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Purchase of 30-seater bus tears Innoson, NAN apart

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There is a growing disagreement between local auto assembler, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited, and the News Agency of Nigeria over a 30-seater bus purchased by the latter from the former.

While NAN insists on the replacement of the bus which it considers faulty, Innoson says it will fix the fault.

The demand by NAN was made in a letter the agency despatched to Innoson even as it expressed regrets over the patronage of Made-in-Nigeria vehicles.
The letter dated January 16 and signed by the agency’s Principal Legal Officer, Mojirola Eniola, stated in part,
“Following the failure of your organisation to meet our demands for the evacuation and replacement of the faulty 30-seater bus (IVM6751) supplied to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) within seven (7) days of the receipt of our letter dated January 6, 2023, we have been left with no choice but to return the vehicle to your premises.”
NAN reports that this is the second time the agency would be rejecting the company’s vehicles due to either non-compliance with specifications or mechanical fault.
In line with the Buhari administration’s admonition to patronise local industries, the agency had some time in 2021 approached the motor vehicle plant to supply it with a 30-seater bus for its workers.
The agency had paid Innoson the sum of N49.5 million, including taxes, for the purchase of the bus on 17 November 2021.
Trouble, however, started when the company on November 16 2021, delivered the 30-seater bus said not to be in line with the specifications it reached with the agency.
The agency promptly rejected the bus and directed its solicitors to demand a replacement in line with the agreed specifications.
In its February 1, 2022 letter to Innoson through its solicitors, the agency demanded a replacement within 14 days or a face legal action.
Responding to the threat, Innoson in a letter dated February 14, 2022 apologised to NAN for the inconvenience it had caused the agency.
“We want to use this medium to apologise to your client (NAN) for any inconvenience that they may have experienced due to their complaint,” the letter signed by a director, Jonas Ojukwu, said.
Ojukwu, who in the letter claimed that his company does not sell refurbished vehicles, promised to replace the rejected vehicle.
“We will bring in a replacement brand new Innoson 30-seater bus to your client (News Agency of Nigeria) before the fourteen (14) days that you stated from the date of receipt of your letter and we shall retrieve the one supplied before now.
“We want to assure you that our business relationship will not be thwarted by any form of dissatisfaction for our desire is to serve our customers to the best of their satisfaction,” Ojukwu stated.
In spite of the assurances in Ojukwu’s correspondence, the replacement vehicle delivered to NAN on April 8, 2022 only worsened the agency’s transportation woes as it was dogged by successive mechanical faults.
Before the eventual evacuation of the vehicle to the Innoson Abuja office, the bus was said to have been lying idle on the agency’s premises for several months due to mechanical faults.
The agency’s Head of Technical Department, Aaron Miller, said the vehicle since delivery had been permanently grounded due to a faulty gearbox.
He said several appeals made to the Innoson Abuja office to evacuate the vehicle for repairs were ignored.
“We made several representations to them to repair this faulty gearbox all to no avail.
“On the three occasions their technicians showed up to ostensibly repair the vehicle, the problems persisted, causing embarrassment to the agency, ” he said.
Frustrated by the vehicle company’s noncommittal response in evacuating the vehicle, the agency issued another seven-day ultimatum to Innoson Abuja office in a letter dated 6 January.
This was to be followed by a final notice in a January 16 letter and the eventual towing of the faulty vehicle to the Abuja premises of Innoson on Tuesday after the company reneged on its pledge to evacuate the vehicle.

When a NAN correspondent contacted Ojukwu on phone, he said the bus would be repaired.

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$1bn investment recorded in auto industry – Minister

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The Federal Government has recorded more than one billion dollars’ worth of investments in the automotive industry. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said this in Abuja on Tuesday when he featured at the 20th edition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration scorecard series organsied by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

“Over one billion dollars in investment has been recorded in the automotive sector and we are ready to move on to the next phase for the automotive industry,” the minister said.

He said the review of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) was almost completed, adding that the plan was going through validation process.

