The automobile industry has received a major boost as one of the leading auto firms, Lanre Shittu Motors (LSM), has started the local assembly of JAC trucks at its multi-million dollar assembly plant in Lagos.
Located at Amuwo-Odofin on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, the plant, it was learnt, has, with the technical support from JAC China, churned out 150 units of JAC trucks.
The plant has the capacity to produce over 1,800 trucks yearly.
It has also the capacity to assemble six units of trucks in one shift or 12 in two shifts depending on market demand, and can also roll out about 150 units monthly.
LSM Group Executive Director Mr Taiwo Shittu, who led auto reporters to inspect the plant, said the company invested in the assembly plant to support the Federal Government’s auto policy.
The plant is expected to be unveiled early next year.
Shittu described the plant as the most standard assembly plant in Nigeria.
Operated by local technicians with two JAC technicians on supervision, it carries out semi-knocked down (SKD) assembling.
Shittu said the plant has the capacity to carry out complete knocked down (CKD), adding that the trucks being rolled out from the plant are of equal quality as the ones produced from any JAC assembly plant abroad.
He added that the company is working on another assembly plant in Mekun on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway for the production of buses, cars and pickups and another line for support vehicles like trailers, tanks, among others.
“In this assembly plant, all the equipment were imported from Germany. We believe in auto policy and we believe it has come to stay. The government is really focused on the policy,” he said.
The journey to achieving this historic milestone started about a year ago and was successfully completed this year with all the trappings of a modern truck assembly plant found in any part of the world.
Also, officials from JAC truck manufacturers from China, are in Nigeria overseeing the daily assembly at the plant. The team is expected to work with the aim of transferring requisite skills to local engineers in Nigeria.
“We believe genuinely in the JAC brand; it has come to stay; and very soon it will take over the market demand for trucks because of its quality and our experience in the automotive business in the last 38 years in Nigeria. Already, we have received orders for hundreds of units of these trucks from fleet customers, including BUA Group, and many others. On daily basis, the lists keep growing,” Shittu said.
He expressed support and strong confidence on some of the stringent measures taken by the Federal Government to streamline auto assembly processes and procedures, whereby nobody is allowed to set up an assembly plant without satisfying the full requirement of the mandatory assemblers’ bonafide certificate.
Sales Manager, Medium and Heavy Truck Department of JAC, Shaun Yu, said the JAC trucks were specially designed for Nigerians, noting that most of them have been running for eight years, and they are still in good condition.
Yu said the partnership with LSM is a win-win, adding that the future is bright for the two firms.
In a related development, the dealership has completed and opened its ultra-modern three-S (sales, service and spares) facility in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Shittu said the company is training 40 Nigerians as a way of giving back to the society.
“Prior to the recruitment of these set of people, they are majorly unskilled people, but have passion to develop themselves. Some of them are university graduates, while others are secondary and primary school leavers,” he said.
When they are selected, they are sent out to the various training schools in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt set up by Lanre Shittu Motors.
Upon graduation, they are employed and paid salaries by LSM for one, two or three years on a graduated salary structures based on performance evaluation metrics conducted by the company.
After four years, these skill sets are seconded to work with LSM’s customers, other auto dealer workshops or corporate fleet clients with large fleets based on a negotiated pay package, including their accommodation, if they are going to other parts of the country between LSM, which is the skill set providers and the clients.