February 04, (THEWILL) – The Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Joseph Osanipin, led a three-man delegation on a week-long visit to the South African Auto Industry, penultimate week. Other members of the delegation are the Director, Policy Planning and Statistics, M. Sani Musa and the Director, Research, Design and Development, Fidelis Achiv. The well-structured and highly organised trip was highly successful as it turned to be a learning curve and eye-opener for the Nigerian delegation. While visiting the Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) facility and assembly plant in Kariega, South Africa, Director General Osanipin and his hosts, Martina Biene, who doubles as the Managing Director/Chairperson, VWSA and President, AAAM, as well as the CEO, AAAM, Dave Coffey, spoke in an interview on the experience and lessons learned. Excerpts:
Reason for Visiting AAAM – Joseph Osanipin
”I want to see what is happening in other countries and climes to see how we can take what is good in all these areas and replicate same in Nigeria. That was the main reason we came here and we have met AAAM. Fortunately, Martina (Biene) has to wear two caps here as the President of AAAM that hosted us since Monday that we have been here. They made it easier for us to meet the stakeholders in the industry.
”On the first day, we met Automotive Transformation Fund, AAAM, VGA, the institution that champions automotive agenda for Germany. We met a lot components parts sectors. From there, we moved on and we decided to come to the headquarters of Volkswagen Africa.
”Today, we dedicated today for facility tour. Not only that, we want to know how can we get Volkswagen to be part of what we are doing in Nigeria. We had honest discussions and let them know the reality. It is better we let everyone know our reality so that it will be easier for us to work together.
”Based on that, we had a facility tour with Martina and all our team. We were at the press shop, body shop, assembly plant and we watched the video of the painting. Everything we have seen are amazing. The story of how they started and at a point when they had 11 models. Today, they have two models and they are the one supplying Polo GTI to the whole world.
”This is the story that we just want to be part of. We have learnt a lot from them and we learnt what we also need to do concerning Nigeria if we need to work hand in hand with Volkswagen Group and Volkswagen Africa, in specific, with Martina on how to grow auto industry in Nigeria.”
We had a Very Good Engagement – Martina Biene
“We had a very good engagement from my point of view, specifically, as you might remember when you three were visiting us. We were joking. Give us the policy and we have seen the ideals of the policy. And not only the ideals, but the crafting of the policy in Nigeria, which is pretty much a very comprehensive policy that will help the automotive industry to thrive in Nigeria, if implemented. That was really good.
“The next step is ratification and implementation in the National Assembly in Nigeria. In Nigeria, we agreed on supporting the Association of Automotive Manufacturers in Africa, but, of course, Volkswagen is interested in the Nigerian market. We really want to be part of the Nigerian market. We also want to be part of the prosperity in the Nigerian market and we have seen a very good approach in terms of policy.
”The previous (immediate past) Minister of Trade and industry had been consulting the AAAM and he has been also instrumental in crafting some of the African automotive policies. He was also very encouraging and complimenting under an automotive policy that Nigeria is now putting forward. Yes, we need to work on some details. That is fine, but it’s really now about getting going and having an automotive show in Nigeria.
”It was a very good engagement. We have really shown everything in full shape. Suppliers, manufacturing and supporting businesses.Iit has been very positive.”
NAIDP Needs to be Implemented – Dave Coffey
“We are impressed with NADDC for putting together a visit like this. I was delighted because the interest was there.
At AAAM, we believe that NAIDP needs to be implemented. It needs to be approved and we will assist you in guiding whatever we can and support you. We believe this is a great opportunity and the time is ripe.”
Volkswagen is Interested in Nigeria …we Want to Come Back – Biene
“We are interested in the Nigerian market. We know that we also have a history in the Nigerian market. We will also re-emphasis that VW signed an MoU in 2018 with the government to establish a partnership. That is also what we want. What is needed is new car market in Nigeria. New car market is going to happen with the implementation of the policy and once we establish a proper new car market, I am pretty sure that we all want business. We are eager to start the business. We are not committing to any partners but I am just saying we want to come back.”
We Learned Many Lessons – NADDC DG
“The lesson that we have learnt here is firstly, we need to put policy and process in place. That is what can drive investments. Two is that auto is about volume. We have seen when VW was doing 11 products and they couldn’t meet the numbers they were doing. But now, they have only two models and they are doing far better in terms of the number they are doing. It is all about volume. Today, we have different kinds of volumes in Nigeria.
”In SA, we have seven manufacturers with 40 models. With this, it has enabled them to put up huge volumes. So compare that one with what we are doing in Nigeria today, where we have varieties of assemblers of over 35 and we are still getting more. So, this is what we get to look at. Even to look at the components parts. If we have all these everywhere, how are we going to get the component parts that will come with that volume?
“It is a lesson that we have learnt and some other things we need to do differently like bringing VW or any other OEM that will produce new vehicles, then we need to look at the quality of our fuel. We have Euro 3 but we need to produce at Euro 4. All these things are things we have learnt that we will start working on and see how we can prepare the ground for them, for huge investments from OEMs and most especially from VW. “