[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne of the few automobile exhibitors at the recently concluded Lagos Automedics Autofest event held at the premises of Lagos Television is Elizade Autoland, showcasing a Chinese popular brand, JAC. The company’s sales Manager, Michael Adeola Adeniyi opened up to Motoring World Correspondent, ROTIMI ASHER, on how the auto marketer has feared since President Buhari assumed office.
Motoring World: What are you offering the Nigerian auto public that is different from what other auto companies have offered?
Adeniyi: Elizade Auto Company is known for Toyota brand, but, by implication of the auto policy, prices of our Toyota brand went up, meaning there is tendency for us not to meet the need of middle and low customers. That was why we brought in this vehicle which is JAC to meet the needs of lower and middle customer.
Motoring World: I am seeing just sedan and truck, do you also have SUV?
Adeniyi: Like you rightly said we have duty truck, passenger cars which are the J3, J4 and J5. Hopefully, before this time next year; we will be having the SUVs in the market.
Motoring World: How much does these vehicles cost?
Adeniyi: It is pocket friendly compared to other competitors. It is a Chinese brand and if you are to compare our price with other Chinese brand, I can tell you that our prices are pocket friendly. The price of the J3 is starting from N 2.4 million and the J4 from 3.2million and the J5 from 3.150million.
Motoring World: Do you think you can compete with existing brands, for instance Nigerian assembled Kia Rio, which sells for less than N2 million?
Adeniyi: I want to believe the information is wrong. There is no way they will sell it for less than N2 million. And if I may say, Kia Rio which is about 1.4littre at the moment can not be less than N3 million. In any case, Kia Rio has been in the market. We might be competing with them in terms of price. But I can tell you that our brand is a fantastic product and like I said earlier it is a brand brought in by Elizade Nigeria Limited. Elizade, as company which has been into this business for over forty years, has a name to protect and will not because of a brand drag its name into the mud. So, we have been very careful in bringing this brand. So it is tested, durable with efficiency. Even before we finally introduced it into the market, we did series of test through customers, companies, who used them and realized their performance. And feedbacks they gave us are good courage to go ahead with the sales.
Motoring World: What is your opinion about Nigeria auto policy?
Adeniyi: Well to start with, I will say it is a good auto policy but it has advantages and disadvantages. Considering the advantage of it, the policy is encouraging local manufacturers and the disadvantage; it caused increase in prices of imported vehicles. What we are told is that if you are a car dealer and you are importing a car, for example a car of two million naira, you will be paying 70% import duty on N 2million. So by the time you add that to N2 million, it will give 3.4 million. By the time you add your selling price, it will be going for about 4.5 million.
For those that have their plant here, they will be given concession. They will not be paying import duty of 70%. For now, since we don’t have that on ground, that has increased prices of our vehicles, since we are importing. This makes customers to run away. This is what prompted Elizade as company to go for this brand so that the middle class and the lower class customers can have something to afford.
Motoring World: How does your company intend to tap into the policy by having your own assembly plant?
Adeniyi: We will key into the policy sooner or later. We will also have our own assembly plant so that our customers can have good cars at affordable prices.
Motoring World: When?
Adeniyi: I don’t know. I am not at the top management level, but I know something is going on and which I believe in due time it is going to be unveiled.
Motoring World: Since you have been in the market, how has it been like?
Adeniyi: Yes, especially now, it has been very tough. And because of change in government, I will say there is no money in circulation. So, the market generally even outside the auto industry has been very dull.
Motoring World: What has your experience be like in the fair so far?
Adeniyi: It has been fantastic. Listening to the training and all that, I have gained one or two things even as a sales person. You know it is not by selling cars but understanding the technical details of the vehicle. All these, we gained at the Autofest. Some people have come in to look at what we have displayed. It’s quite interesting.
Motoring World: What advice do you have for the organizers for future fair considering some of defect you have seen?
Adeniyi: Looking at what is on ground; I will tell them not to be discouraged, because I know that certainly if they continue, things are going to change. I want to strongly believe that come next year, it is going to be much better than what we are experiencing now.