Auto Industry Revival: President Buhari Urged to Fast-track Low-Interest Auto Finance Scheme

President Buhari’s government has been urged  to introduce low-interest automobile finance as a way of attracting patronage to locally manufactured vehicles.

The former deputy governor of Lagos State, Otunba Femi Pedro, made the call in Lagos on Wednesday during the unveiling of Peugeot 3008, courtesy of PAN Nigeria Limited.

In an interview with Motoring World at the occasion, Pedro lamented that many Nigerians buy imported used vehicles, because they could not afford locally assembled vehicles.

According to him, introducing low-interest auto finance in Nigeria will help to revive the nation’s automobile industry, which, in his view, will contribute immensely to the economic diversification policy of the federal government.

“We need to have cars that are affordable by people,” Pedro stressed, adding, “We need to have credit facilities. Bank financing can make things easy. Even if the cars are N15million, N16 million, if we have a 5-year, 4-year car loan system, where the interest rate is not as crazy as it is today, the car business will boom.

“The car manufacturers want to sell and ship out cars. The auto dealer wants to sell and people want to pick them up.

“But while people want the car they want to buy, they don’t have the cash. People can pay over five years, six years, if the credit facilities are available. This is what is killing the car industry in Nigeria.”

Pedro also decried the rate of vehicle breakdown across the country, a development he attributed to flooding of Nigeria with automobile junks from Europe and America. He said if Nigerians have access to low-interest auto finance, there would not be need for them to buy those cars, which after a while, become a drain pipe to their hard earn money.

He said: “That is why unfortunately, we have incidence of 100s of broken down vehicles that could not pass emission test in their countries of manufacture and use. And they are now polluting our environment in the name of tokunboh cars.

“And the people really suffer, because they are short-changed. They bring a car that had suffered flooding problem in Europe or America. They repackage it and sell it as a good car. And gullible Nigerians and consumers would see the car and buy. After two years, such buyer would become frequent visitor to mechanic workshop. And the auto repair industry is so undeveloped. Many players have archaic knowledge.

“It’s not that Nigerians love Tokunbo. I don’t blame them. They want to drive a car. And they can’t afford cars that cost N4 million, N5 million. So they borrow money from friends and families and buy a car of N1 million, N750,000 or N500,000. Unfortunately, they have to start paying the price in another two years. In fact, when you buy a Tokunboh car in Nigeria, most of the time, it can make you poorer. If you find out how much you spend in month on such cars, you’ll realize that it drains your pocket. For once you buy a car; you are psychologically attached to it. The day the car can not move on the road, you feel depressed and dejected.

“So you want to use your last Kobo to get the car back on the road. The mechanic knows that you are already psychologically a slave to your car. So he slams you with brake pad, alternator or other problems, asking you to cough out money, which could run to N25,000 or more. Every month, you keep spending to keep it alive, because the car was dead before it got into Nigeria.”

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