This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Who Says We Can't Make Our Own Vehicles?

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The political environment became bound up with the new economic momentum. Generally, Industrial revolution in itself is the shift, at different times in different countries, from a traditionally agricultural based economy to one based on the mechanised production of manufactured goods in large-scale enterprises.

Once it begins, industrial revolutions rarely stop. There may be a decline in the relative importance of early centres of industrial growth and significant shifts in location. This can also be the story of what is happening in Nnewi, Anambra State, south east of Nigeria; it is gradual, but the industrialisation is steady.

And one of the companies that is hugely involved in the industrialisation of the area and Nigeria in general, is Innoson Group. The company's latest foray is in the area of auto manufacturing through its Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) Company Limited. In no distance future, the company will launch its series of IVM vehicles into the Nigerian auto market. The unique thing about the vehicles is that they are wholly Nigerian made. All the parts and other raw materials are sourced locally except the engine blocks that are sourced from Toyota, China.

If the company finally pushes the vehicles into the market, which it hopes will crash the cost of vehicles in the country, it will make history of not only manufacturing world tested vehicles, but further mark the first time vehicles are manufactured locally in this part of the world. Presently, the company is manufacturing a 43-seater bus, 17-seater bus, an SUV (Jeep), pick-up trucks for various purposes, while the IVM saloon cars will soon be added in the production line.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Innoson Group, Chief Innocent Chukwuma told THISDAY in Nnewi last week that despite the fact that the vehicles are manufactured, the prices are going to be competitive and affordable. He intends to crash the cost of new vehicles in the country as he did few years ago when he crashed the cost of motor bikes when the price of the imported ones were getting astronomical for the common man on the street who needs it. At the end of the day, he said there would be no reason for one to go for second hand vehicles when he can afford new ones from the IVM range.

The journey for the Nigeria made vehicles by Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Limited did not start yesterday. It is the fruit of a long term planning and huge infrastructural investment. Incorporated in February 2007, with head office and plant located in Akwa-Uru Village in Umudim, Nnewi in Anambra State, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company, was established to produce a wide range of automotive products like cars, commercial buses, making use of substantial local input.

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