If you’ve ever encountered a Nigerian you can testify that they show up and show off. And that is not only at parties and events. From academia, to arts and entertainment, and industry — you can mention the Wole Soyinkas and Chimamandas. The Fela Kutis, Davidos, Yemi Alades and Wizkids, to the Dangotes among many others. Today, let’s talk about Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing and how Nigeria (better known as Naija) is making a bold foray into an industry dominated by the Toyotas and Mitsubishis — the auto industry.
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing origins
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, the brainchild of Nigerian entrepreneur, Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma. After his education in 1981, he started trading in spare parts — a lucrative business in South East Nigeria and some parts of West Africa at large.
With the purpose of eliminating the proliferation of ‘tokunbo’ (used foreign cars) on the African market, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing was born.
Range of vehicles
The company has vehicles ranging from cars and sedans to SUVs, pickup trucks, and buses. It also has industrial or specialized vehicles such as ambulances, swing arm trucks and fire trucks. Pictures of some models within their fleet of vehicles can be seen below.
Acceptance, patronage, and impact
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing is a strong and growing brand in Nigeria. In staying true to the vision of removing foreign second-hand vehicles from the streets of Nigeria, the firm has done well to keep its starting prices low enough for young people to be able to afford.
The starting price for a brand new vehicle is N3,000,000, which is a little under GHc46,000; the vehicles also come with three years warranty and after-sales service. Now, tell me… would you rather get a foreign used vehicle for that same amount or not?
To make the vehicles more accessible for Nigerians, the firm has an auto finance scheme with Sterling Bank and Diamond (Access) Bank, both in Nigeria. With this, one has to make a down payment of 25% (for Sterling Bank) or 27% (Diamond [Access] Bank) to have their vehicle delivered to them anywhere in Nigeria.
On job creation, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing has in its employ between 7,300 and 7,500 workers helping to boost production capacity.
Role of the Federal and State Governments of Nigeria
The firm has enjoyed support from the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as the governments of several states. State institutions such as the Nigerian Military are among their patrons.
With regards to the military, Innoson Vehicles went into partnership with the Nigerian Army Authority for the modification of some of their equipment, as well as local production of armoured fighting and utility vehicles, and other military hardware as well.
The firm’s position is strengthened by a 2013 automotive policy that sought to discourage the importation of wholly assembled automobiles, instead encouraging the local manufacturing and assembly of such. Many at the time considered it to be reaching too far, or a tall dream. But there are entrepreneurs who grab opportunities with both hands, and one of such is Chief Dr Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma.
Africa may not show up much on the map when it comes to being an industrial giant. But that is sure to change as the old generation fades out and a new one takes over. The present success of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing is testament to the greatness that beckons African entrepreneurs and industrialists when states and governments not only enact laws that encourage local industries but actively participate in the ‘consume local’ agenda by taking the lead as patrons.
Most times, the opposite is what happens; when businesses are deliberately sabotaged and collapsed to settle political scores. Thankfully, Nigeria is being a proper mother hen for its industrialist chicks. Let’s see more of that happening across the African continent.
For Innoson Vehicles, it can only get better. Their range of vehicles and the sectors they are geared towards impacting is proof they are not resting on their oars. There’s a big slice of cake they intend to bite into, and godspeed to the firm in that regard.