The management of VON Automobiles Limited has said it would make Nigeria a hub of automobile production in sub-Saharan Africa, as it announces fresh initiative to launch Phase II of the resuscitated vehicle assembly plant by December 2012.
Mr. Tokunbo Aromolaran, managing director, VON Automobiles Limited made this remark in a presentation when the House Committee on Privatization visited the revived plant in Lagos recently.
He told the visiting legislatures who were on oversight mission that Stallion Group had acquired controlling interest in the plant to demonstrate her commitment to the local automotive sector - where it had over the years played significant role.
"The acquisition of controlling interest in VON Automobiles is in furtherance of Stallion Group's corporate vision to create value segments in the local automotive industry, where we have played significant role."
The retooling of the first phase of the moribund Volkswagen plant began in May/June 2011 and by November 2011, the plant had rolled out the first locally assembled AshokLeyland commuter bus.
Mr. Aromolaran said VON Automobiles had so far invested more than N2 billion through direct foreign investment, spearheaded by her parent company and has further made a projection of over N20billion, provided the economic landscape enhances industrial sector growth.
"The policy direction of the government with regards to port reforms, tariff structure and economic policies will determine the pace at which these ideals are realised," he said.
Also adding that the assemblage of potent economic team by the present administration is unprecedented in the country's history, Mr. Aromolaran said, government's initiative towards stimulating commercial activities and investment inflow has been encouraging.
VON Automobiles who recently secured assembly arrangements with Ashok Leyland of India, Hyundai of Korea, Volkswagen of Germany and FOTON of China employs about 300 Nigerians directly and indirectly. This by implication means that the plant could assemble various models from the select brands' stables.
Mr. Aromalaran is however convinced that the first phase of the plant is in full swing, refurbished and installed with new production machines for efficient operation.
"We reiterate that the core activity of VON Automobile Nigeria Limited is the assembly of automobiles and manufacture of automobile components required to economically facilitate local production. This implies substantial local value added, gradual substitution of locally manufactured components for goods hitherto wholly imported," he affirmed.
The legislatures who were led by the chairman, House Committee on Privatization, Hon. Khadijia Bukar Abba Ibrahim said the visit was to ascertain the level of compliance with Federal Government's directives on privatized companies.