Adebayo restated the ministry’s commitment toward enabling business environment to attract and retain investments.

According to him, the ministry and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) are committed to attracting and protecting investments that genuinely benefit Nigeria and its citizens.

He said that the revised Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) would boost investment.

“Nigeria has successfully revised its model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) to include a specific provision for investment facilitation, which institutionalizes the principle of assisting investors in completing their investments.

“We are proud to offer Nigeria’s first investment policy to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.

“This strategic statement, which will outline our priorities, aims, commitments, and expectations, is a turning point for the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment and Nigeria as an investment destination,” he said.

Adebayo, who said that Nigeria had Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) with Singapore, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia to attract and retain investments, said the ministry was developing more.

“We have IPPAs with Singapore, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia to attract and retain investments. The president ratified both accords on Sept. 16, 2022 and we are developing more IPPAs,” he said.

Adebayo said the ministry also distributed 5,571 acceptance certificates worth N7.7 trillion to 2,665,800 firms.

“The acceptance certificates allow businesses claim tax reduction when computing Company Income Tax.

“We also issued more than 130 Production Day Certificates, a crucial Pioneer Status Incentive step,’’ the minister said.

To further accelerate industrialisation, Adebayo said that the ministry was expediting the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) across the country.

According to him, the special economic zones will increase infrastructure availability and provide fiscal incentives for value addition.

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Famous 4×4 Grenadier coming to Nigeria, courtesy Coscharis Motors

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Coscharis Motors has announced its readiness to introduce the popular rugged off-road vehicle, Grenadier, to the Nigerian auto market.

This follows the naming of the auto company by INEOS Automotive as its official retail partner in Nigeria.

Nigeria is the sixth market in Sub-Sahara Africa to join the brand after South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana.

A statement on Monday by Abiona Babarinde, the auto firm’s General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communications, said, “The first Grenadier demonstrator vehicles are expected to arrive in Nigeria in early 2023 with customer deliveries expected to commence within the first quarter.

“All after-sales servicing will be conducted at a dedicated workshop also located in Lagos.”

Commenting on this partnership, the President/CEO of Coscharis Group, Dr Cosmas Maduka, said, “We are proud that INEOS Automotive has appointed Coscharis Motors to represent its brand in Nigeria. “This milestone marks another step in the evolution of our company. With our history and experience of the Nigerian market, we know that the INEOS Grenadier is going to be a serious player in the off-road segment.

“We have no doubt that the Grenadier has what it takes to handle Africa’s tough terrain and that it is the perfect option to meet the specific demands of those who need a capable, refined, and reliable off-road vehicle in the region. We look forward to the first customer test drives and hearing public feedback, because this vehicle is definitely going to stir things up in Nigeria.”

The statement quoted Tim Abbott, INEOS Automotive’s Head of Region South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa, as saying, “We are carefully selecting our partners across the SSA region, to find people who know their local market and customers, and also understand our brand.

“Coscharis Motors shares our belief that the INEOS Grenadier is the perfect vehicle not only for Nigeria, but for the continent. Our shared passion for off-roading, along with their excellent reputation in the automotive industry, makes it the perfect partnership for Grenadier in Nigeria.”

Coscharis says the Grenadier has been developed to be refined on the road and extraordinarily capable off-road.

“The Grenadier is powered by a choice of two straight-six, 3.0-litre BMW engines. Both the BMW B57 diesel and B58 petrol powertrains have a proven track record, regularly appearing in top ten world’s best engine lists since 2016. They have been used in everything from sports cars to SUVs.

“The two power units bring BMW’s sophistication and refinement to the Grenadier, but they have been enhanced by INEOS Automotive’s engineering team. As well as providing powerful acceleration on tarmac, they also deliver peak torque at low revs – sustaining it through the rev range – for optimal off-road performance,” it states.

It also notes that the carefully calibrated characteristics help the driver to confidently manage the vehicle’s momentum and grip without stressing the engine, ensuring full control when tackling tricky terrain.

