[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s part of efforts to encourage Nigerian families to buy locally made vehicles, VON Automobiles Limited, subsidiary of Stallion Group, on Monday, handed out a new, locally assembled Hyundai i10 to a Nigerian journalist from The Nation Newspaper.
The beneficiary, Gboyega Alaka, was selected via a raffle Draw conducted among journalists, when Senate Committee on Privatization and Bureau of Private Enterprise visited the company’s plant in Lagos late last year.
Addressing newsmen before the presentation, Mr. Tokunbo Aromolaran, Managing Director of VON Automobiles Limited, who is also the Chairman, Nigeria Automobile Manufacturers Association (NAMA), described the car gift as a fulfillment of his company’s promise to give out a locally made car to a Nigerian journalist.
“And we are hoping that this gesture,” he pointed out, “will be publicized in a way that will make Nigerians to know and understand the importance and necessity of buying and being proud of using cars that are assembled here.”
Stressing correlation between buying what is made in Nigeria and economic recovery, Aromolaran said the easiest way to increase volumes of locally made vehicles at affordable prices is for Nigerians to buy brand new vehicles made locally by the likes of VON Automobile Nigeria.
“When more Nigerians buy what we produce locally,” he explained, “we will increase volumes of production and prices per unit will drop and become more affordable.
“We have been trying to draw awareness to what we are trying to do in terms of adding values rather than mere selling to the populace cars made in other parts of the world.
“Whenever somebody asks me if I have a job for his or her son or daughter in our establishment and I find out the latter has a non-engineering degree, I say to them, the reason why I can’t expand
my factory to accommodate candidates from other disciplines is because all of you are driving cars made in other countries. You are not driving cars we make here.
“It is buying and driving made in Nigeria cars that will create avenues for additional production and additional employment, additional avenue for adding values and eventually an increase to the nation’s Gross Domestic Income (GDP). It’s a chain.
“Even though my name is Tokunbo, I am principally an advocate of ban on importation of Tokunbo (imported used items), into this country.”
Aromolaran warned that as long as Nigerians do not want to go through inconvenience of not depending on imported goods, the country will continue to experience mass unemployment and poverty.
“Everybody wants to ride a car from day one,” he pointed out. “It doesn’t matter where it comes from. It’s like childbirth pain. You have to go through that pain for the child to come out. We have to go through the pain of developing this industry (automobile industry) before we can all enjoy the benefits of having a viable auto industry.”
Senator Murray Bruce, who made the car presentation to the lucky beneficiary from The Nation Newspaper, added his voice to VON Automobile’s Buy-Made-in-Nigeria-Vehicle campaign.
“Opting for imported used vehicles might seem cheaper than brand new vehicle,” he explained. “But at the long run, it ends up being more expensive, in the area of maintenance. For instance, what users of imported used vehicles do not realise is that those used cars consume more fuel than brand new vehicles.
“By implication, therefore, what you think you have saved or gained from buying an imported used vehicle will at the long run be lost in multiple fold through expenses on repairs, maintenance as well as more fuel consumption.”
To encourage Nigerian families to buy made-in-Nigeria vehicles, therefore, Senator Bruce called on President Muhammadu Buhari and his ministers to dump imported vehicles for only cars made in Nigeria.
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