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|Nigerian Made Car by WAP: 10:32am On Apr 28, 2010|
42-year old panel beater redesigns VW Beetle
The display of a locally redesigned Volkswagen Beeetle at the just concluded Abuja motor show may be a caricature of serious attempts by the nation to produce a truly Nigerian car, but experts agree that it is a commendable feat that should be encouraged, RASHEED BISIRIYU reports.
One of the revelations of the 12th edition of Abuja motor show is Modibbo Wagen, a locally assembled car deigned in the mode of Volkswagen Beetle.
But unlike the conventional Beetle which has two doors, the local model is built with four doors.
The producer, Mohammed Modibbo, is a 42 year old panel beater based in Zaki Biam, Benue State.
He recalled that the journey started in 2002. ”As a panel beater blessed with talent,” he said, ”I had always thought of doing something unique. One day, I came up with the idea of building my own car. I designed it on a paper. I kept the sketch and continued to alter it for two years before coming up with the real car.
”It was adapted from the Volkswagen Beetle. But because it is longer than the ordinary Beetle, I had to do some adjustment to the pedal, the clutch and gear selector.”
The car, which was constructed over a period of two years, was driven all the way from Zaki Biam to the Eagle Square, venue of the motor show in Abuja.
It understandable became the cynosure of all eyes as visitors to the event could not but notice the vehicle displayed at the centre of the fair ground with the maker himself on ground to take interested people through the story of what may be called his humble contribution to the development of auto industry in Nigeria.
According to Modibbo, ”I used the doors of two Volkswagen cars for the vehicle. The size of the car has also been increased. And the engine capacity is also changed to that of Danfo bus, another vehicle produced by the Volkswagen, which can carry between 10 and 15 passengers,
”Due to the increase in the weight and size of the car, it needs extra engine to move it well. The car is therefore built with 1.6litre engine.”
Having altered the specification of the original Beetle, people may doubt the safety of the car. But he has a ready answer to that, saying, ”It is 100 per cent safe. I can even remove my hands from the steering when driving for some minutes to show its stability. I had done some perfection on the tyre alignment before assembling other parts.”
Speaking further on the uniqueness of the new vehicle, Modibbo says apart from giving it two additional doors, there is a table affixed to the back seats for the comfort of passengers at the back, which they can use for eating or relaxing the legs.
The seats of the Modibbo Wagen are also different from the normal Beetle. The dashboard too is unique. Although the car has no air conditioner, it comes with a fan.
Modibbo cannot really recollect the cost of building the car as the parts were assembled at different time, some constructed over a period of two years.
But he says with less than N1m, he could build a similar car within six three to six months.
Driving the car all the way from Zaki Biam to Abuja, he had encountered a number of law enforcement agents.
According to him, ”Whenever they stopped me and asked about the car, I told them I designed it. They would show some amazement, congratulate me and ask me to go.”
Modibbo‘s effort is coming about a year after Acting President Goodluck Jonathan had challenged stakeholders in the automobile industry to work towards producing the nation‘s first car.
Interestingly, the charge was made at the 11th Abuja motor show held at the same venue last year when Jonathan, then a vice president came to the event to represent President Umar Yar‘adua.
A major breakthrough, which was a follow up to the call came in the last quarter of last year from an Nnewi-based privately-owned, indigenous firm, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company, which assembled a bus relying on technical expertise of some Chinese automobile engineers.
His plan was to start with 20 different models of the brand, followed by mini trucks and other products in accordance with the market demand.
Innoson Chairman, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, said that the idea was to produce vehicles that would be so competitively to make imported second-hand models popularly called Tokunbo unattractive.
Managing Director, BKG Exhibition, Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Agwu, whose firm organised the motor fair, commended the two efforts, describing the feat as part of the objectives of the annual auto show.
He said the objectives of the fair were to stimulate the enormous potential in the automobile, parts and accessories market in the country and work towards making Nigeria the hub of automobile business in Africa.
This, he stressed was beside the primary aim of using the forum as a veritable opportunity for participants to display their products and meet the general public in one place, as well as serve as a forum for the players to have feedback on their products and services.
Agwu said that Modibbo should be encouraged in order to spur other people with similar idea.
As part of the contribution by his company, he had directed that a donation box be placed near the displaced Modibbo Wagen for people to drop their token cash gifts.
But Modibbo missed the opportunity of getting a prompt approval of the Federal Government at the motor show as he came a day after the opening ceremony to the fair ground when the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry came to declare it open on behalf of the Acting President.
The efforts to manufacture a truly Nigerian car started before the establishment of Volkswagen of Nigeria and Peugeot Automobile Nigeria in the early ‘70s.
According to the Acting President, in a speech sent to the last Abuja motor show, ”The idea of inviting these two car manufacturers was not only to locate their factories or assembly plants in Nigeria, but to transfer technology and sow the seed for the indigenous Nigerian car.”
Other automobile assemblers, including Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company in Enugu producers of the Mercedes luxury buses, Leyland in Ibadan and Steyr, producers of tractors in Bauchi were later to join. Even as many of them have become shadow of their glorious past, none could produce a truly Nigerian vehicle the nation really yearned for.
|Re: Nigerian Made Car by pak: 3:24pm On Apr 28, 2010|
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