Ford Motor Company yesterday unveiled the first Ranger truck to be assembled in Nigeria. It was built in an existing facility with Ford’s Nigerian partners Coscharis Group, an indigenous automobile dealer.
At the official announcement of the Ford assembly line in Lagos, its President/CEO, sub Saharan African Region, Mr. Jeff Nemeth, said Nigeria remains a significant market in Ford’s sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region and accounts for a high per cent of the regional sales – the reason the automaker is committed to increasing its market share in the country, and other key African markets in the future.
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He added that Ford’s unified growth strategy for the continent, with the formation of the new Middle East and Africa business unit last year, has also enabled the company to consolidate its efforts in Africa. The facility, he said, will accommodate one shift and will produce an initial 10 units per day for the market, creating approximately 180 direct and indirect jobs, adding that over time, there will be expansion.
Mr. Nemeth said the main driver behind Ford in Africa is affordability. “Africa is one of the youngest markets in the world and presents a huge opportunity in terms of consumption,” he said, adding that the purchasing power of consumer in the continent is on the rise as the middle class increases. “Despite infrastructure challenges, Africa has demonstrated impressive returns on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI),” he added.
He said the new assembly operations, even on a small scale, have positive knock-on effects in the local economy and work force. He added that in line with the operating procedures for Ford plants around the world, the firm will send experienced employees to the country to assist with implementing the Global Ford Production System, which focuses on the highest standards for safety, quality and delivery.
Mr. Nemeth also said Ford has taken steps to support its dealers in Africa, including after sales support and ensuring availability of spare parts. “In addition, we are looking at training and skills transfer opportunities to enhance the continent’s skills base. In Nigeria, this includes a training programme co-ordinated by Coscharis Motors and the Lagos State government including hands-on modules for technicians,” he said.
He said as part of Ford’s growth and ability to service its customers, Nigeria is already home to one quick lane facility in Lagos, with two others planned for Calabar and Ekiti next year.
Quick Lane Centres are an initiative of Ford Motor Company, with facilities that offer motorists the option of having professional maintenance performed for minor service items in the shortest time regardless of their vehicle’s brand.
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