Globe Motors has unveiled plans to release a new set of Hyundai and Higer brands of vehicles which were assembled at its plant in Lagos, Nigeria. The once flamboyant automobile industry in Nigeria, which became comatose owing to some internal crises in the 1990s, is springing back to life owing to fresh policies put in place by the federal government to assuage importation of cars and boost local manufacturing.
The Managing Director, Mr Victor Oguamalam, in an interview with journalists at the plant, said that their team of over 50 highly skilled technicians and other personnel, with help from Hyundai and Higer experts from Korea and China, had been working tirelessly to achieve it.
The government introduced a new set of policies to revive the industry, most of which were amended from those introduced in August 1993 with input from the National Automotive Council (NAC), the Nigerian Automobile Manufacturers Association (NAMA) and car makers such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan of Japan. These also identify locations for auto manufacturing, create auto training centers and urge cooperation with universities to train future auto engineers.
As a result of this, Globe Motors which is one of the over 30 local automakers in Nigeria accredited by the National Automotive Design and Development Council under the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan to assemble vehicles, entered into partnership with Higer Bus Company of China to build the ultra-modern vehicle assembly plant at the cost of $200 million in Eleko-Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos.
The Managing Director, while fielding questions from journalists said the plant was set up by Hyundai engineers, who also provided training for members of their staff before handing it over to them. “They came in two batches made up of a group of engineers who installed the equipment and set up the assembly lines as well as the marketing department,” said Mr Oguamalam. He added that the engineers who came through to train them commended the technical workers for their ability to grasp quickly.
On the other hand, he also attributed the indigenous workers’ abilities to the fact that most of them were picked from existing auto garages and Globe Motors’ workshop across the country. He explained that the plant is not producing at installed capacity but production had started in earnest. They currently have an annual installed capacity of 6,000 vehicles at the plant, which could be increased, and the daily production is subject to market demand and other forces.
The Plant Manager, Mr Simon Njere, pointed out that the plant compared with the very best in the country, adding that they are well equipped with modern facilities for checking the quality of products being produced there. According to him, the plant comprises diagnostic equipment, speed festers, wheel balancing machines, among others, which meet international standards. Adding that they are yet to receive any complaint from customers since the commencement of production and he sees the company moving from the Semi Knock Down level to the Complete Knock Downstage soon.