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Leopard causes scare, halts Mercedes vehicles production



Production of Mercedes-Benz vehicles was temporarily halted last week in Chakan, India, when a leopard made its way into the automaker’s facility and wandered around for a few hours.

This caused some alarm for the employees, but they did not take matters into their own hands and this helped to save the situation.
News of production pauses are more often these days, especially with chip shortage adversely impacting vehicle assembly, forcing automakers to idle some assembly lines or fit cars with fewer electronically-controlled features.
In the case of the leopard-forced stoppage, the Chakan Forest Department and Wildlife SOS reportedly led the rescue of the lost and frightened animal around the plant.
The teams eventually found it around the manufacturing unit and stayed near piles of boxes and pallets. Once it stayed put long enough, the leopard was tranquilized from a safe distance and hurried off the factory.
According to Wildlife SOS, the leopard is male and about three years old. It took about four hours to complete the rescue, and plant operations paused for about six. The young leopard is currently under medical observation before its release in the wild.
While headlines like these grab attention, it also reflects the habitat loss for wildlife. Per Wildlife SOS, a likely factor for the leopard to head towards the plant is because of the adjoining areas surrounded by forest patches. The organization adds that the leopard possibly came from that area. Also, the Mercedes-Benz assembly line is in Maharashtra and has one of the highest population densities for leopards in the world.
Because of that, there is a chance something similar to this could happen again. Thankfully, the incident ended with humans and animals emerging unscathed and unharmed.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in India assembles models such as the C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, and CLA Coupé. It also rolls out the GLA, GLC, GLE, and GLS crossovers. The plant has been exporting the GLC to the US since 2018.

Source: Wildlife SOS via Youtube


Innoson makes history, exports Nigeria-assembled vehicles to Sierra Leone 



Nigeria’s indigenous vehicle manufacturing company, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Ltd, has delivered the first set of vehicles manufactured for the Government of Sierra Leone as ordered by the country’s Ministry of Defence.

This is in fulfilment of a promise made during a working visit to Innoson Vehicles by top hierarchy of the Sierra Leone Defence Ministry led by Mr. Edward Soloku, the Minister of Internal Affairs as well as Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC) led by its President Mr. Isaac Ken-Green.

Head of Corporate Communications, Innoson Group, Cornel Osigwe, said in a statement that various models of vehicles bought within that dispensation were for the present administration.

Osigwe explained that subsequently, the Government of Sierra Leone led by President Julius Maada Bio placed an order for the manufacturing of Innoson Vehicles valued at $4.7Million for the officers of Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).

The first set of the vehicles supplied from Nigeria to Sierra Leone were as Monday leaving Queen Elizabeth 2 Port (Sierra Leone’s sea Port “Water Quay”) in Free Town for distribution to military officers across the country.

Reacting to the development, the people of Sierra Leone have been commending their President, Julius Maada Bio, for acting in line with the spirit of the continental agreement by opting for an African (IVM) brand of vehicles for the use of the country’s Armed Forces.

In one of the many reports in the local media on the purchase of the made-in-Nigeria vehicles, a popular blog in Sierra Leone, Focus News Blog, hailed President Bio for believing “that our Army Officers deserve better.”

The post, which showed a line-up of the IVM products from Nigeria, informed Sierra Leoneans that the vehicles would soon be “ready for distribution to military officers across the country” by the government

“Innoson Group has penetrated the vehicles market over the years. It is currently serving as one of the few wholly African car assemblers.

One of the effusive commendations for President Bio by a Sierra Leonean, Francis Ken Samu, remarked, “We are on top of the situation in times of security. Bravo HE President Bio. Keep the Military Colour Flag going up higher than ever before in de history of Sierras Leone.. God bless you, HE President Bio for equipping the RSLAF.”

This development is indeed a step towards the acceleration of intra-African trade as facilitated by the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

With the arrival of the Innoson vehicles in Free Town, Sierra Leone has become the first country in West Africa whose armed forces are using the IVM products outside Nigeria.

Four years ago, the Nigerian Army signed a partnership agreement with the Nnewi auto plant for the supply of purpose-built vehicles for its personnel.

The agreement also includes identifying requirements for the production of the armoured fighting vehicle in Nigerian Army Central Workshop in Kaduna and enhancing the capacity of Nigerian Army personnel to actively participate in the successful implementation of these joint ventures

The export of Innoson is coming two years after President Mohammadu Buhari signed the AfCFTA agreement in July, 2019.



