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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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Davido, Tuface, Ned Nwoko, others on alert as Ferrari recalls nearly every car

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Super-rich Nigerians and celebrities who drive Ferrari will have to surrender their Italian luxury sports car to the manufacturer to fix a major problem.

Ferrari has discovered a big stopping problem, with 19 of its models dating back to 2005 reportedly at risk of a potential brake failure, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Some of those known to have the super luxury car in Nigeria are singer Davido; former Arsenal and Super Eagles sensational striker Kanu Nwankwo; rapper and billionaire daughter DJ Cuppy; Ned Nwoko with his Nollywood wife, Reginal Daniels, and another famous ex-Super Eagles player Obafemi Martins.

MotorTrend, an online auto journal, on Monday reported the NHTSA filing as indicating that the issue had to do with the brake fluid reservoir cap which “may not vent properly, creating a vacuum inside the brake fluid reservoir, and resulting in a brake fluid leak that may lead to a partial or total loss of brake function.”

According to the NHTSA recall report, a whopping 23,555 Ferraris are implicated and will need to be serviced.

Owners are expected to receive messages from Ferrari with instructions for proactive repairs before September 24, 2022.

Considering the average price of a Ferrari is at least hundreds of thousand dollars, some quick math proves billions of dollars worth of Ferraris are potentially defective.

The report said Ferrari would replace the brake fluid reservoir cap and update the software in the affected vehicles to provide for a different warning message if the vehicle should lose sufficient brake fluid.

In the meantime, if your Ferrari flashes a “low Brake Fluid” warning, NHTSA directs you to pull off of the road as soon as it is safe to do so and have the car immediately towed to a Ferrari service centre.

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Ford Trucks to showcase zero emission technologies at Sept IAA fair

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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.”

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Multi-billion naira NADDC land, imported equipment rot away, says ex-agency boss

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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.

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