VON Automobiles Limited has stated its readiness to make Nigeria a hub of automobile production in sub-Saharan Africa as it announced fresh initiative to inaugurate the second phase of its resuscitated vehicle assembly plant by December.
Managing Director, VON Automobiles Limited, Mr. Tokunboh Aromolaran, who disclosed this in his presentation when the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation visited the revived plant in Lagos recently, told the visiting lawmakers who were on oversight visit that the Stallion Group had acquired controlling interest in the plant to demonstrate its commitment to the local automotive sector where it had over the years played a 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," he said.
He recalled that the retooling of the first phase of the moribund Volkswagen plant began in May/June last year and by November, the plant had rolled out the first locally assembled Ashok Leyland commuter bus.
Aromolaran said VON Automobiles had so far invested more than N2billion through direct foreign investment, spearheaded by its 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. Noting that the assemblage of potent economic team by the present administration was unprecedented in the country's history, Aromolaran said government's initiative towards stimulating commercial activities and investment inflow has been encouraging.
He disclosed that VON Automobiles which 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, according to him, means the plant could assemble various models from the select brands' stables.
House Committee chairman, Hon. Khadijia Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Who led members of his committee on the occasion, said the visit was to ascertain the level of compliance with Federal Government's directives on privatised companies.