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Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars - Car Talk - Nairaland

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Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by Ctorch: 7:27am On Aug 16, 2020
I received order for $4.7m cars from S/Leone after NASS lawmakers rejected my vehicles– Innoson

…’Motorcycle price was crashed from N150, 000 to N60, 000, trying to do same with cars’
…Explains why auto assembly plants in Nigeria collapsed


Chief Innocent Chukwuma is the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing, IVM, a foremost automobile maker in Nigeria.

In this exclusive interview after a facility tour of his Nnewi automobile factory, Chukwuma reveals the secrets behind his success in the automobile industry, why he has never failed in any business ventures, his major challenges, his new factory in Imo State and planned partnership with a foreign company. Excerpts:

Some Nigerians still think that Innoson is just an assembling plant and not a car production company. What is your status?

You are here now and you have seen things yourself. Let me use this opportunity to say this once again; Innoson does not assemble vehicles, we manufacture. We build 100 percent vehicle body here and over 60 percent of the products used in manufacturing the vehicle are gotten from Nigeria.

We make all the carcass of all our vehicles here. We only import some engines and electrical components but produce all the plastic parts here. We have produced many new vehicles according to the demands of our customers and what they need those vehicles for. Even if they need what we do not have, we make the mould and produce their request and to specifications. That is why we are a vehicle manufacturing company, not assembling company.

Despite the challenging terrain of the automobile industry in Nigeria, you have succeeded in

Yes, I started this business from the scratch. So, it may not be out of place to say that I have made a name for myself. However, I still believe that I haven’t reached where I want to be. It might interest you to know that I never fail in any business I have ventured into.

This is because when you go into any business, you have to put your own ideas in it and when you do, the difference will be clear and you can make more money than others. You can also drop the business when you think there isn’t much interest in it again. So, to succeed in any business, don’t follow the crowd, always bring your own initiatives. With that, you will be able to make profits.

That has been my driving force, always looking for new ideas that are different from what everybody knows. For example, when you are into a particular business and it is no longer as lucrative and profitable as it used to because many people have ventured into it, you can leave the business for those people who lack ideas and go into a new business. This is because, as they are coming into the business, the profit margin will continue to diminish. So you leave it for them and find another fresh business idea to develop.

By the time they understand or realise how profitable the new idea is, you have already made your money and leave it for them. However, if the business is still convenient for you and gives you what you want, you can continue.

But if you feel that what you are getting there is not enough, leave it for those people who came to spoil it and develop a new one. That is the system I operate. I started trading in motorcycle parts with my brother. I started by buying from companies like Leventis that were importing the parts then. From there, I started importing myself. Later, I developed a complete motorcycle and not just the parts. I was the first person to develop complete motorcycle in Nigeria.

Because of my experience in the spare parts business, I found out that to bring motorcycle parts and couple them here in Nigeria was cheaper than bringing them as a complete motorcycle. So I decided to give it a try and it worked. I brought my own in parts and hired local mechanics to assemble and couple them. With this, my own cost was 40 percent cheaper. So, while others were selling at N150, 000, I was selling at N80, 000. Then, the cost of second hand motorcycle was N90, 000. People who used to buy second hand motorcycle decided to be buying my own since it was brand new and cheaper.

That’s how I benched my competitors who were selling at N150, 000. So, they had no choice than to adopt my strategy in importing their motorcycles. When they started copying my method, I veered into local production of plastic components of motorcycle parts so that I could be bringing only the iron components from abroad.

This also helped in bringing the price of my motorcycle down to N60, 000 which has been my aim from the onset. My competitors also discovered that it was better for them to buy plastic components from my company than bringing it from abroad. So, they started buying plastic components from me. With that, I left the motorcycle business for them.

Venturing into vehicle manufacturing

After some time, I decided to do what I did in motorcycle in vehicle. So, that’s what I’m doing today. I ventured into vehicle manufacturing immediately I became weak on motorcycle. I changed my focus to vehicle. I studied about vehicle production for about seven years before I could start. When I was building this factory, all my good friends and everybody I knew were asking me why did I venture into the business?

They said all the people who ventured into it in Nigeria failed. I told them to check all the businesses I have done, that none has failed. Before I entered into vehicle manufacturing, I have seen why others failed. And I told them that I would remove that which made others to fail and I did. That’s why I started by manufacturing and not by assembling. The people who failed started by assembling vehicles in Nigeria. And in that case, if anything happened to the parent company, the assembling plant here would lose because foreigners are not interested in building anything here.

They are coming to Africa to make profit and not lose, they want to make as much profits as possible and go. They are not interested to build us.


So, to avoid the pitfalls of others, I went and studied where we had problems and I paid for professionals, expatriates who came here and trained my people. I brought them to Nigeria, about 60 of them, in the first year we started this factory. Some of them finished under one year and left by the second year, I had about 42 and in the third year, I had about 15. Today, I have only eight.

Most vehicle manufacturers are switching from petrol to electric engine. Are you thinking in that direction?

I never built engine for the first time. I only build body and buy engine. What we do here is building complete motor body. Therefore, if electric is better, what I will do is to partner with electric company to supply me electric engine. And in that case, I won’t lose anything. If electric vehicles become the new normal, we’ll switch over to electric

Where do you export to? Do you supply your vehicles to other African countries?

Yes. As of now, I have order of about $4.7million worth of vehicles from Sierra Leone. That’s what I’m producing now for Sierra Leone government. Normally, I do get order and supply from within and outside the country.

