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Stallion-Nissan sets record with Nigeria-assembled patrol

WHEN the new automotive policy was signed into law in 2013, it was greeted with dissenting opinions. While some hailed the move as a panacea for the growth of the country's auto industry,

others were skeptical, complaining that that it was a tall order as the country lacked basic infrastructures needed to build a car assembly plant.
The greatest opposition came from within the industry. Titans like Chief Ade-Ojo of Toyota Nig Ltd, Sir Cosmos Maduka of Cosharis Group and several other leading car  marketers in the country argued that it is not yet ripe for such a gigantuan projects.
But not deterred, companies like Stallion Group, KIA motors, Tata, Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria all signifies their interest setting up vehicle assembly plants in the country. However, Stallion motors led the way by signing a Momerandum of Understanding with 
Renanult-Nissan alliance to establish an assembly plant. To quicken the step, Stallion made available to Nissan its former Volkswagen centre in Lagos for the venture, the plant was upgraded by the auto maker to be able to handle the Patrol model to be assembled there.
Although the date was shifted twice, but at last, Stallion last week annouced to Nigerians that it has completed the first set of its sport utility vehicle Patrol assembled at the plant in Lagos.
Information on the actual process of the Patrol model assembling in Lagos is quite limited. For instance it is important to know the local content and the percentage of foreign material imputs or it was just CKD's that was put together in Nigeria.
However, it is also good to hear that Stallion has taken up the gauntlet, a challenge to other Automobile companies and their franchisees in Nigeria that it is possible.
Nissan's Senior Vice-President and Chairman for the África, Middle East and Índia region, Takashi Hata, in the statement announcing the feat assured Nigerians that it will also commenced the production of  the much more economical Almera, and Nissan 1-ton truck, the NP300.
The Nissan's South Africa Managing Director, Mr. Mike Whitfield, who also heads the Nissan's Sub Sahara Africa region, expresses delight with the successful launch of the first Patrol.
He says, “Nissan was a pioneer in the foundation of the car industry in South Africa. Now we are once again at the forefront of manufacturing in Africa, this time in Nigeria where we see huge potential. We want to play our part in the economic growth of Nigeria and Africa.”
The new policy is fashioned along the South África model. According to the Managing Director of Nissan South África, Mike Whitfield, it serve Nissan's key South Africa market and 42 other countries in Sub Saharan Africa, including Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. The company offers a range of locally-produced and imported vehicles in these markets. Employing nearly 2000 people, its Rosslyn plant manufactures light commercial vehicles which include the NP200 half-ton pickup and NP300 one-ton Hardbody. It also produces the Livina and Sandero passenger vehicles, the latter for Alliance partner Renault. Nissan South Africa is one of the top three automotive companies in South Africa.
The foundation for similar growth has been the laid by the promulgation of the policy, and Stallion Motors's alliance with Renault-Nissan has shown the way. Nigerians can only hope that the momentum will be sustained, and also hope Toyota, which is Nigeria's most popular brand will follow suit.


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