Some automobile manufacturers in the South East have called for an enabling legislation to back the Nigerian Auto Policy and enhance patronage.
They made the call while responding to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) survey on state of automotive industry by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu.
The Executive Director, Corporate Service, Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company (ANAMMCO), Mr Uche Okeke said that such policy would make it attractive for Nigerians, including government agencies, to patronize made in Nigeria vehicles.
He said that low government patronage was one of the greatest challenges facing automobile companies in the country.
The director, therefore, called on the National Assembly to give the Nigerian Auto Policy a legal backing in order to make the industry thrive.
He said that the absence of such policy backed by law would create room for uncertainty and policy summersault.
“We need to have an auto policy that is backed by law as it will build a conducive environment for the auto industry.
“In the recent past, Nigeria had an auto policy that gave hope to the auto industry and made it attractive. The volume of vehicles we produced as a brand at the time was high.
“That was a good era,” he said.
Okeke said that the situation had currently changed as the policy was not backed by law.
He, however, said that it was gratifying that the auto policy was currently passing through some amendments.
He also said that players in the automobile industry were grappling with the challenges posed by foreign exchange and auto smuggling.
Okeke said that the scarcity of the US Dollar had negatively affected the purchasing power of local businesses leading to high costs of manufactured goods.
Chief Innocent Chukwumma, Chairman, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturer (IVM), Nnewi, advised Nigerians to always buy brand new locally made vehicles rather than fairly used imported ones.
Chukwumma told NAN in Awka that locally made vehicles were of enhanced quality.
He also said that the price of Nigeria made vehicles were comparatively better than the fairly used imported ones.
“In the last one year, the price of different cars produced by my company has remained stable.
“You can get IVM car for N4.5 million, N5 million and N6 million because the company as well as other automotive industries in the country have been getting support from governments,” he said.
Chukwumma, who listed scores of advantages of brand new vehicle to the fairly used vehicles, said if more Nigerians used brand new locally made vehicles, accident rate in the country would reduce.
Meanwhile, Mr Udochukwu Obilor, an Awka-based dealer on fairly used vehicles said he did not sell Nigerian made vehicles because of the high cost and lack of patronage.
“The prices for IVM vehicles are very high and what we do is to refer any interested person to the company’s office in Nnewi.
“Besides, we cannot make profit because customers prefer buying directly from the company,” he said.
On the price of fairly used vehicles, he said that the rate had almost doubled in the last one year due to the exchange rate between the naira and dollar.
“In the early 2020, high grade Big Light Toyota Camry, 2000 model was sold for N1.6 million, Sienna 2005 model sold for N1.9 million and Nissan Altima 2002 sold for N1.8 million.
“As we speak, all these named vehicles added more than N300, 000 to N650, 000 due to steady fall of naira at the exchange market,” he said.