Ford Motor Co's (IW 500/6) announcement on August 11 that it will assemble its Ranger pickup in Nigeria will make that country the first African country outside of South Africa to produce Ford products.
“Assembling Ford Ranger trucks in Africa’s largest economy is an important milestone in our Middle East and Africa growth plan,” said Jim Benintende, president of Ford Middle East & Africa.
Ranger assembly will begin in Ikeja, in the Lagos State about 750 km southwest of Nigeria’s capital city Abuja. Ford is partnering with Ford dealer group Coscharis Motors Limited on the project.
“This partnership will boost Nigeria’s much needed march towards industrialization and create an important step in the development of the automotive industry,” said Dr. Cosmas Maduka, president of Coscharis Motors.
Ford will assemble the vehicles at a semi-knockdown level, using body parts and components imported from South Africa for the new Ranger. The new assembly plant in Ikeja will create approximately 180 jobs directly and indirectly, and has the capacity to assemble up to 5,000 units annually.
Vehicles assembled at Ikeja are destined for sale in Nigeria only.
“Nigeria is a priority market for us in Sub-Saharan Africa and today’s announcement will allow us to better serve our customers both from a retail point of view, and in terms of vehicle and parts availability,” said Jeff Nemeth CEO of Ford Motor Co. of Sub-Saharan Africa region.
“We are committed to supporting Nigeria’s developing automotive industry and economy together with Coscharis, and are looking forward to being active in the community,” Nemeth added. ”New assembly operations, even on a smaller scale like this one, have very positive ripple effects in the local economy and work force.”
The Ford Ranger was the best-selling vehicle South Africa for the first half of 2015, and is currently sold in 24 countries throughout the continent. Ford Motor Co. of Southern Africa produces the Ranger for 148 markets including Europe, Middle East and Africa.