Nigeria's long quest for a made in Nigeria Car, seems on the verge of bearing fruit, as the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing company (IVM), draws close to completing its Automobile factory in Nnewi.
The new factory will assemble up to 100 vehicles a day, using about 30% local content at start of operations, which will be scaled up to the world average of 60% local content as the operation builds. The remainder content will be sourced as CKD (completely knocked down) parts imported from China's Wuling Auto.
Innoson, a giant local manufacturer of plastic goods, motorcycles and 3-wheelers, already has a workforce of 3,000, and is reported to have already produced over 260 units of mini/midi vans and luxurious buses, many of which are being used satisfactorily by inter-state transporters all over the country, as well as SUVs ("Jeeps").
The launch of the new plant is expected to drop the price of the mini buses and trucks to under ₦1 million, as well as impact the nation's various other manufacturing and job producing sectors in a positive way.
Responding to questions on quality assurance by delegations of impressed visiting Government representatives, the Chairman of the Innoson group, Chief Innocent Chukwuma says:
"Every item I put in my vehicles is high in quality, so that the product will be durable and able to compete favourably with others in the market".
He also explained that every finished product - mini, midi, luxury bus, pick-up or SUV, is tested from lowest to highest speed without the vehicle moving an inch, in an in-house simulator, under conditions similar to the real road situation.
The Enugu State Government is reported to have ordered for close to 100 units of city buses, to be used in the next phase of its transport scheme, even as the FG has promised to support the Automaker, with enabling environment and demand.