AS PART of its ambitious expansion in Africa, Ford Motor Company assembled the first Ford Ranger in Nigeria this week. The first Ranger to come off the assembly line was built in an existing facility with Ford’s Nigerian partners Coscharis. Ford announced it would produce Ranger trucks in Nigeria in August.
“The facility will accommodate one shift and will produce an initial 10 units per day for the Nigerian market, creating approximately 180 direct and indirect jobs. Over time, this will gradually expand,” said Jeff Nemeth, President and CEO Ford Motor Company of Sub-Saharan Africa region.
“The main driver behind Ford in Africa is affordability. Africa is one of the youngest markets in the world and presents a huge opportunity in terms of consumption,” he added. “The buying power of the African consumer is on the rise as the continent’s middle class increases exponentially. Despite infrastructure challenges, Africa has demonstrated impressive returns on foreign direct investment.”
Ford’s semi-knockdown (SKD) operation in Nigeria was established in partnership with the local Ford dealer group, Coscharis Motors Limited, and is based in Ikeja, Lagos State, approximately 750km south-west of Nigeria’s capital city Abuja.
Dr Cosmas Maduka, president of Coscharis Motors, said: “We have worked hard and moved quickly to turn this dream into a reality. Today marks an important milestone when the cogs in the wheel really start to turn, not only for Ford in Nigeria, but in general for the Nigerian industry, which is receiving a much needed boost towards industrialisation and the development of the automotive industry.
“We are committed to setting the bar high, and establishing world-class, best practices in Nigeria that every other industrialist will have to be judged by. This is a major milestone for us and marks another first in the evolution of our company.”
The Ford Ranger trucks will be assembled at a semi-knockdown level, using body parts and components imported from Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in South Africa.
“New assembly operations, even on a small scale, have positive knock-on effects in the local economy and workforce. In line with the operating procedures for Ford plants around the world, Ford will send experienced employees to Nigeria to assist with implementing the Global Ford Production System, which focuses on the highest standards for safety, quality and delivery,” explains Nemeth.
Committed to growth
Nigeria is a significant market in Ford’s Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region and accounts for a solid percent of the regional sales – the reason why Ford is committed to increasing market share in Nigeria, and other key African markets in the future.
A unified growth strategy for the continent, with the formation of the new Middle East and Africa business unit in 2014, has also enabled Ford to consolidate its efforts in Africa.
“Ford has taken steps to support its dealers in Africa, including after sales support and ensuring parts availability,” Nemeth says. “In addition, we are looking at training and skills transfer opportunities to enhance the continent’s skills base. In Nigeria, this includes a training programme co-ordinated by Coscharis Motors and the Lagos State Government including hands-on modules for technicians.
Supporting Ford’s growth and ability to service its customers, Nigeria is already home to one Quick Lane facility in Lagos with a further two planned for 2016 in Calabar and Ekiti.
Quick Lane centres are an initiative of Ford Motor Company, with facilities that offer motorists the option of having professional maintenance performed for minor service items in the shortest amount of time possible and regardless of their vehicle’s brand.
Ford offers an extended service programme in Nigeria that offers free service for four-years or 120,000 km, whichever comes first. The programme, launched in 2012, was the first of its kind.
“Ford’s commitment to Nigeria is stronger than ever,” Nemeth adds. “We expect to see continued growth in the market as we move forward with plans to expand our outputs and launch new products.”
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