Work starts at Ford Nige­ria

The Witness - Wheels - - TRANSPORT -

LA­GOS — 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.

Only the 2.5 petrol 4x4 dou­ble-cab base and the 3.2 TDCi XLT 4X4 Ranger mod­els will ini­tially be as­sem­bled in Nige­ria.

“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.

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.”

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,” ex­plained Nemeth.

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 said. “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.

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