It adds, “The refined turbo petrol engine produces 286PS (210kW) and 450Nm (332 lb ft) of torque, while the twin-turbo diesel generates 249PS (183kW) and 550Nm (406 lb ft), for even greater pulling power. Start/stop is built-in, increasing range and preserving air quality when the vehicle is stationary.

“While it is every inch a rugged 4X4, it ticks all the right boxes on the road, too. The chassis combines a five-link suspension setup with Brembo brakes and Bridgestone tyres, meaning the Grenadier is composed, well- mannered and fun to drive no matter what the terrain.”

The firm also reveals that by the end of this year, INEOS Automotive plans to have a network of more than 200 sales and service sites for the Grenadier spanning over 50 countries, including established dealer groups, 4X4 specialists and agricultural equipment dealers.

 

 

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Lagos gov, FRSC boss for Nigeria Auto Awards where Chinese, popular brands will flex muscles

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The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dauda Biu, will be special guests at the forthcoming Nigeria auto industry award.

The award scheduled to hold at the Oriental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos, on February 9, 2023 will witness the emergence of the car of year (2022), outstanding pickup and best-performing truck in Nigeria, among others, where both popular brands are competing with Chinese products.

According to the organisers, Nigeria Auto Journalists Association, other stakeholders that have also indicated interest to be part of the prestigious award ceremony are Toyota Nigeria Limited (TNL), CFAO Motors, Dangote Peugeot, Kewalram Nigeria Limitedrarf, Mikano Motors and Lanre Shittu Motors.

RT Briscoe, Elizade Autoland, Jet System, Nord Motors, Autochek, GUO Transport, among others have equally confirmed their participation in the formost auto industry event in the country.

Already, finalists have been shortlisted for the auto awards, with GAC GS4, Geely Coolray and Suzuki S-Presso nominated for the ultimate car-of-the-year award category.

NAJA Auto Awards is an annual event that celebrates auto brands across the entire industry value chain in Nigeria.

According to the awards committee, dozens of distinguished automotive journalists from different mediums selected the finalists based on their evaluation of each eligible vehicle as part of their professional work.

In the Truck-of-the-Year category, the contest will involve Sinotruk by Dangote, Shacman truck by TSS and JAC truck from Lanre Shittu Motors.

Innoson, Mikano and GAC will slug it out in the Assembly Plant-of-the-Year category.

In the luxury car segment, Porsche, Mercedes and BMW models are the front runners.

Elizade Autoland (JAC), Stallion Hyundai and CFAO Motors will battle for the outstanding auto workshop honour.

In the SUV category (compact), Kia Selto, Geely Coolray and GAC GS4 have been nominated.

For Large SUV, Toyota Land Cruiser will lock horns with GAC GS8, BMW X7 and Range Rover (Autobiography).

Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 and Ford Ranger will battle for the Best Pickup award.

Lanre Shittu (JAC truck), TSS (Shacman) and Dangote Sinotruk will also battle again for the truck plant of the year award.

Giving insights into the nominees, Chairman of the 2022 Award Committee, Rasheed Bisiriyu, said all vehicles nominated in the various categories represent exceptional value and designs.

“We are using our respected, trusted platform to recognise and acknowledge best-performing brands in different segments and categories across the entire auto value chain.”

According to him, the award event, which has now become a major industry show, celebrates and rewards automotive excellence.

He also disclosed that the Managing Director of RT Briscoe, Mr Seyi Onajide, and Deputy Managing Director of CFAO Motors, Mr Kunle Jaiyesimi, would be honoured with the Auto Personality of the year in recognition of their immense contributions to the development of Nigeria’s auto industry.

In his own comment, Chairman of NAJA, Mike Ochonma, said the auto journalist body has always believed in bringing together all the stakeholders in the automotive sector to build a stronger community and strengthen consumers’ confidence and trust in the industry and their brands.

“I would like to congratulate all the nominees for the 2022 edition and look forward to their presence at the grand ceremony,” he added.

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