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Stakeholders seek collaboration to revive automobile sector

By Benjamin Alade
24 February 2023   |   4:08 am
Stakeholders have called for concerted efforts to rev up activities in the automobile industry. The sector, which is being faced with the challenge of implementing successfully the standard automotive policy...

Senior Product Manager, Autochek West Africa, Ayobola Adedayo (left); Head of Operations, Autochek Nigeria, Babajide Oresegun; Marketing Associate, Autochek Nigeria, Omolara Awojobi; Senior Underwriting and Credit Manager, Autochek Phillip Ayere after receiving the “Online Auto Finance Company of the Year Award” from the Nigerian Auto Journalists Association (NAJA) in Lagos. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

Stakeholders have called for concerted efforts to rev up activities in the automobile industry. The sector, which is being faced with the challenge of implementing successfully the standard automotive policy, which is aimed at incentivising local assembling of automobiles, has been undergoing review initiated by the current administration.

Speaking at the Nigeria Auto Journalist Association (NAJA) awards in Lagos, the Deputy Managing Director of CFAO Motors, Kunle Jaiyesimi, lamented that despite the huge investments made by various companies, following the introduction of the Automotive Policy, the industry has remained in a near sleepy state.

He made the remarks while giving vote of thanks on behalf of award recipients at the event. The awardees include Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Stallion Motors, CIG Motors (whose GAC GS4 won the Car of the Year (COTY), Mikano Motors, Dangote Peugeot, Toyota Nigeria, R. T. Briscoe, Coscharis Motors, as well as Lanre Shittu Motors, among others.

Jaiyesimi and R.T. Briscoe Nigeria Plc Group Managing Director/CEO, Seyi Onajide, were both honoured at the awards with Auto Personality of the Year. The CFAO DMD said it was disturbing that many of the automakers invested billions in both naira and dollars to set up assembly facilities that are currently operating at the lowest levels of their installed capacities.

He, therefore, called on stakeholders and umbrella bodies in the industry to come together and strategise on how to redirect the attention of the government to the situation to activate the plants.

Onajide decried the lethargic implementation of the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP). He said it was unfortunate that some of the measures that came with the policy have been implemented in a way that it is now more expensive to assemble vehicles in Nigeria than it is to import fully built units.

General Manager, Mikano Motors, Ralph Haidar, said competition was getting better with new brands in the industry.

“We are looking at the revamp of the automotive policy. We hope that the economy will get better in 2023, so we can do business successfully.”

Also reviewing the industry in an interview, the Executive Director of Lanre Shittu Motors, Taiwo Shittu, called on government to activate the relevant parts of the NAIDP, which provides for the encouragement of auto content manufacturers to set up production facilities in Nigeria to feed the local assembly plant with inputs.

Shittu said: “Government must initiate policies that will make component manufacturers come to Nigeria and build factories. There is a big market for them here. But, there is no policy yet to make them come.”

Award winners
Apart from Innoson and Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and JAC were also among various auto brands that received award plaques at the 11th (2022 edition of) the awards. Over 30 awards were presented in various categories at the event.

Other winners were Lanre Shittu Motors, CFAO Motors, R.T. Briscoe, Mikano, Elizade Autoland, Stallion Motors, Coscharis, Jet Systems and Autochek.

The event, which was attended by eminent personalities in the industry, including a representative of the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dauda Ali Biu, saw GAC GS4 winning the COTY award.

Predictably, one of the biggest awards of the night, the Assembly Plant of the Year, went to the Nnewi-based indigenous automaker, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Co. Ltd, represented by the General Manager (Sales), Obum Osigwe.

The three-pointed star of the Mercedes-Benz brand, distributed in Nigeria by Weststar Associates Ltd, represented by a staff member stepped out to receive the Luxury Brand of the Year award. Toyota Land Cruiser was adjudged the SUV of the Year, while Range Rover (Autobiography) clinched the Luxury SUV trophy.

Also at the award night, Toyota Hilux was named the Pickup of the Year, while the Mini Bus award also went to Toyota Nigeria for its popular Hiace. The awards were received by the Manager Advert and Public Relations, Bukky Ogunnusi, and the Marketing Manager, Bayo Olawoyin.

The Chinese Bus of the Year award went to Foton View C2 provided for the Nigerian market by Kewalram.
Suzuki S-Presso picked the Budget Car award, while JAC J7 drove home with the Outstanding Design prize.
It was double for Lanre Shittu as its JAC plant won in both the Truck Plant and Large Truck categories.
Mikano Motors Division’s showroom on Adeola Odeku Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, won the award for the best showroom.

Stallion Bajaj Keke Ltd was declared the winner in the three-wheeler segment, while Stallion Motors was also named the Multi-brand Assembler of the Year.
Jet System received the Electric Auto Company plaque; just as Micking emerged the Oil brand winner; while Nord won the Best Innovative Auto Company award. Autochek got the prize for online auto finance and marketing.

The duo of R.T. Briscoe and Mandilas Motors were honoured as the most resilient auto companies, and the General Manager, Mandilas Mobility Division, Kemi Koyejo, received the award on behalf of the latter (Mandilas).

The new Peugeot franchise owner in Nigeria, which also operates an assembly plant in Kaduna – Dangote Peugeot – won the Most Resilient Auto Brand award, which was received by Okey Nwankwo of Dangote Group’s head office in Lagos. Popular road transport company, GUO Transport, was also on the awardees’ list.
The organisers also honoured, albeit posthumously, the late Vice President of Coscharis Group, Mrs. Charity Maduka, and the late Chairman of Globe Motors, Willie Anumudu, for contributing to the growth and development of Nigeria’s auto industry.

The Executive Director, Special Duties and After-sales, Coscharis Motors, Cosmas Junior Maduka, and General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communication, Abiona Babarinde, represented the Madukas and Coscharis Group, while Globe Motors Managing Director, Victor Oguamalam, represented the Anumudus and the company.

The late Mrs. Maduka and her husband, Dr. Cosmas Maduka, built Coscharis from zero to one of the biggest business empires in Nigeria today with investments in various sectors.

Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of NAJA, Mike Ochonma, said the awards were to recognise remarkable performances of auto brands, assembly plants and personalities that are creating value in the sector based on set criteria.

The criteria, according to him, include brand value, market leadership and business strategy against their peers in the past year under review. Commenting on the awards, Jaiyesimi commended NAJA for its consistency over the years, noting that the recognition by the association was an indication that various contributions by stakeholders do not go unnoticed.

Speaking specifically on the award presented to CFAO, Jaiyesimi said: “It is gratifying that our many years of commitment and mindful service with our clients’ needs at heart, are still yielding great results.

“We are deeply honoured to receive this award. To be recognised by NAJA, an umbrella body for auto journalists in Nigeria is a fulfilling achievement for us. This award is about defining our role towards creating value for our employees, customers, shareholders, communities and society at large.”

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