Nigeria seems to be on the track towards becoming vehicles manufacturing country again as local production has increased to 45,000 units per year, up 80 per cent from 25,000.
Based on this growth, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has projected that the Nigerian auto industry is expected to produce about four million cars annually by 2050.
Also, with this development, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, Chairman, Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Limited (IVM) said in no future, Nigeria will manufacturing cars for the whole of Africa.
LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that in the 1980s, about 120,000 brand new vehicles were being assembled in the country by six assembling plants made up of two car plants and four commercial vehicle plants.
The industry collapsed when government embraced World Trade Organisation’s free trade policy and opened up the country’s borders to imports, including second hand vehicles.
LEADERSHIP Sunday investigation revealed that the industry is gradually picking up again as data from National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) has revealed.
The NADDC document notes: “Up until 2015, Nigeria imported about 400,000 vehicles (100,000 new and 300,000 used) valued at $4.2 billion. Local production capacity is about 300,000, but utilisation is currently at about 15 per cent of installed capacity. This translates to 45,000 units of vehicles per annum”.
Although it did not give detailed breakdown of the units of vehicles each company produces, NADDC said, “The response to the federal government’s automotive policy by the new investors so far has exceeded our expectations.
“The current status of implementation of the policy is that the 14 existing assembly plants like VON, PAN, Innoson, Anammco and Leyland-Busan had started assembling new products in 2014, and new ones were established, assembling the following: Nissan, IVM, Peugeot, Hyundai, Honda, Kia, VW, Ford, Changan, GAC, Cars, SUV and light commercial vehicles;Hyundai, IVM, Nissan and Ashok-Leyland buses; MAN, IVM, Sino, Shacman, MAN, FAW, Aston, Foton Forland and Isuzu Trucks; and Proforce armoured vehicles. The total installed capacity is over 300,000 units per annum.
“By December 2014, the existing assembling plants had commenced operation at various capacity levels to offer existing brands out of new relationship with new Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)”.
LEADERSHIP Sunday further learnt that the existing plants owners are being hindered to fully utilize their production capacities now due to some bottlenecks.  Engr. Luqman Mamudu, Director, Policy and Planning at NADDC, said that one of the problems was logistics.
He explained: “To order your Semi Knocked Down, SKD, and Completely Knocked  Down, CKD, from the sources take quite a while, and the bureaucracy is strangulating, so you  find that most of the operators are not able to get their inputs, that is the kits, into their plants as at when due.
”We also have the problem of second hand vehicles. Something needs to be done about this influx of second-hand vehicles, because second-hand vehicles reduce the market that is available to local investors”.
However, a PWC report presented by a partner at the firm, Mr. Andrew Nevin, explained that the projected growth requires sustained and effective investments in the auto industry, made only possible by the government implementing political, economic and legal policies that create a suitable environment for such investments.
Nevin who did the official presentation of the PWC auto industry report, during a seminar organised by the automobile and allied product group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) recently said, “We created three scenarios in this case depending on growth rate and the government support to the auto industry, By 2050, production in this country will hit almost seven million vehicles and imported used vehicles popularly referred to as ‘Tokunbo’ cars will become non-existent by 2034 as a direct result of local production.
“We believe that by 2050, Nigeria should produce over 4 million vehicles. We have also created a pessimistic scenario, which is the third scenario because the world might not turn out the way we think, but even with the pessimistic scenario, Nigeria will be producing about two million vehicles. Essentially, PWC is saying that by 2050, Nigeria is going to be a market that makes at least four million new vehicles a year and would also stop importation of used vehicles.
“There is also going to be the need for experienced car people, Nigeria can achieve its potential to produce over seven million cars by building and working with people that really understand the industry. We believe that the Nigerian auto industry in 2050 would be producing up to four to seven million cars, but it needs the support of the government policies and the industry to do the right things”.
Speaking recently at the 9th Bola Tinubu Colloquium, with the theme: ‘Make It in Nigeria”, Chukwuma, chairman of IVM, said, “Most of the companies in Nigeria are assembling cars, but IVM doesn’t assemble, we are manufacturing cars, not assembling. We are manufacturing cars with the support of Nigerians and after sometime, Nigeria will be manufacturing cars for the whole of Africa”.

Source: Leadership