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‘No serious government toys with automotive industry’

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  • Auto policy review taking too long, BKG tells FG

Managing Director of BKG Exhibitions Limited, Mr Ifeanyichukwu Agwu, has lamented the dwindling fortunes of the Nigeria’s auto industry, noting that government must immediately focus its attention to the sector to boost the national economy.

He stated this on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of 16th edition of Lagos Motor Fair and Autoparts Expo Africa.

He underscored the importance of the auto industry to the economy of the nation and urged the Federal Government and other stakeholders to work in synergy for its accelerated development.

He stated, “The sector is very important as it shows physically the state of the economy and it generates much revenue and creates enormous employment.

“No serious government toys with it. It is a sector that affects virtually everything. If it is not rightly re-positioned now it will in the very near future negatively affect a whole lot in the life of the people and economy.”

He said this would ensure that the programme initiated about nine years ago achieve its desired goals.

The BKG MD, who is also chairman of the organising committee, Lagos Motor Fair, also called on the Federal Government to urgently come out with its promised reviewed National Automotive Industry Development Plan to reflect the realities and developments its implementation has thrown up.

He said, “We are racing against time and it does not augur well for the stakeholders, especially those that have invested billions of naira in automobile assembling/manufacture in Nigeria.”

Specifically, he suggested that the government should collaborate with the sector stakeholders to make the industry better.

“There is an urgent need for all the stakeholders to close ranks and pursue the development of the sector with more focus and dedication. They need to ensure unity of purpose and always utilize every window of opportunity such as this, to draw the attention of policy makers and implementers to the challenges in the sector,” he advised.

Agwu noted that the sector was currently facing a seriously challenging time in Nigeria, lamented that “a lot of companies have closed shop while a large number (firms) are merely existing and direly in need of life support. This can be confirmed by the number of exhibitors in this edition.

“Ordinarily, it is the delight and wish of any serious player in the industry to showcase amongst others but here we are witnessing the opposite.

“I, therefore, call on all involved to synergize by having one common front and fora where we interface with the government regularly, since it remains the biggest spender in the sector and also the policy maker and implementer. We will be able to move our business forward and better when we do this and more as developments arise.”

He stated that the BKG Exhibitions and its partners remained committed towards using this key annual event to strengthen Nigerian auto parts markets’ role as the hub of the sector’s business in Africa.

“The intention is to make players in the sector from other countries in the continent to be buying from the Nigerian markets. Nigeria has the resources and capacity to play such a role and it will be a very big disservice to Nigeria and its people if another African country does this ahead of Nigeria,” he said.

 

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As Mercedes cuts dealerships, Nigerian traders may be axed

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There is uncertainty over the fate of some Mercedes-Benz dealers in Nigeria operating through Weststar Associates Limited (the authorized distributor of Mercedes Benz in the country) as there are speculations that they may be sacked.

This follows international reports that Mercedes-Benz plans to reduce its dealerships by 10% worldwide, and up to 20% in the home market, Germany, by 2025, as it targets direct sales.

The prolific car manufacturer plan to hit 25 per cent online sales by 2025 as well as secure 80 per cent of European sales through its new direct sales model by 2025.

“We want to have more proximity to the customer and therefore have better control over pricing,” Mercedes chief financial officer Harald Wilhelm recently said.

“That’s why we are moving from the current dealer role.”

Weststar Associates Limited dealers in Nigeria who may be among those that may be affected by this new policy of Mercedes Benz include Skymit, Sunny Motors, Barbedos Cars, Mercedes Benz Centre and Tetralog.

However, when an official of Weststar Associates Limited was contacted by Transport Day, he promised to get back with an official position of the company concerning the matter, but Transport Day was yet to get the feedback as at the time of filling this report.

Mercedes-Benz currently has approximately 6,500 Mercedes and Smart sales and service outlets worldwide, and roughly 1,000 dealerships in Germany.

