[dropcap]A[/dropcap]uto dealers in Nigeria say they are very delighted about the Auto Policy, but advise that it should be executed by the Federal government with utmost sincerity, as they are of the opinion that the policy might be hijacked by money bags in the Industry.
The Chairman of the Lagos State Auto Dealers Friends, Mr. Gideon Iwuoha revealed this to Motoring World International, at the association Alausa office, Friday.
According to Mr. Iwuoha, “Auto dealers in Lagos state and its friends were very happy, when they learnt about the Auto policy. We feel that it is good for the Auto Industry in Nigeria and will help boost the country’s economy.”
But he said that the impression they, in the Association are getting recently is brewing up insinuations that some wealthy people in the Industry may have hijacked the idea of the policy to their selfish ends.
“Because of this we, in the Lagos state Auto Dealers Friends Association are very concerned,” he stressed. “It is like some wealthy people in the Industry have taken over the policy to themselves. This is not good for such a well thought policy that is meant to transform the country’s auto companies, by making them more productive and adventurous.
“The Policy is not yet effective and that is one thing about this country, beautiful Policies are not always allowed to see the light of day and that is why we advice the Federal government to show more seriousness about the Policy and not watch it wither away just like that.
“The Policy will make Nigeria great, so its enforcement should be sincere and much focused.”
Mr. Iwuoha however recounted the effort of his Association to key into the Policy when they first heard about it.
“There was a time I was invited to the Airport Hotel for a meeting by the government about Made in Nigeria cars. We honoured the meeting and even filled forms, but at the end of the day nothing else has been heard. They talked about having real dealers that the manufacturers will be dealing with, so that the interest to continue importing cars from outside will die
“We were very happy and requested that the prices of the cars be reduced, because they are very expensive. I even visited Peugeot and saw their new 2015-2016 series, but it is very expensive.”
Mr. Iwuoha however advised that if made in Nigeria Cars are to strive within the country and be well patronized; their prices need to be considerate.
“If the prices of locally manufactured cars are reduced, they will be affordable by more people and more appreciated too. Japanese cars are ruling the world auto market because first, the Japanese people at home are interested in them. They love it, because they can afford them; perhaps after very good home patronage, the cars from that country have become very popular in auto markets around the world.
“Nigerians must first be attracted to Nigerian made Cars and be able to appreciate them, before manufacturers can think about hiking their price, especially if Nigerians are able to afford them for personal use and experience how good they are.”
Speaking about how the measure on the importation of cars have affected the auto market, the auto dealers friends chief explained, “The Market is very dull now. At times we may not sell a single car throughout a whole day. You come to office, sit from morning to night without any sales, and this is mainly because of the dollar.
“When we used to buy dollar at 150 naira, like early 2012-2013, cars were very cheap. To clear cars was not an issue, but as at yesterday a dollar was 370 naira, a hundred percent increase. The FG has increased tariffs, so that cars of about 1.8m naira from purchase, considering shipping cost and other handling charges will cost almost 3.6 or 3.7 million.
“When you try to explain to customers they don’t believe. Every body can now go to Google and can find the prices themselves, now they understand. You can stay for one month without any sales; you are not talking about selling so that you can import another car, but rather to be able to feed the family, yet, it is so difficult now.”
However, Mr. Iwuoha said that the Auto dealers and their friends in the state,“want FGN to know what they are doing; and how the harsh economic situation in the country is adversely affecting Auto dealers.
“So we are calling on government to hasten the Auto policy so that it can become operational so that the country can start on time to reap the dividends”
The Lagos State Auto dealers Friends association is a body of Automobile related marketers in Lagos, who are concerned about rejuvenating the auto market in the state by re-educating their members and helping the growth of the auto sector.