Nissan and Stallion Group – the West African conglomerate successfully rolled out its first made in Nigeria vehicle from its Lagos assembly plant. President Goodluck Jonathan test-drove the made-in-Nigeria Nissan SUV as part of the activities to celebrate Democracy Day on the 29th of May. The President was flanked by the Vice President Namadi Sambo and the first lady Dame Patience Jonathan. Other dignitaries present were the former President, Chief Ernest Shonekan, former Vice President Dr Alex Ekwueme, Stallion Group’s chairman Sunil Vaswani, and Nissan’s senior vice president Takashi Hata.
This is following the new automotive policy announced by the Nigerian government in 2013. The president while speaking at the occasion, urged other global car manufacturers to follow in the footsteps of Nissan.
The assembly plant according to Stallion Group’s website, “is equipped with the latest machinery and tools to be able to assemble a range of branded vehicles with the highest quality standards. The plant has the ability to produce City Buses, Pick Ups, Trucks and other similar vehicles, replacing import of fully built up vehicles”.
During the occasion, Stallion Group’s chairman, Sunil Vaswani said that, “Our long -term partnership with Nissan will continue to flourish, resulting in expansion of our capacities and product range. Several other upcoming models, including the Almera (Sunny) and pickups will shortly be made available to our valued customers in Nigeria. The commencement of assembly will also generate significant employment opportunities for Nigerians and establishment of several ancillary industries.”
Takashi Hata, Nissan’s senior vice president added that “For Nissan, Africa is our strategic growth driver. Demand for cars is growing quickly in African markets. By acting quickly to begin production in Nigeria, we are securing for ourselves first-mover advantage.”
Following the lunch, other car manufacturers including Peugeot, Kia and Tata announced that they are working tocommence the production of vehicles in Nigeria with Peugeot stating that it is looking at rolling out its first batch of made in Nigeria vehicles before the end of 2014, while Kia and Tata have both stated that they are working on setting up their manufacturing plants in Nigeria