Manufacturers record upsurge in new car patronage
•Applaud border closure
Stakeholders in the automobile industry have applauded the current administration over the border closure, saying it has given new cars an upsurge in patronage.
Head of Marketing, Stallion Group, Arpita Roy Luthra, who gave the commendation during the unveiling of eight-generation Hyundai Sonata in Lagos, said the way things are going, she foresees an increase in the sales of new vehicles next year.
The Federal Government recently closed the land borders, especially to avert the smuggling of goods and ammunitions that are hurting both the economy and efforts at tackling insecurity.
As one of the conditions, the government said Nigeria would not accept imported goods that were repackaged by neigbouring countries and brought into Nigeria.
This same border is also a major corridor for second-hand cars coming into Nigeria, where there is a ban on importing cars that are more than 15 years old. A report claimed that Luxembourg-based shipping company, BIM e-solutions, said that an average of 10,000 cars arrive at the Cotonou port from Europe monthly.
Arpita, who expressed optimism in the local market, said that Hyundai alone is now manufacturing more than 2,000 units. It placing the brand as one of the highest selling brands out of the new car segment figure this year that was put at about 10,000 to 11,000 units in numbers.
Only about 9,000 new vehicles were sold last year in 2018.
According to her: “Hyundai is doing more than 2,000 numbers right now and we are the highest selling new car segment, while Stallion Motors controls 45 percent of the market, with a combination of all brands together”.
The auto expert, however, advised the government to get auto policy formalised, stressing that the sooner, the better.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, had recently announced a fresh start for the auto policy at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) 2019 Presidential Policy Dialogue.
According to the minister, the bill prepared by the former administration was not received at the National Assembly; hence the plan to engage all stakeholders in the industry to get it right this time around.
She said: “We have invested so much into assembly plants but the number we are doing does not really justify the investments. That means, this industry has a potential. The policy should favour taxation that is conducive for investors in local assembly.
Speaking on the future of automotive market, she said: “Yes. I foresee an increase in sales next year. In fact, we are very happy with the kind of direction the government is taking. One is the closure of land borders, so that has boosted our businesses. When you are getting it through the authorised routes, it becomes a fair playing game for stakeholders. It is basically your service, your product features that stand out and that makes you end up gaining more market shares.
“In the future, we are looking at larger business. The economy and industry are on a growth surge right now. I think 2020 will be a great year. It has really boosted our business and we thank the government for it,” she said.
On why the brand is doing well in the market, she said: “It has to do with the value for money because with the kind of amount that you pay and the features there are much better if you compare it across the segment. I mean Hyundai continues to consistently renew itself every six months and one year. That’s why you find new models coming up. Because of that, people have a lot of choices because the range is very wide, depending on the budget that you have. You can pick up sedan, saloon or SUV range”.
Corroborating Arpita, Head, Sales and Marketing, Hyundai Motors, Gaurav Vashisht, said government’s action in terms of border closure has improved their business.
For this, Vashisht assured that Hyundai will bring in two new models in the first quarter of 2020; one Hyundai Palacia and another small SUV.
“Come next year in the first quarter, we will be having a new flagship model from Hyundai. It will be available here and it is called Hyundai Palacia. At the same time, we will bring in a small SUV. These two models will be available in the first quarter of next year,” he said.
He noted that “In the current line-up, our 30 per cent sales comes from Hyundai Creta which is the hot cake for Hyundai. Most of the people go for the Creta for the reason that, it is far from the ground and 1.6 crossover, which makes it fuel efficient. It gives a feeling of a small compact SUV but it gives you the economy of a saloon car. People are more interested in Hyundai Creta”.
“Sonata celebrates innovative coupe-like silhouette. A short overhang, sloping roofline and low deck lid create a balanced feel, and Hyundai’s signature chrome accent now goes all the way into the hood, making it look even longer. It also has LED lighting built in. These cues bring the Sensuous Sportiness design to life,” Vashisht said.
“The new Sonata has a much sportier look than its predecessor, with a 30 mm lower height and a width extended by 25 mm. Its wheelbase is enlarged by 35 mm, and its whole length by 45 mm. The new Sonata’s frontal section is defined by two elements: a bold, voluminous shape evoking a smooth sphere and a cleanly demarcated hood.
“Furthermore, the Digital Pulse Cascading Grille, which resembles the grille of a sports car with its rhythmic visuals, is sleekly connected to the hood, strengthening the overall perception of the front. Lighting Lamps—the first for a Hyundai vehicle—are a chief design innovation that incorporates state-of-the-art lighting technology, forming the Sonata’s light architecture. The Hidden Lighting Lamps appear to be of a chromic material when switched off and become dramatically lit when turned on.
“The light architecture was initially revealed through Hyundai’s HDC-2 concept car at the Busan Motor Show in June last year. It was created by fleshing out the form of the lamp and making it into a powerful design element. Along with the Sensuous Sportiness concept, the light architecture defines the design identity of future Hyundai cars,” Vashisht said.
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