Following the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government of Nigeria and Volkswagen on the production of vehicles, full production of Volkswagen vehicles is expected to commence soon at the brand’s plant located in the Ojo area of Lagos.
Both the National Automotive Design and Development Council, (NADDC) under the leadership of the Director-General, Jelani Aliyu, and the Volkswagen Group are optimistic that the development would sustainably establish Nigeria as the automotive hub for the West African sub-region.
In a recent interview, the Managing Director of Volkswagen Group, South Africa & Head of Volkswagen Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), Thomas Schaefer, voiced this optimism, when he stated that Volkswagen and the German government believe that Nigeria has the potential to be the automotive powerhouse in West Africa by just the sheer size of its population.
“We are encouraged by the willingness and commitment of the Nigerian government to introduce policies that are conducive to re-establishing Nigeria’s automotive industry. Political will and vision are the keys to success.”
According to Schaefer, the political will on the part of the government, and the vision on the part of NADDC are the keys to these successes.
It was gathered that in the MoU, apart from Volkswagen implement a phased approach in relation to the assembly of vehicles, the auto maker would also establish a training academy in conjunction with the German government, which will train the initial employees.
The MoU also says,“The academy will also provide broader technical training in automotive skills. It is also intended that a comprehensive Volkswagen vehicle and service network is developed in Nigeria, subject to commercial viability.”
The NADDC DG has consistently maintained that the gradual reduction of imported used cars is critical to the success of the Nigerian automotive industry as this will open the market for new cars made in Nigeria.
Availability of consumer financing will be another benefit, Aliyu says, as there will be fast and competitive logistics from harbour to trucking; including efficient administrative processes, particularly involving the Customs, Schaefer added.
To ensure the sustainability of the incoming auto boom in Nigeria, NADDC, the DG said, is already working to launch a new auto finance fund to enable more Nigerians to acquire new cars and corporate/commercial organizations re-fleet their pool with new vehicles.
Massive job creation, marketing programme, standard, human capital development, local content development and carbon emission reduction/elimination are other areas that the NADDC has worked on to ensure the success and sustainability of the expected boom in Nigeria’s automotive sector.