The CFAO Group on Thursday increased the number of automakers in Nigeria as it inaugurated a Fuso truck assembly plant in Lagos in conjunction with Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation, one of Asia’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturers.
It said about 500 units of trucks would expectedly be rolled out of the factory in a year with the production of the Canter truck, which it described as the market leader in its segment.
The Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah, who was the special guest at the event, was represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council, Mr. Jelani Aliyu.
With the launch of the truck assembly plant, making the sixth in Africa, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CFAO Group, Mr. Richard Bielle, said the firm aimed to be a leader in the automobile business, particularly in the truck segment on the continent.
He said, “The inauguration of this new Fuso plant coincides with the celebration of CFAO’s 115th year in Nigeria. CFAO Nigeria Plc is present in Nigeria across the mobility, healthcare and consumer goods sectors.
“This latest investment complements the CFAO’s existing production plants – NIPEN and Yamaha motorcycles. We are very proud to work alongside our partners in developing the industry and creating employment that are so important to Africa’s future.’’
The Chairman of CFAO Nigeria Plc, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, acknowledged the support of the parent company in France over the years and in ensuring the success of the assembly plant.
He also said the launch of the plant, CFAO and MFTBC were targeting additional growth in the emerging Nigerian market by leveraging their strengths, expertise, and efficient network.
According to him, the Nigerian Fuso plant shares the MFTBC’s stringent quality standards and it is the second Fuso truck plant in Africa.
Oyebode also said that the project would generate additional jobs and contribute significantly to the development of the Nigeria’s economy.
“This local assembly plant will greatly boost job creation and local content development as indigenous contractors were extensively engaged from the design to the construction stages of the plant in addition to employment of Nigerian engineers, technicians and interns in acquiring qualitative competency.
The Director International Sales Operations, Daimler Trucks Asia, Mr. Ilan Elad, Mr. Ilan Elad, said the decision to launch the auto assembly plant in Nigeria at a time many companies were folding up due to economic challenges was a mark of confidence of the firm in the Nigerian market.
He urged the Federal Government to stop allowing the importation of used trucks into the country in order to encourage local vehicle assemblers.