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Nigerian businesses deserve tax rebate – Nnazor, CEO, Ken-Benz Auto

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Chikelu Luke Nnazor is the Vice President of Berger Business Community in Lagos and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Ken-Benz Auto Limited. He spoke with Dada Jackson on the impact of the fluctuating exchange rate on business, among other topical issues

What exactly do you do at Berger Suya Heavy Trucks Spare Parts Market?

We sell spare parts mainly for heavy duty trucks and marine equipment. In addition, at the Berger Suya market, we don’t sell spare parts meant for saloon cars or SUVs but only for heavy duty vehicles. Some people have asked me if we sell Suya (roasted meat) and I tell them emphatically that we do not sell such things here. Also, the difference between us and those at the Ladipo spare parts market is essentially in the weight of the kind of spare parts we sell here.

Why did you choose to go into the sale of heavy duty vehicle spare parts and not the saloon or luxury cars?

Let me say that it runs in the family. For instance, you would see a doctor, lawyer, or engineer whose children take after them Even some military men want their children to be soldiers. But to answer your question directly, one of my relations introduced me to the business. It might interest you to know that for you to learn the business, you would spend at least seven years. Another interesting thing about learning this business is that any body who is interested in learning this business must have passion for it. It is not about the amount of money you have but the knowledge you have for the business. Also, it requires little or no capital. Even if you don’t have money, you can go into the business and before you know it, you’ve hit it big. Let me make abundantly clear here that if you don’t have the faintest knowledge of the business and you think because you have money and you dabble into it, you may get your fingers burnt.

What are the challenges that you face in doing this business?

As far as life is concerned, we can’t do without having one form of challenge or the other but what matters is our ability to overcome these challenges. It is important to point out here that any man who in the journey of life has not encountered any challenge should reexamine his lifestyle. In a nutshell, we have challenges confronting us in the course of our business but they are no doubt surmountable. Let me mention here that the major challenge for me is betrayal. How do I mean? A situation where you entrust someone with your goods and such an individual now shortchanges you or refuses to release such goods to you. What more could be a betrayal than this. There are so many challenges but as for me, I put my trust in God; incidentally, that’s our company’s motto.

How has the exchange rate affected your doing business?

Let me say unequivocally that the fluctuating exchange rate has affected our business negatively to the extent that most times we run at a considerable loss. For example, if the rate of the Naira to the Dollar is N450-$1 and you now place your order, by the time the goods arrive in the country and the rate has gone up, tell me what wound be the profit margin; absolutely nothing because what such an individual would be thinking of is how to recoup his money and not about making any profit. The exchange rate of the naira to the dollar is very high and this has slowed down our business activities. In a nutshell, it has done more harm than good to our business. I appeal to government to cushion the effect by giving us tax rebate.

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CIG upgrades Lagos auto plant to CKD, plans 5,000 vehicles yearly

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A new auto assembly plant being constructed by CIG Motors Company Limited in conjunction with the Lagos State Government has been upgraded from Semi-Knocked Down (SKD) vehicles to Complete Knocked Down vehicle components (CKD), the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said.

The governor disclosed this on Thursday during an inspection of the construction work at the Ogba project site, adding that the plant to assemble GAC brand of vehicles, would be ready by the end of this year.

The governor was received by the Chairman of the CIG Motors, Chief Diana Chen.

A statement by Gboyega Akosile, the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, said Sanwo-Olu, who inspected the fully equipped assembly hall already constructed in the assembly yard, said the plant would produce 5,000 new vehicles and gradually increase to 10,000 units annually.

Part of the statement read, “Sanwo-Olu’s visit came 17 months after the governor formally sealed a Joint Venture Agreement with the automobile company for the establishment of a vehicle assembly plant in the state.

“The plant, expected to be delivered by the end of the year, will have a jointly-run factory for the production of different classes of brand new cars.

“Establishment of the vehicle assembly plant in Lagos was part of the bilateral agreements reached by the state government and Chinese investors’ community in November 2019 during Sanwo-Olu’s business trip to China.

“IBILE Holdings Limited, a state-owned corporation, is supervising the investment on behalf of the Lagos State Government.

