Stakeholders still await auto policy’s full implementation eight years after its introduction, FEMI OWOEYE reports
Although Nigeria’s auto policy was launched almost three decades ago (1993), a development framework was not initiated until two decades after (2013); that was under President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime.
The policy and its development plan were aimed at boosting the demand for made-in-Nigeria vehicles and encouraging Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to set up local vehicle manufacturing plants. Ultimately, it was expected to revitalize and grow the Nigerian automotive sector with a multiplier effect on the nation’s economy.
No doubt, as a result of the partly implemented policy, the sector, within the last seven years has not only generated an ample of employment, it has also grown with an installed capacity to assemble about 500,000 vehicles per annum.
To this end, the industry has attracted many OEMs such as Honda, Mitsubishi, Ford, Geely, Kia, Nissan, Hyundai, Sinotruck, Shackman, Dongfeng, XCMG, Peugeot, MAN, Yutong and FAW, which have opened investment lines to Nigeria, mostly in the form of technical partnership with Nigeria entrepreneurs.
The industry also generated direct investment by indigenous brands such as Honda, Innoson, Jetvan and Proforce.
However, due to poor policy administration and failure to implement certain essential provisions of the policy, it has suffered a summersault, recording constrained capacity utilization. That is why 28 years down the line, the nation’s auto industry stakeholders are still hopelessly awaiting full implementation.
Fielding questions from this writer, Mr Luqman Mamudu, former Director of Policy and Acting Director General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), reiterated that poor project implementation on the part of the Federal Government had caused a setback for the nation’s auto industry.
He said, “Seven years into its 10-year tenure, there has been practically no monitoring and evaluation of the policy, apart from initial sector report in 2016/17. All the associated programmes designed to create demand for vehicles assembled in Nigeria and grow local content have been abandoned by institutions responsible to do so.”
Moreover, auto finance provision, which in the original draft of the NAIDP was meant to grant affordable loans to Nigerians to acquire locally assembled vehicles, thereby creating demand and making the secondhand imports unattractive over the years, has been jettisoned.
As if that was not enough, the Federal Ministry of Finance, by Section 38 of Finance Act 2020, further worsened the situation by reducing the protective tariff for imported fully built unit (FBU) commercial vehicles from 35 per cent to 10 per cent, while imported semi knocked down (SKD) kits remain at 10 per cent.
“As a result,” Mamudu pointed out that “Nigerian ports and streets are now flooded with all manner of used commercial vehicles and cars with consequent depletion of the nation’s foreign reserves and a weakened naira.
“Sadly, although Nigeria has established tremendous capacity utilization in the commercial vehicle body building, now you do not have to build locally, just import.”
Following the invocation of the 2020 Finance Act, it has become more profitable to simply import vehicles for sale than venturing into local assembling.
Mamudu stated further, “Automotive assembly, especially final assembly, which dominates assembly activities in Nigeria, is certainly unprofitable to the assemblers compared to outright import. The protective tariff and levies are equally vexatious to many interests, as they wish to import freely.
“So, the implementation process needs to have been carefully managed to quickly ramp up to the CKD and components manufacture, where all would be happy.
“This is why the process requires close monitoring and adjustment to align with public concern. It is because there is no reasonable feedback that those who had earlier opposed the policy in the first place seem to be having the upper hand. The Finance Act 2020 with its devastating effects is one such example. It particularly accused the policy of slow or ineffective impact and set forth to remove the protective measures without consulting stakeholders.
“The implementation of the auto policy requires sacrifice from all in the interest of growing the real sector. But such sacrifice has its limit. The protective tariff was designed to be reduced as the industry gained traction, but it’s not being nurtured to do so.”
On the state of the NAIDP bill, Mamudu, who is now the Managing Partner, Transtech Industrial Consulting, said the last information he had was that the bill was under expert review.
In his view, however, the reviewed draft of the NAIDP should be shared for stakeholders’ input, particularly the Nigeria Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA) before its final passage and signing into law.
Being the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria has in the past six years been under pressure from the OEMs to complete the implementation circle of its auto industry development policy. The OEMs could see Nigeria becoming an automotive manufacturing hub of the continent.
But as of the time of putting this story together, the nation’s auto policy remains under a dark silence. Even stakeholders are also in the dark.
In the meantime, while importers of used vehicles and new fully built units smile to the bank, the nation’s economy bleeds.
– Nigeria Auto Journal, December 2021
GM raises production of electric vehicles, repositions Chevrolet Bolt
General Motors Company says said it is increasing its electric vehicle assembly plans, raising production of the EV Chevrolet Bolt and other vehicles.
