Ford has invested in a second facility in Africa and the US-based carmaker has announced the production of the first vehicle at the Nigerian plant.
Ford wanted to take advantage of the high demand in the region, and in the and the Middle East as well, and formed a partnership with Coscharis Motors Ltd., a local distributor, to build its Ranger pickup model from body parts and components imported from South Africa, at a new plant in Nigeria. It is the second one in Africa for Ford, first outside South Africa, where Ford produces the Ranger for 148 markets. Yesterday, Ford announced that the new facility has built its first model. In a first phase, the carmaker will produce only ten vehicles a day for the domestic market.
Nigeria has the biggest economy in Africa, therefore the potential of its automotive segment is considerable. However, the market is not well developed at the moment and only an insignificant number of cars are sold annually. The main reasons for the low demand for new cars are the large imports of used vehicles and the lack of support from the government. “Africa is one of the youngest markets in the world and presents a huge opportunity in terms of consumption,” Jeff Nemeth, Ford’s sub-Sahara chief executive, said in a statement.
The Ikeja plant near Lagos will have the capacity to build up to 5,000 vehicles annually, which will be sold in Nigeria. Ford produces 85,000 vehicles in South Africa each year, which are sold in 24 African countries. The automaker sold around 4,000 vehicles in Nigeria last year and is on pace for a similar level in 2015, where the Ranger pickup accounts for about 50 percent to 60 percent of the total.