When Nigeria, on October 3, 2013, announced the introduction of a new automotive policy aimed at discouraging the importation of wholly assembled automobile and encouraging local manufacturing, it seemed like a tall dream. Innoson Motors, an indigenous company, last week, unveiled a new brand of vehicles, building on local assembly successes by Hyundai and Nissan.
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited founded by Nigerian industrialist, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, unveiled its new cars – IVM Umu, IVM Umu and IVM Uzo- manufactured at the company’s Nnewi plant in Anambra State, South east Nigeria.
70 percent of the parts used in building the cars were locally sourced, heralding the emergence of a local car manufacturing industry that will, in the nearest future, serve the region. Already, the company has disclosed it plans to take its brand to neighbours in West Africa, with the Republic of Benin and Ghana on its radar. The company had earlier impressed with its trucks and buses.
The range of Innoson vehicles is already enjoying patronage locally, unlike in the past when indigenous manufacturers were stifled by the lack of appreciation of their products. Across Africa, locally-made goods are beginning to earn respect and desired patronage through quality assurance and competitive pricing.
Former governor of Nigeria’s Anambra State, where the Innoson plant is located, Peter Obi had become a frequent buyer of the locally made vehicles by the time he left office. Founder of the car-making company, Chukwuma, said Obi still patronizes his company.
Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) is expected to soon take delivery of Pickups made by Innoson.
The country’s minister of trade and investment, Olusegun Aganga, at the event held in Nnewi, commended IVM for producing the first Nigeria-made vehicles. He said such an investment is necessary to expand the country’s manufacturing frontiers.
21 auto-companies have already signed commitments with technical partners to set up local assembly operations, according to Nigeria’s National Automotive Council (NAC).