By Moses Akaigwe 08072100049
With foreign exchange scarcity and recession in the Nigerian economy inhibiting progress in the auto industry, government should introduce a package of incentives to encourage investors in the sector to remain in business.
This was the view canvassed by the Managing Director of Toyota Nigeria Limited (TNL), Mr. Kunle Ade-Ojo, while reacting to the low tempo of activities in the local auto industry and the constraints of importers of fully built vehicles.
Ade-Ojo, who was interacting with the press at TNL’s head office recently, bemoaned the present situation where auto companies cannot source foreign exchange, which has led to a sharp drop in vehicle imports from January to September this year, compared to the corresponding period last year.
“Last year, the whole market brought about 15,000 and this year, we are struggling to bring in 6,000, which is a major decline as far as importation is concerned,” the TNL boss said, disclosing that total sales last year was about 31,000, even as this year, “we are forecasting about 15,000. So, everybody has sort of gone down.”
Bringing it closer home, he disclosed that TNL sold about 7,000 vehicles in 2015, “but we are forecasting about 4,000 vehicles this year.”
Local assembly plants are not spared, for, according to him, the scarcity of foreign exchange has slowed down and, in some cases, completely halted the production of vehicles in the existing facilities in the country.
Ade-Ojo, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to introduce tax relief for operators in the industry to stimulate the sector towards contributing to the revival of the economy.
According to him, tax incentives have been applied successfully by other countries facing recession, and it would go a long way in reversing the precarious situation auto companies currently operate in.
He said, if government does not assist the sector with incentives, many companies would be forced out of business and this would be counter-productive in the current efforts to stabilise the economy.
He also noted that it has been a tough year, but TNL was doing everything necessary to make the best out of a bad situation.
As 2017 beckons, te TNL managing director does not foresee an immediate end to the lull in the market.
“Foreign exchange will continue to be a major issue, and also the price of vehicles because, between January and now, prices of vehicles have more or less doubled from where they used to be. Some of us have had to go to the black market to source foreign exchange and this has a major impact on vehicle prices,” he said.
Ade-Ojo stated that his company would be exploring other options for business growth and consolidation, as more emphasis would be placed on after-sales services: “We are not just an organisation that sells vehicles, because we are also in the business of maintaining those vehicles. From next year, one of our major emphasis would be the after-sales service aspect of the business. We will be focusing on it more than ever before, because people are going to be using their vehicles much longer.”
GAC to unveil new GS4 SUV in Lagos today
Chinese automaker, GAC Motors, will today unveil its new model, the GS4 sport utility vehicle, at the Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos, to a select gathering of stakeholders in the auto sector, captains of industry, political leaders and heads of corporate organisations.
Apart from showcasing the new prime SUV, the event, which the organisers say would have ceremonial splendour this evening, would afford the GAC distributor in Nigeria, CIG Motors, the opportunity of acquainting guests with the progress made with the brand in the country.
The success story would include setting in motion the implementation of a backward integration project in compliance with the Federal Government’s industrialisation plan, which has led to the establishment of a plant in the Ojota area of Lagos, where the GS4 is assembled.
CIG, in partnership with GAC China, is training hundreds of young Nigerians in the automobile industry with a keen interest in advancing knowledge acquisition and technology transfer.
The GS4 has recorded many firsts, including GS4 scoring 80.68 points in the C-ECAP assessment and it became the first SUV model to receive the gold medal. A total of nine cars have been awarded gold and silver medals since C-ECAP was established.
It is the only model by a Chinese brand and the only SUV with a clear leading advantage in low emissions while ensuring optimal performance and safety.
C-ECAP was launched in 2015 and assesses overall automobile impact on the environment and ecosystem by evaluating five basic indexes, harmful substances, in-car air quality, in-car noise, combined fuel consumption and vehicle emission as well as three additional reports in recycling rate, factory greenhouse gas emissions and components life cycle.
This best-selling model has optimal fuel efficiency with a combined fuel consumption of 6.3 L/100 km (37.3 MPG) and only 36dB in idling noise to provide undisturbed driving space for car owners.
Giving more insight into the GAC brand, the chairman of CIG Motors, Chief Diana Chen, said: “Applying sustainable and eco-friendly technologies in vehicle production and automotive decoration is one of our primary goals. All cars manufactured by GAC Motor follow the highest standards and use only the best quality and environment-friendly materials.”
Besides low fuel consumption and emission, GAC Motors creates a green and comfortable driving environment in its vehicles by continuously improving the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) and achieving zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) emission in interior trimming.
BMW woos customers with free service, sponsors golf tourney
For lovers of the iconic BMW, this season’s gift packages will come in more ways than price discounts or even hampers. This is because Coscharis Motors, marketer of the German brand in Nigeria, is offering two years free service on every unit of car purchased this Yuletide.
The Christmas package was unwrapped by the General Manager, Marketing, Mr. Abiona Babarinde, during the recent BMW Golf National Championship at the Lakowe Lakes Golf Club, Lagos.
Babarinde, who told guests at the event that they could choose from the line-up of BMW cars on display or visit any of the showrooms across the country, disclosed that part of the offer on every purchase “is one-year 50 per cent comprehensive insurance.”
He said: “We are offering a two-year complementary service and free insurance for any purchase or commitment within this Yuletide period.”
The BMW Golf National Championship, hosted by Coscharis Motors, was designed to reward “golf-playing customers and select the gross winner” to represent BMW Nigeria at the BMW World Golf International in Dubai next year.
The overall gross winner and national representative, Tunji Adebayo, finished in third place in the men’s Category 1, but achieved gross 79 to emerge the overall winner. He will be representing BMW Nigeria in Dubai at the Emirates Golf Club, from March 5 to 10, 2017.
Other winners in men’s Category 1 were: Boniface Obieze, first place, with nett 70, and Michael Ikpoki, second place, with nett 73. For men’s Category 2, first place went to Tony Tan with nett 73, Femi Monehin (nett 74), second place, and Paul Brisibe (nett 77) third place.
Winners in the women’s category are: first position, Rev. Mrs. Tshola Williams (nett 79); Toyin Martins, in second (nett 82) and Chinyelu Onochie, in third, with nett 87.
Welcoming the guests, President/CEO of Coscharis Motors, Dr. Cosmas Maduka, remarked that, as the exclusive representative of BMW in Nigeria, Coscharis considered it a privilege to host the brand’s loyal customers and prospects in a relaxed environment.
Maduka, who was represented by the Group Executive Director, Operations, Mr. Fred AmobI, said: “Our expectation is that our top winner from this national qualifier will not only represent us at the BMW World Golf, but will return as the first ever winner of the major from sub-Sahara Africa”.