L-R: Dy. Vice President/ Sales Head for Sub-Saharan Africa for Isuzu International, Geoffrey Mulandi; President of Isuzu Motors International, Mansoor Ahmed; Managing Director, Kewalram Chanrai Auto/Transport Vertical, Anil Sahgal, and Isuzu Country Head, Nigeria, Jijo Thomas, during the Isuzu team visit to Koncept Autos in Lagos…on Thursday
President of Isuzu Motors International FZE, Dubai, Mr. Mansoor Ahmed, has canvassed more government support for local automakers and other investors in the automobile sector to stimulate economic growth in the country.
According to him, automobile plays a vital role in a nation’s industrial development, leading to massive job creation for the teeming and aspiring youth population.
For Nigeria to play well under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, he stressed that auto component tier 1, 2 and 3 producers should be encouraged to set up factories to produce various components like tyres, batteries, suspension and trims to get the required 30 per cent local content for auto assemblers to feed other West African nations.
Ahmed spoke in Lagos on Thursday during a visit of the Isuzu executives’ team to the brand’s representative in Nigeria, Koncept Autocentre Limited, a Kewalram Chanrai group company.
The team also unveiled plans to introduce heavy-duty trucks to the Nigerian market in the next one year and woo new customers with one-year free service with a two to three-year warranty on their trucks.
The team, including Geoffrey Mulandi, Isuzu Deputy Vice President and Sales Head for Sub-Saharan Africa; and Jijo Thomas, Country Head, Nigeria, were received by the Managing Director, Kewalram Chanrai Auto/Transport Vertical, Mr. Anil Sahgal.
The Isuzu president said, “Government needs to encourage manufacturers to come into the industry. There is a need for minimum viable scale to be able to manufacture locally else the business will lose money and will not be sustainable.
“It is about providing the enabling auto policy/structure or law for incentivizing local manufacturers. To motivate investors there should be preferential treatment vs imports on local manufactured vehicles.”
He said Isuzu was focusing on Africa because the continent is rightfully considered as the last frontier of global growth.
He described Nigeria as the epicentre of the growth in Western Africa with the country’s huge population and size of its economy, the biggest in Africa.
Ahmed said, “For us, the strategic area for growth is the Middle East and Africa.
“Nigeria’s latent potential is enormous. It is a country with enormous resources, natural and human. It is blessed with oil and has a basket of multiple products in terms of what it has to export.
“Its huge population is also an advantage with the ensuing demographic dividend. Economic growth is based on population and consumption on the demand side. The country has a connected aspiring and entrepreneurial young population, a clear demographic advantage.”
Even as he affirmed that Isuzu was doing well in the light and medium-duty truck segments in Nigeria, Ahmed said there was room for expansion, and it could feed other nations in West Africa.
He said, “Nigeria is the leading economy in Africa, and it should be steering and leading others in the auto industry. How do you stimulate the industry? Truck is not easy to produce; we are talking about 6,000 to 10,000 parts. There is the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) level; there are Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3.
“Right now, a market for just 3,000 new trucks is still a small size and insufficient for large investments. But with 200 million people and the economy starting to boom, it should be doing about 40,000 trucks, looking at what India is doing.”
He also shared a vision for Africa, where ISUZU dreams to INSPIRE AFRICAN SOCIETY TO PROSPER through offering new integrated business solutions for both products and services. He said as people’s lives always be supported by logistics and transportation services, ISUZU has seriously been working for an enhancement of innovation in transportation and mobility solutions to society.
Anil, who also spoke on the brand, said Isuzu is the expert in diesel with a focus on delivering top quality, reliable and durable trucks and is the global leader in light-duty and medium-duty trucks.
He also commented on the government’s drive towards gas-powered vehicles in the face of rising petrol prices after the removal of subsidy.
“We definitely want to support the Federal Government. But we need to have the necessary infrastructure in place like CNG filling stations sufficiently put in place to take the project far,” he said.
Mulandi, in his contribution, announced that the company would introduce to Nigeria in the next one to two years, heavy-duty trucks to increase market share.
He also spoke on the company’s warranty and the after-sales service for their customers.
“In Africa, we have standardised our warranty to three years for the light duty trucks; and two years for the medium duty. That is an indication that we care for the customers and trust our products.”
According to him, “Currently, we are extending two-year or 40,000 kms free service including lubricants, parts & labour to all our new customers in this market.”