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Auto industry bouncing back soon, review bill ready – NADDC DG (+ photos)



Abuja Auto fair officially opens

Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr Jelani Aliyu, has said a review of the nation’s auto policy is ready and will soon be sent to the National Assembly as an executive bill for speedy passage and thereafter forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

He stated this in Abuja on Wednesday at the opening of the 22nd edition of the annual Abuja auto fair.

The policy known as National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) introduced in 2014 by the Federal Government to encourage local assembling of vehicles became contentious as Buhari failed to give his assent even though the lawmakers had passed the bill. It was sent back for a review.

Jelani, who also represented Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said all stakeholders including relevant government agencies and private sector players were allowed to make input in the latest review.

“This bill now at the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment will be going back to the National Assembly as an executive bill and it is expected to receive express passage and president’s assent.

“It is a holistic review; we’ve asked all stakeholders to make input.”

The NADDC DG said the auto industry remained crucial to the development of the nation’s economy, adding the agency was on course with the NAIDP to a tool to transform the industry, despite its implementation challenges.

According to him, many automakers including Toyota and Volkswagen have agreed to set up plants in Nigeria after their conviction in the merits of the auto industry plan.

He said over 30,000 Nigerian youths had been training in modern auto technology, just as he disclosed that 18 auto training centres were established across the country for this purpose.

He urged Nigerians to patronise Nigeria-assembled vehicles to increase job creation and boost auto business in Nigeria.

Chairman Organising Committee for Abuja auto fair and Managing Director of BKG Exhibition Limited, Ifeanyi Agwu, said the annual event has played a major role in the development of the nation’s auto sector and Abuja as a viable business centre.

“About 98 per cent of auto companies in Abuja today were brought into the city through the motor fair.”

He lamented the prolonged neglect of the industry by the government despite its importance to the national economic growth.

“I don’t know how the auto companies are able to stay afloat in the face of high exchange rate among other challenges,” he said.

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Kojo Motors introduces CNG-powered Yutong buses, with return on investment



Kojo Motors says it is introducing cost-effective Yutong passenger buses powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) to the motoring public.

Kojo says the introduction of the CNG-powered Yutong buses is coming at a time the pump price of diesel has hit the roof top and petrol price creating dip holes in the balance sheet of transport operators and logistics providers.

The buses, according to the firm, guarantee return on investment for transport operators.

The CNG is a natural gas under pressure that remains clear, odourless and non-corrosive.

Although vehicles can use natural gas as either a liquid or a gas, most vehicles use the gaseous form, compressed to about 218 kg/cm2.

The CNG can be used as an alternative to conventional petrol and diesel fuels.

According to the manufacturers of  Yutong, the 10 metre CNG inter and intra-city compressed natural gas commercial passenger bus is coming into the Nigerian market with a numerous advantages. CNG is about 50 per cent cheaper than petrol.

Under test conditions (no congestion, good road condition). Without air conditioning, when the speed is 24km/h, the 100km gas consumption is 41 cubic meters. At 32 kilometres per hour, the gas consumption per 100 kilometres is 31 cubic metres.

“With air conditioning on, gas consumption increases by 10%. This is experimental data, specific gas consumption will be affected by road conditions, congestion, driver’s driving habits and so on, we do not promise gas consumption,” The company said.

In December 2020, the Federal Government rolled out its National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), which involves the conversion of fuel-powered cars and generators from petrol to gas.

The programme which is expected to deliver at least one million vehicle conversions by the end of 2021 aligns with the government’s plan to make gas the first-choice source for cheaper and cleaner energy.

The need to switch from petrol to gas was necessitated by the deregulation of petrol by the government, which has led to increment in the domestic pump prices in recent times.

President Muhammadu Buhari at the 2021 Africa regional heads of government commonwealth roundtable chaired by the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, reminded the world of Nigeria’s plan to replace petrol with CNG.

While reiterating Nigeria’s commitment to a just transmission to net zero-emission, the President who was represented by the vice president, Osibanjo, said, “We also have our Natural Gas Expansion Programme. This is where we are using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in order to replace the use of Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol), and this is going on now, we are actually trying to fit and retrofit existing petrol stations so that the use of cleaner fossil fuels will replace it”.

Furthermore, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is encouraging Nigerians to embrace the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) in their automobiles as alternative to petrol.

The DPR says the CNG, which is cheaper, safer, environment-friendly and in abundance in the country, will reduce the reliance on petrol.



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