Ford has confirmed that it will stop producing the Focus model in 2025, in a move that threatens the longer-term future of its Saarlouis, Germany plant that only makes that model.
Nigeria may not miss the exit of the Focus as it has not really been as popular as other Ford models such as the Escape, the Edge and Everest.
Ford however said that its plant in Saarlouis would continue to produce the Ford Focus passenger car, while the company is also evaluating options for future site concepts.
In Europe, Ford has emphasised the future role for electrified models – which includes its Cologne plant in Germany being a hub for EV production. It will build a new SUV based on VW’s MEB platform from 2023.
Ford also recently announced that its Valencia, Spain, plant would receive investment for making electric vehicles on a next-generation electric vehicle architecture.
Ford Trucks to showcase zero emission technologies at Sept IAA fair
Ford Trucks says it will return in a big way to the IAA Transportation, where it will unveil its new surprise zero emission technologies and innovations.
The IAA Transportation is adjudged the world’s leading trade fair for mobility, transport, and logistics and it is taking place this year from September 20 to 25 in Hanover, Germany.
The auto firm stated this in a statement, adding that this would advance towards the automaker’s global competition as a distinctive player in production, design, and product development.
It says the company will showcase the international award-winner F-MAX and present its CO2-neutral transport solutions roadmap, also new specifications and features, bringing connected mobility technologies to Ford Trucks customers, offering more convenience and greater efficiency.
Vice President at Ford Trucks, Serhan Turfan, says, “As an innovative brand that has the purpose of “to be the road mate that cares about customers and makes their businesses thrive”, we focus on future andprioritize R&D efforts on bringing next-generation technologies to the market. The transition of heavy commercial vehicles to zero emissions is critical for a sustainable future. Therefore, our objectiveis mainly to contribute to reduce operating costs and CO2 emissions in road transport while increasing fleet productivity.
“We look forward to presenting our innovations in line with our zero emission mission and new connectivity technologies that will thrive our customers’ businesses.”
According to the statement, Ford Trucks will take the point it has reached in new generation technologies to the next level in 2022 IAA Transportation with its new product variants, plus updated services and technologies and its current product range, launched in more than 40 countries.
It states, “Ford Trucks will showcase the latest variants of the IToY award winner F-MAXas well as the latest cutting-edge technology and services at the exhibition area.
“Ford Trucks is exclusively marketed in Nigeria by Coscharis Motors Plc, a leading automobile dealership in the country. Some of the Ford Trucks variants currently stocked by Coscharis Motors include the Trailer Head, Waste Disposal Truck, Tipper, Concrete Mixer, etc.”
Multi-billion naira NADDC land, imported equipment rot away, says ex-agency boss
Nigeria may have lost multi-billion naira invested in massive landed property and imported equipment acquired by the National Automotive Design and Development Council for auto industry projects in some parts of the country.
A former acting Director-General of the agency, Mr Luqman Mamudu, gave this indication on Thursday, saying the millions of dollars facilities imported for the projects were no longer functioning.
He stated this in Abuja, where chief executive officers of auto companies and other stakeholders called for a review of Finance Act making it difficult for for local auto assemblers to compete with sellers of fully built imported vehicles.
They spoke at Auto CEOs Forum, an interactive session involving major players, Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, heads of relevant government agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service, Bureau of Public Procurement and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, National Bureau of Statistics and National Automotive Design and Development Council.
Mamudu said the FG invested billions of naira to acquire the huge land and import needed equipment for industrial clusters in six major cities across the country to give the auto policy a sound footing.
For instance, he said in Ikorodu, Lagos State, while about N1bn was spent to bring in test equipment for a facility to test vehicles emission level, the government paid N300m for the land housing the test centre.
Mamudu however lamented that nothing was currently happening the Lagos centre and other places.
He debunked the insinuation the NADDC did not consult widely before the auto policy was put together, adding that for about six months the agency held meetings and with other agencies, relevant groups and auto players on the matter.
He gave an overview of the policy, its objectives using a global template and the requirements to actualise the project such as incentives to attract investors/OEMs, acceptable credit facility for vehicle assemblers and buyers and anti-smuggling programme.
He said, “There is no need to change the NAIDP. We only need. We need to review time taken for renewal of yearly licence. It doesn’t have to take five months.
The Comptroller General of NCS, Col. Hameed Ali, represented by Controller Musa Mba, said the agency was carried along in formulating the policy.
According to him, they only implement the duty as passed onto the agency.
He said the auto policy is a long-term project, which would take time to mature, just as he stressed that it should be private sector-driven.
Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig Gen Buba Marwa, who spoke through Mr. Gadzama Bashir, accused some auto importers of bringing in hard drugs.
