moving on to completely knock down (CKD) parts.
He said the plant would, in its first phase, would produce 6,000 vehicles per annum and on completion would produce a minimum of 40,000 vehicles per annum.
The vehicles expected from the plant would be in various segments like commercial, passenger vehicles, low, medium and high capacity vehicles, SUV and Pickups. There will also be light and heavy duty trucks.
Anumudu said some of the SKDs were already in the country and that they have made a lot of progress, saying that the facility would create 3,500 direct jobs for both local and expatriate workers, adding that there would be a lot of indirect jobs on account of this.
He said the worst days of the nation’s economy were over and that with a favourable foreign exchange rate Forex would be available to serious investors.
To ensure easy sales of these vehicles even outside the country, he said “We are already talking with some motor vehicle dealerships along the West African corridor and we hope to develop dealership network.
“We will take advantage of the ECOWAS common tariff in creating the dealership network along the West African corridor.”
Anumudu said they initially opposed the automotive policy but that they later realised its importance, saying “We realised that it was the only viable road for Nigeria’s economic development. It is a 10-year development plan and there are milestones. We are satisfied with it and that is why we have keyed into it.
“This is for serious-minded people in the auto business. This is a policy of the government of Nigeria and as patriotic corporate citizens we have keyed into it.”
On funding, he said, “We have got a lot of assistance from Nigerian banks. We have also keyed into the Real Sector Support Fund of the Federal Government of Nigeria, an intervention fund that is administered by the Central Bank of Nigeria. We have received good response on our request for funding.”