Ford Motor, the second-largest American automaker, is considering Nigeria as an option on its plan to open new manufacturing plants on the continent.
The company is looking to expand its manufacturing plants in Africa, as it introduces new models like the Mustang sports car and predicts industry-wide auto sales will grow 40 percent by 2020.
Jim Benintende, Ford’s head of operations in the Middle East and Africa is formulating an Africa growth strategy to increase Ford’s factories in Africa beyond its two plants in South Africa, with Nigeria being considered as an option, he revealed in a chat with Bloomberg.
“It’s going to be a rocky road for a bit of time,” Benintende said. “But you’ve got to take the long-term view in places like Nigeria. It’s the biggest economy in Africa. You can’t ignore that. It’s got abundant natural resources; it’s got a burgeoning middle class. There’s a lot of real good reasons to look at Nigeria for future investment.”
Benintende also is traveling the continent to explore Ford’s options in the region. He said he expects to submit a proposal to Fields next year with a detailed plan on how many factories and dealerships the automaker needs to add.
“We need to put Ford people on the ground, close to our customers,” Benintende said. “We can’t operate from an ivory tower.”
Meanwhile, General Electric (GE) another United States (U.S.) manufacturing giant has big spending plans for Africa. GE hopes to develop facilities, improve supply chains and train workers, according to a statement from the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company.
Announcing plans to invest $2 billion in the region by 2018 and double its workforce on the continent, GE’s Africa business includes supplying locomotives for Nigeria and aircraft engines for Kenya Airways. GE yesterday announced
The local payroll is thus expected to swell to 4,000 people during the next few years compared with about 2,000 now as the company expands into the continent’s eastern nations, according to Jay Ireland, GE’s Africa CEO.
Africa’s vehicle market is accelerating rapidly. Ford, projects that industry-wide sales will grow to 2.1 million vehicles over the next six years, from 1.5 million in 2013. Africa’s driving-age population is projected to soar 55 percent to 840 million people by 2023, from 540 million last year, Ford has said.
Source: Carmudi Nigeria