Indeed, he said some import cars from Canada concealed with Colorado, a variant of cannabis sativa (Indian hemp).
He called for the cooperation of auto players to rid the country of banned substance.
Auto CEOs who spoke through Olutobi Ajayi of Nord Motors, Taiwo Shittu of Lanre Shittu Motors, and Deputy Managing Director, CFAO Motors, Kunke Jaiyesimi, the current import duty of 10 per cent import duty for fully built units (vehicles) and 10 per cent for Semi-Knocked Down vehicles was discouraging local assembly of vehicles.
There is no way local assembly plants can compete with FBU vehicle importers at 10 per cent duty. We buy diesel, pay workers, among other running cost but they don’t do,” said Ajayi.
They called for a review of the Finance Act.
CIG boosts Nigeria-China trade relations with G-Style showroom, others
Choice International Group, Nigeria’s representative of GAC Motors, is leading the promotion of bilateral relation between Nigeria and China through trade and business development embedded with cultural value.
Barely 10 years of doing automobile business in Nigeria, the Chief Diana Chen-led CIG is seen to have dominated the nation’s auto industry, bringing a lot of innovations and added value into the business.
For instance, the group has just unveiled a G-style showroom and workshop in Victoria Island, Lagos, with the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, opening the facility built with a new concept and unique equipment.
Apart from providing space to display new tastefully furnished and distinctively designed cars, the waiting areas for customers (G-Elite, G-Stars and G-Family) offer clients an opportunity to interact with three different cultures – Nigeria, Europe and China. The visitors are made to admire Nigerian artworks in a cozy environment.
Chen, in an interview, said, “When we were designing the showroom and planning the opening, we thought of the message we want to put across to the people. Someone came up with the name G-Style and it was discussed that it must be of international standard.
“Apart from the classy automobiles on display, we must have the European architecture, Chinese brand with African artwork. It should have the art spirits. It is a combination of the artwork and the new car technology. They are not just ordinary cars but the beauty of technology.”
She explained that the “G” is for everything good, great and colourful, adding, “The G of course represents the GAC.”
The CIG chairman is not new to the promotion of Nigerian cultures and talents; she is known to have sponsored major cultural events including the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, The Voice Nigeria and Miss Nigeria.
Her company also supports the development sports by identifying with event such as the 21st African Athletics Championships; the Lagos City Marathon; Feet & Tricks Football Competition; and the Lagos State Charity Boxing Exhibition (Rumbles in Lagos).
As a proof of her commitment towards the promotion of China-Africa cooperation and China-Nigeria trade and cultural exchanges, the Chairman of CIG is currently the Vice-Chairman of China-Africa Business Council and Regional Director of the Belt & Road International Commercial Mediation Centre in West Africa.
She was actively involved in the establishment of the mediation centre in West Africa in 2019. The Belt and Road Initiative is a strategy initiated by China seeking to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth.
The CIG has extended into the production of essential home and office electronic items through Lontor Home and Gree Nigeria.
She also launched the Choice International Business School in collaboration with the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos, an initiative meant to give opportunity for company’s workers to acquire more knowledge while earning their living.
Apart from providing direct jobs for Nigerians in the company, the group has embarked on the training and empowerment of young technicians under one of its subsidiaries, Gree Nigeria. Those trained are thereafter provided with necessary equipment to start work immediately, an initiative aimed at taking many out of the job market.
The firm recently confirmed that it would in a few months open in Ogba, Lagos, an auto assembly plant being developed in conjunction with the state government aimed at invigorating the nation’s economy.
“We are helping a number of Nigerian organisations, private and public to grow such as LCCI, NIPPS, Air Peace, in different ways, either through partnership or sponsorship of programmes/events.
“We signed an agreement with the LCCI at the beginning of the year. Gree is the head sponsor of the Lagos International Trade Fair,” Chen said.
She said, “China recognises Nigeria’s high level of friendship. Nigeria is one of our topmost friends. “And we have taken up the challenge in Nigeria through our company.”
These engagements and active participation in local public welfare activities and shows have earned her accolades and recognitions.
Chen is Vanguard’s Foreign Investor of the Year. She won the Auto CEO of The Year prize at the prestigious Nigeria Auto Journalists Awards last year.
She is the first to be decorated with this prize by the auto journalists while her GAC GSA Sports Utility Vehicle won the Most Fascinating SUV of The Year award, the first by any Chinese made auto company.
She was in 2015 conferred with a chieftaincy title in Nigeria, the Iyalaje of Oshodi, making her the first Chinese female chief in the country. She had since received two more titles from Ondo State.
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