An automobile manufacturer, Volkswagen, has expressed its desire to expand its operations to Nigeria and deepen investment in Africa.
The Chief Executive Officer, Volkswagen South Africa, Thomas Schaefer, stated this at the Edo Automotive Investment Forum held in Benin on Thursday.
Schaefer explained that the automotive industry was playing an important role in South Africa’s economy as it generated 350,000 jobs.
He said the firm was interested in doing same in Nigeria, especially with the increased drive for an automotive policy by the Federal Government.
He stated, “The automotive industry is quite critical in South Africa. It generates 350,000 jobs. The market boasts of 600,000 new cars.
“There is zero importation. We hope to replicate this in Nigeria and are interested in the Nigerian market.”
Schaefer further commended the Edo State Government for the development of the Benin Auto Park.
“We are interested in Nigeria and Edo State, and impressed with the proposal for the Benin Auto Park. We hope to deepen the partnership,” he added.
On his part, Governor Godwin Obaseki stated that the state was willing to explore a far-reaching partnership with the National Automotive Design and Development Council and the Africa Association of Automotive Manufacturers to actualise the auto park.
Obaseki noted in a statement that the state government was ready to provide necessary support structures to attract global automotive players at the park located opposite the Benin Industrial Park.
He expressed the hope that the project would become one of the largest automotive hubs in West Africa, as the state had a robust automotive sales and services sector, which would guarantee an impressive return on investment.
The governor explained that the benefits of the park would include providing an opportunity for Nigerians to buy new cars at affordable prices and “be assured of top-of-the-range after-sales services.”
While addressing the participants at the forum, Obaseki said, “We want you to work with car dealers to create the largest single market location in Benin, where people can buy cars. We want to properly organise the auto dealers in Benin, transform the car components sector and attract investment to the state.”