By Jonah Nwokpoku with agency reports
American carmaker, Ford said yesterday that its new assembly plant in Nigeria had built its first vehicle and would produce an initial 10 units a day for the Nigerian market.
In a statement, Ford’s sub-Sahara chief executive, Jeff Nemeth said: “The facility will accommodate one shift and will produce an initial 10 units per day for the Nigerian market, creating approximately 180 direct and indirect jobs.”
Recall that Ford Motor Company in August, 2015 announced plans to start assembling its best-selling Ford Ranger pickup truck in Nigeria by October, 2015.
Ford had said that the move was part of its expansion in Africa and the Middle East. The Nigerian assembly plant which will be in partnership with the Ford dealer, Coscharis Motors Limited is the first outside South Africa, where Ford produces the Ranger for 148 markets.
The President/CEO of Ford Motor Company, sub-Saharan Africa, Jeff Nemeth had said: “Nigeria is a priority market for us in sub-Saharan Africa. Depending on how Nigeria develops over time, we are potentially looking at using our Nigerian plant to service West Africa,” he told Reuters news agency on Tuesday.
He added that, “The auto market in Nigeria has huge potential but retails only a small amount of new vehicles annually.”
According to him, “The sector is dominated by imported used vehicles, while limited financing for consumers to buy new vehicles and the absence of an industrial policy that would encourage suppliers to set up in Nigeria have stunted growth.”
The plant located in Ikeja, Lagos will assemble the Ford Ranger using parts and components imported from South Africa. The plant will have the capacity to assemble up to 5,000 units annually, which will be sold in Nigeria.
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