Nissan canvasses vibrant automotive sector as alternative to declining oil value
Stallion NMN, manufacturers and distributors of Nissan vehicles in Nigeria has warned of impending stagnation in the country's evolving automotive sector unless the Federal Government wholly implements the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) and give deserving operators the latitude to function optimally.
Nissan Nigeria Regional Project Director, Mr. Sorin Profir gave this charge in Lagos at a media engagement to acquaint local automobile journalists of the company's successive plan of action and Nissan's accomplishment since 2014, when it rolled out the first Nissan vehicle.
Profir counselled the Federal Government to embrace the automotive industry as a viable revenue alternative to oil.
According to him, 'the automotive industry is a catalyst of growth in most global economies and we can't continue to depend on oil – reason why we should explore the inherent opportunities in automotive manufacturing,' he reasoned.
He said government should immediately implement the auto policy document and restrict gratuitous importation of vehicles that can be locally manufactured while it encourage the establishment of more ancillary industries such as tyre, battery and glass companies to accelerate the inclusion of substantial local contents.
Adding it was time Nigeria got its policy direction right, the Nissan regional director said 'on no account should the policy document be allowed to be circumvented or discarded for gratuitous reasons as many stakeholders are already waiting for policy direction to enable them kick-start their operations.'
Also commenting on the automotive policy, Stallion Nissan Nigeria Motors Plant Head, Mr. Prakash Karat said 'the plant hasn't been stretched to its installed capacity since it began operation in April 2014 but we have produced only 3,050 units of four variants of Nissan vehicles including Nissan Patrol, Almera, NP300 Pick-up trucks and NV350 commuter bus.
Stallion Nissan Motors Nigeria plant was inaugurated in April 2014 with three fully equipped assembly lines for SKD (Semi-knocked-down) components with an annual installed capacity for 15, 000 vehicles but has only produced 3,050 vehicles as of June 2015.
The Stallion NMN vehicle plant like all other conventional manufacturing concerns is driven by the principle of supply and demand and cannot carry inventory beyond particular level, Mr. Karat explained, adding that we work according to marketing requirement.
Also as consequence of the current parlous state of the economy, Mr. Karat said: 'the Nissan vehicle plant has shrunk its work force to 85 from 131 at inception, but such workers could be recalled soon as the economic downturn improves, he remarked.
He enjoined customers to be assured of the quality and standard of vehicles produced at the Nissan plant which according to him compares to similar products manufactured in overseas plants.
'We are continuing to train and retrain our service technicians in Nissan ever growing technological advancement and we acquaint them extensively in Nissan's always-changing technology. I am therefore proud to say we have some of the best technicians yet.'
The Nissan plant head who guided the automobile media round the facility at the Volkswagen Estate along Lagos-Badagry Expressway said plans are underway to transform Nissan Motors assembly plant from SKD II to a CKD tooling plant.