By Theodore Opara
NIGERIA, because of its huge population has stood out, over the years as a large market, and automobiles are not left out. Different automobile brands abound, but a recurring challenge has been durability and ability to withstand our environment, road condition, temperature etc. Another challenge has been that of perception for vehicles coming from Asia, especially from China, are Chinese vehicles really durable? Can they give value for money? Are they truly comfortable to drive ?
These were the issues Elizade, a name known for quality for over 40 years, faced, when it decided to stake its name with a Chinese brand called JAC. Is the company regretting putting pen to paper for JAC? Far from it! The company is even regretting its relationship with JAC did not start earlier. JAC ranks as the number one and number four commercial and passenger car manufacturer in China respectively.
Marketing Director of Elizade, Mr. Olu Tikolo recalls that over two years ago when the company decided to distribute the JAC brand in the country, his company decided to put some units to test by giving them out to taxi drivers and fleet users.
The result of the test drive, according to him, was very satisfactory because the vehicles were subjected to daily usage on diverse and tough terrain in different parts of the country by various drivers.
The feedback, Tikolo said, was very encouraging as his company had thereafter made tremendous improvement on the different models on offer.. Reinforced suspension, fuel efficiency, efficient air conditioning system etc.
Only recently, the company decided to allow auto journalists to flog the car in Lagos. The J5 offers the comfort that far surpasses its price and look. It is a comfortable sedan.
Around Lagos roads, the car was able to withstand some of the bad roads and pot holes that the car was test-driven on. The shock absorbers did not fail!
The traffic jam on Lagos roads is nothing to worry about because of the powerful air conditioning system and smooth sounds from the auto set to keep you company.
One is also impressed with the car which comes in 1.3 litre and 1.5 litre engines, as the rear sensor is a safety feature that guides against crashes; the tyre pressure detection function and the Formica dash board finishing also add to good finishing.
The J3 may not give same comfortable features, but what stand the JAC models out is the fact that they are all coming with reinforced suspensions and fuel efficient technology.
Elizade distributes both passenger and commercial JAC vehicles. Among the passenger cars are the J5, J4, J3 and the soon to arrive Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). For the commercial segment-1.5 tonnes, 2.5 tonnes, 3.5 tonnes and 4 tonnes trucks. The J5 which is the sedan top of the range, comes with leather and cloth seats as well as automatic transmission.
Head of Elizade Autoland, saddled with the JAC brand, Mr. Ademola Adewunmi reasoned that the successes recorded so far with the JAC brand is not unconnected with the pedigree of Elizade in the auto business as well as the features of the brand.
According to him, customers automatically enjoy three years warranty or 100,000 kilometres for all models of JAC, even as his company has well trained technicians and spare parts to deal with after-sales issues.
Founded in 1964, JAC annual complete vehicle production capacity has reached 700,000, and engine production capacity of 500,000. JAC has a national level technology R&D center and established the first overseas design center of the Chinese automotive industry in Turin, Italy, in June 2005. In October 2006, JAC’s second independent overseas design center was established in Tokyo, Japan.
JAC has been constantly improving product quality and the level of management, and has been named “Recommended Brand for Export “, “The Most Competitive Brand on the Market”, “Enterprise for Exemption from Export Inspection”, and “National Quality Award”by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Machinery & Electronics Products, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China, and the China Quality Association, symbolizing the company’s product quality and management level have reached the most advanced international standards.