By Theodore Opara
FOREMOST automobile marketing company in Nigeria, Globe Motors has started production of Hyundai and Higer brands of vehicles in its assembly plant in Lekki, Lagos.
Located along Eleko-Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos, the plant for now, has an installed capacity of 6,000 vehicles annually which the company says can also be increased depending on market forces. Globe Motors is among the 30 accredited local auto manufacturers in Nigeria by the National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, under the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan, NAIDP.
The company had barely three years ago announced plans to set up a multi auto assembly plant at the cost of 200 million US dollars which many thought was an impossible task. But the plant has become a reality as brand new Hyundai and Higer Vehicles have started to roll out of the plant.
In a chat with newsmen at the plant recently, Managing Director of the company, Mr. Victor Oguamalam, explained how they worked tirelessly to make the dream a reality.
“Though we are not producing at installed capacity, we started production at the plant since 2017. We currently have an annual installed capacity of 6,000 vehicles at the plant, but daily production is subject to market and other forces,” he said.
According to the managing director, over 50 staff are working in plant including engineers, technicians and administrative staff.
For now, he said, the company is operating at Semi Knock Down (SKD) level and plans to move to Complete Knock Down (CKD) stage as soon as possible. Globe Motors assembly plant boasts of experienced engineers who have worked in leading automobile companies and attended courses abroad.
Mr. Oguamalam noted that the company has qualified staff manning the plant, while Hyundai and Higer experts from Korea and China respectively are always on ground to give backup to the local staff.
“Before we started assembling, Hyundai engineers came and set up the plant, trained our staff for months and we took it up from there. They came in two batches, made up of group of engineers who installed the equipment and set up the assembly lines and the marketing department who took our staff on the marketing aspects of the business. Even the engineers who came to put us through were amazed at the competence of our staff. They confessed that technical staff in Nigeria are knowledgeable and pick faster than in other countries where they tried to set up plants”.
He attributed their ability to pick up fast to the fact that most of their staff were drawn from existing auto garages and Globe Motors workshop across the country. “You know Globe Motors is reputed for its competence in automobile maintenance and we are replicating this in our assembly plants. For over 30 years, we have been in the business of automobile so we are not new in this line of business”, he said.
Also conducting the journalists round the plant, the Plant Manager, Mr. Simon Njere, explained that the plant compares with the very best in the country. “We are well equipped with modern facilities for checking the quality of products we are producing here and our equipment are procured from Korea,” he said, adding that there are diagnostic equipment, speed tester, wheel balancing machines among others, to ensure that they conform to international standards of Hyundai and Higer brands.