According to Bettina Fetzer, Vice president of communications and marketing, cuts to its global dealership will take place by 2025 while cuts in the German market will take place by 2028.

Founded in 2007, Weststar Associates Limited came into being after the official exit of Mercedes Benz representative office in Nigeria, following the disinvestment of the German company from Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company (ANAMMCO), Enugu.

Source: Transport Day

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Latest seven-seater Range Rover SV unveiled for Nigerian market

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Coscharis Motors has rolled out the all-new Range Rover SV, a seven-seater, for the Nigerian market.
The unveiling of the luxury sport utility vehicle, courtesy of Coscharis Motors, was done at the company’s office at Awoyaya, Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos.
General Manager, Marketing/Corporate Communications, Coscharis Group, Abiona Babarinde, said the Range Rover SV is one of the most desirable models ever created by Land Rover.
The vehicle is said to have a distinctive design detail resulting in a form that speaks to modernity and the pinnacle of progressive luxury.
Giving specific special features of the new Range Rover, Marketing Manager, Jaguar Land Rover, Cletus Aregbesola, says the vehicle is well defined by aesthetic grace, sophistication and refinement.
According to him, Range Rover would not have anticipated designing a Range Rover with seven seats four years ago but that milestone has been successfully achieved with the new Range Rover.


Having seven seats, the marketing manager said, had not affected both the driver’s legroom and rear legroom.
He said, “It has a choice of Standard or Long Wheelbase body designs provides elevated luxury for five or seven adults, all delivered while retaining the unmistakeable Range Rover profile and Command Driving position.
“Range Rover’s imposing face communicates a character of unparalleled. And, for the first time on Range Rover, 23” wheels enhance the vehicle’s presence and supreme stature, contrasted by its reductive, modern detail”, he added.
Jaguar Land Rover Service Manager, Masimba Joseph Gwetsuro, speaks on the driving dynamics, saying the vehicle is provided with new 530PS (390kW) 4.4-litre V8 that produces maximum torque of 750Nm.


Gwetsuro says that it takes the Range Rover from 0-100km/h (0-60mph) in 4,6 (4,4) seconds.
The new 530PS (390kW) 4.4-litre V8 produces maximum torque of 750Nm.
He says, “With Dynamic Launch engaged, he declared that the vehicle has cleaner, more efficient mild hybrid technology available with a range of diesel and petrol engines.
“Range Rover features a modern and sophisticated interior, underpinned by its impeccable reductive nature, tactile materials and an intuitive approach to relevant technology. No detail has been overlooked. Nothing is for show.”
He says the new Range Rover is now available in all Coscharis showrooms across the country with prices ranging between N70 million and N200 million.

 

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Toyota-Suzuki joint SUV coming in August, Africa listed

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The collaboration between Toyota and Suzuki is set to manifest in concrete terms as Toyota says it will start the production of a new SUV model developed by Suzuki at Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd from August.

The Suzuki-developed SUV will come with mild and strong hybrid variants – made in India for both brands, multiple sources including motorauthority.com report.

The two companies are said to be planning to export the new model to markets outside India including Africa.

Toyota and Suzuki are promoting mutual supply of vehicles globally, which is one of the collaborations in their business partnership.
The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding for a business alliance in 2017. Since then, the two companies have been bringing together Toyota’s strength in electrification technologies and Suzuki’s strength in technologies for compact vehicles for joint collaboration in production and in the widespread popularization of electrified vehicles.
The powertrains of the new model to be on sale in India will be equipped with mild hybrid developed by Suzuki and strong hybrid developed by Toyota.
By bringing together strengths of both Toyota and Suzuki through the collaboration, the two companies say they will be able to provide a wide variety of vehicle electrification technologies to customers and contribute to the acceleration of electrification and the realization of a carbon-neutral society in India.

While Suzuki leads and understands the India market, Toyota brings hybrid tech to the table.

Maruti Suzuki India Limited and TKM will market the new model in India as Suzuki and Toyota models, respectively.

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