Mercedes-Benz to assemble mini-buses, ambulances in Nigeria
…Lists sector challenges as group celebrate achievements
In a bid to capitalise on the nation ‘s automotive policy, Mercedes-Benz is set to start assembling its mini-buses and ambulances in Nigeria; the Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz center, Benson Uwatse has disclosed.
Speaking at a press conference to mark 25-year of Mercedes-Benz Center, 30-year of the four-wheel drive system developed by Mercedes-Benz (4matic) and 90-year of Bang & Olufsen, Uwatse said the organisation is working hard to satisfy the automotive demands of the country.
He said Mercedes-Benz plans to assemble the mini-buses and ambulances, because it sees the need for local production of ambulances in Nigeria.
“Everybody wants to make cars, whereas the real national need with regards to health is ambulance.
Speaking on the challenges bedevilling the nation’s automotive sector, Uwatse mentioned that Mercedes- Benz would not want their cars to be assembled here immediately if the skills are not here.
He said: In my workshop for instance, for every technician that we find good enough to employ, we would have interviewed nothing less than nine before we pick one that we could train and you tell me that I should assemble these cars behind you in Nigeria”?
The MD noted that the auto policy should have been carefully introduced, examined before it was effected, “you cannot announce a policy today and say it is taking effect from tomorrow that has always been our problem with it and since then we have been struggling with it”, Uwatse stressed.
According to him, Nigeria lack infrastructure and other ancillary industry to assemble cars in Nigeria.
“Where is the Infrastructure? In Nigeria today we do not have an industry that manufacture windscreen wiper, which is the smallest and cheapest level of ancillary item you need in a car. Even the tire industry has disappeared to Ghana and other places”, he stated.