“Other ancillary facilities already in place in the yard include wheel balancing chamber, spraying booths, maintenance hall, noise testing chambers, sprinkling arena to test for roof leakage, staff lounge and auto parts warehouse.”

The statement quoted Sanwo-Olu as saying, “This is one of the things we promised Lagosians. Apart from our relationship with CIG Motors, there is a partnership in which we are setting up a vehicle assembly plant.

“This is becoming a reality, as the site is live with structures and assembly equipment. The place has been well prepared for the production of vehicles. We initially agreed it would be SKD (Semi Knocked Down) but now the facility has moved to CKD (Completely Knocked Down).

“We are hoping that their first plan is to have a production capacity of 5,000 vehicles, after which it will be pushed to 10,000 vehicles per year.

“We are happy with the level of work at the site and the commitment of our partner to this project. The plan is that we want to stop buying fully built vehicles from abroad; we want to be able to have an assembly line where we can employ our citizens in an automobile production chain.”

According to him, the automobile assembly plant will create employment opportunities for local skilled workers, as 95 per cent of the workforce would be sourced locally.

“Also, some of the parts used in the assembly plant would be sourced locally, including air conditioning system, valves, ball joints, bolts and nuts, and batteries.”

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Ford to use renewable energy sources for vehicles

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Ford Motor Company has said every vehicle it manufactures in Michigan will be assembled using solar and other renewable energy sources as from 2025 in order to lower their emissions.

Ford Motor, General Electric and Xerox are among more than 90 companies and organizations that pledged in February to reduce their carbon emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2030—without the use of offsets.

Already, Reuters reports that Michigan-based Ford has signed a renewable energy purchase pact with local provider DTE Energy, under which the utility firm will add 650 megawatts of new solar energy in the state for the automaker.

Ford operates three plants in Michigan at Dearborn, Wayne and Flat Rock that build the F-150, Mustang, Ranger and Bronco models.

Ford and other firms made that ambitious commitment as part of the US Department of Energy’s Better Climate Challenge programme.

In addition to helping the environment, the new initiative could help companies save money, foster innovation and add a new dimension to corporate activism.

John Savona, Ford’s vice president for manufacturing and labour affairs, said in a statement, “We’re proud to be the first automaker to join the Better Climate Challenge and to continue our commitment to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from our US manufacturing facilities.

“We’re acting now to develop a ultra-efficient, closed-loop manufacturing system, creating jobs here in the United States. And we’re sharing what we learn to help other businesses and drive to a zero-emissions transportation future that’s good for people, good for business, and good for the planet.”

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Porsche Taycan Turbo S sets new EV production record, beats Tesla MSP

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Porsche Taycan Turbo S has set a new record for the fastest production of an electric car, beating the previous record of seven minutes and 35 seconds set by Tesla Model S Plaid by a wide margin.

The automaker stated this on Wednesday, saying it went faster than Koenigsegg CCX or CCR and managed to match the Porsche 911 GT3 RS with its seven minutes and 33 seconds.

The new Nurburgring record, according to arenaev.com, is official and the car was a stock vehicle apart from the compulsory roll cage.

The weight of the car is said to be identical with a production model but the performance can be attributed to the latest Performance Kit from Porsche.

It notes that the improvement is quite magnificent – last time Taycan Turbo went around Nordschleife in seven minutes and 42 seconds.

The report says the Performance Kit will be available from December but in Germany only for now and only for the 2023 Porsche Taycan Turbo S.

With the 2023 cars being already delivered to customers, Porsche plans to offer retrofitting to existing owners, it adds.

Although it is technically road legal, the Pirelli P Zero Corsa had been really designed for track use only and Porsche suggests its customers should swap the wheel and tyre package for the standard road wheels once off the race track. This won’t affect the Performance Kit as the new software can recognize the grip levels and adjust all parameters accordingly.

The report says, “The Performance Kit doesn’t change the power output or add any new aero parts. It is simply a set of 21” RS-Spyder alloy wheels wrapped in road legal Pirelli P Zero Corsa. Those are racing tyres with a special grippy compound but have road approved thread – they aren’t slick tyres.

“Another part of the Performance Kit is the updated software for PDCC – Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. The new software takes into account the grippy tires and allows for greater acceleration through the corners and improves torque vectoring.”

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