GM reported its highest quarterly sales of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV, which totalled 14,709 vehicles. Bolt sales are down by 11 per cent for the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year.
In June, GM said it would sharply cut Bolt prices after it halted sales for six months following a battery recall.
Autoblog reported the GM as saying on Monday it would specifically boost Bolt production for global markets to more than 70,000 in 2023 from about 44,000 vehicles this year.
Bolt sales in 2021 hit a record annual high of 24,828 vehicles.
The largest US automaker said it was moving up body shop upgrades at its Detroit Factory ZERO for Silverado EV production in 2023 and taking other steps to prepare.
GM will suspend the production of the GMC HUMMER EV pickup for several weeks starting in late November to prepare for that production jump, it said.
Cadillac Lyriq production will increase in the fourth quarter and GM plans additional production shifts for GMC Hummer EVs in 2023, it said.
The automaker stated that its 2023 EV launches, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Chevrolet Blazer EV and Chevrolet Equinox EV, were on schedule.
GM’s EV sales are still a small fraction of US sales. Out of 1.65 million US vehicles sold in the first nine months of the year, GM sold 22,012 Bolts, 782 Hummer EV pickups and 36 Lyriq SUVs.
GM and LG Energy Solution’s joint venture Ultium Cells LLC is considering a site in Indiana for a fourth $2.4 billion US battery cell manufacturing plant, the venture said in August.
Maserati GranTurismo returns, this time with electric folgore model
Luxury sports car maker Maserati has unveiled its new GranTurismo model ahead of an official launch next year for the brand’s first car fully-electric version.
Maserati, the luxury brand of automaker Stellantis, rolled out the new GranTurismo on Monday, according to Reuters, returning the to sporty coupe which has seen many iterations over the years, but now with the option for 100 per cent electric propulsion.
Folgore is the name that Maserati applies to its electric vehicles and the new GranTurismo Folgore will sit alongside Modena and Trofeo versions, both powered by a 3-litre V6 engine, as you might expect, reports Pocketlint, an online auto journal.
But the Folgore takes Maserati in a new direction and creates something rather unique for those looking for a high-end electric sports car. As this is the GranTurismo it only has the two doors, but there’s four seats, the long, low, body designed for sporty driving in comfort.
Maserati, which returned to an operating profit last year, has promised fully-electric or folgore – versions of all its cars by 2025, as part of a wider turnaround plan.
It said in a statement the electric powertrain for the new grand tourer (GT) would be derived from Formula E technology, where the Italian brand will start competing next year.
The automaker said the new GranTurismo will also be available with a three-litre, six-cylinder internal combustion engine (ICE), in two versions capable of 490 and 500 horse powers.
Both the fully-electric and the ICE versions would have an indicative starting price of around 200,000 euros ($195.000), just below the entry price for a Ferrari car.
The GranTurismo will be produced at Stellantis’ Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy.
Maserati will provide further details of the new car at its official presentation in the first quarter of next year, while sales are expected to start in the second quarter.
Toyota ending FJ Cruiser production, reveals special Final Edition
Toyota has announced that it will discontinue the production of the FJ Cruiser in the Middle East by December 2022. But before that happens, the leading automaker says it will introduce a special Final Edition.
The FJ Cruiser has been sold in the Middle East since 2007 and has continued to survive even after being pulled from all other markets. The car was retired from the American market at the end of the 2014 model year but it lived on in several overseas markets. Sales in Australia ended in 2016.
Toyota on Monday said only 1,000 units of the Final Edition model would be produced, each differentiated from the standard model through a host of special touches.
Toyota has not released images of the SUV yet but official importer Abdul Latif Jameel Motors notes the commemorative trim will receive a single-tone beige paint job, beige upholstery, and beige interior trim. The grille, bumpers, door mirror caps, exterior door handles, and spare tire cover will be finished in black to add a touch of contrast, and each Final Edition will wear specific emblems.
Colours and trim aside, the FJ sold in the Middle East looks a lot like the FJ that was available in the United States. The specifications sheet looks similar as well.
Power for the Final Edition model comes from Toyota’s tried-and-true 4.0-liter V6, rated at 270 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, increases of 10 and nine, respectively, compared to the American model. The list of standard features includes Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) technology, a Crawl Control function, and an electronically-locking rear differential.
For the 2023 FJ Cruiser Final Edition, deliveries are expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to multiple sources including Carscoops,Jalopnik and Autoblog.
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