What kind of support have you received from the Buhari government?

The Federal Government is doing everything possible to support the manufacturing sector with good policies, but the problem lies in the implementation. They have done enough in terms of policies to support local content but, like I said, implementation is the problem. So, I won’t say that government is not helping. They are doing their best. If you look at the policies, they are favourable.

How’s government, especially the legislature and the executive, patronizing your company based on the ‘buy Nigeria, grow Naira’ mantra?

Didn’t you see what happened at the National Assembly recently? They decided to buy Toyota cars made in Japan, that they are too big to drive made in Nigeria cars. Didn’t you hear it in the news?


…I heard it. I also heard that it was the member representing you that objected to buying your vehicle…

I don’t know about that. Whatever the person representing me said doesn’t matter to me. All I know is that was the decision of the National Assembly. Anything all of them agreed is what they will do. You can’t tag it to somebody representing me because he’s just one person and he can’t decide for the entire lawmakers. So, if the NASS decides anything, he can’t stop them.

What would you say has been your major challenge in this business?

Well, in manufacturing, there are a lot of challenges. But when you know that such challenges would come, you make provisions for them because, if you don’t have space to accommodate any challenge, one or two problems will force you to close shop. Any manufacturer will tell you about energy or electricity situation in the country.

When we were starting the factory, we knew we had such problem. So, we planned it in such a way that power situation will not affect us. There was a time we didn’t use electricity from the national grid for four years. I ran generator for that four years.

The issue was that the electricity company was over-charging me. They were giving me more bills than what I was supposed to pay because it was based on estimated billing. They failed to realise that we have engineers here who can calculate what we use. We asked them to install prepaid meter for us but they refused. So when they wanted to act smart, we wrote them officially to disconnect us.

We bought four different sizes of generating sets for the factory according to what we were doing then. We were running the generators eight hours each everyday for four years until the electricity company agreed to install a prepaid meter for us because they found out that they were losing. So they brought prepaid meter for us and we paid. So, electricity has been our major challenge but we made provisions from the outset to accommodate it.

Another major challenge is scarce foreign exchange. It has become increasingly difficult to access foreign exchange to import some of the components we use. How can you be telling the President that you need foreign exchange? I know from his speeches, he wants manufacturers to get but some of us don’t get. We find it difficult to access foreign exchange, we don’t get at all. How can you be doing black market to do manufacturing? It is difficult. That’s why we are focusing more on export now to get foreign exchange to enable us to continue to run the factory.

What about the South-East governors, do they patronise you as one of their own?

Well, I will say that they are doing their best and even the Federal Government is doing its best in patronizing us. However, if all the South-East governors are like that of Imo, then, we don’t have problems. The present governor is number one in implementing the local content. He deserves an award for that. Go to Imo, all the vehicles they are using are made in Nigeria. So Imo has got somebody in the governor who knows what’s good to do and we appreciate him for that.

Have you considered partnering or merging with known foreign vehicle manufacturers?

Well, most of them want me to partner or merge with them. Yes, we are looking into it. I’m going to open a new factory in Imo in partnership with foreign companies. I believe the partnership will help us to develop motor manufacturing on a bigger scale in Nigeria
.


Is Imo government supporting you in that project?

Yes, Imo State government has indicated interest and they are supporting us. So, with my foreign partners, we will work together and develop it there.

Talking about siting of factory, what informed your choice of siting your factories in the South-East instead of the commercial city of Lagos?

Commercial city of Lagos is too busy. I want where there will be space for manufacturing. I’m also looking at the proximity with my other companies because, the way our companies were set up, factory A can produce something for factory B and vice versa. Another reason is for easy communications and management. I’m not interested in any particular region, be it South-East, South-West or North. It doesn’t matter to me. After all, I’m from Anambra but I have only one factory in Anambra, I have one in Enugu and will soon have one in Imo and Edo. Gradually, we’ll reach there.


Nigeria’s first indigenous vehicle manufacturing company, Innoson Motors’ G40 SUV.
Do you have any interest to contest for political posts such as President, governor?

Let me make it clear here that I am not a politician and I’m not interested in politics. I am a manufacturer. I will be an industrialist until I become weak. When I grow old I go home and retire. I don’t have time for politics. There are people who are politicians, let them continue with their politics. And as for the 2023 presidential election, I’m not interested in who is coming out. When the time comes, I’ll make a choice among those contesting. And I don’t know who I will vote for; it depends on who comes out

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/08/i-received-order-for-4-7m-cars-from-s-leone-after-nass-lawmakers-rejected-my-vehicles-innoson/?fbclid=IwAR1dEsjpR2IajHAc5kbCaxhebcDCA0CKWF_AW2P8R0z4cvF5A6qqeDxTUow

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Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by MelesZenawi: 7:28am On Aug 16, 2020
Another reason is for easy communications and management. I’m not interested in any particular region, be it South-East, South-West or North. It doesn’t matter to me. After all, I’m from Anambra but I have only one factory in Anambra, I have one in Enugu and will soon have one in Imo and Edo. Gradually, we’ll reach there.



Which Edo state? Why Edo state?

Not necessary.


Well, most of them want me to partner or merge with them. Yes, we are looking into it. I’m going to open a new factory in Imo in partnership with foreign companies. I believe the partnership will help us to develop motor manufacturing on a bigger scale in Nigeria .


That's good....

14 Likes 3 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by ebenhazard(m): 7:28am On Aug 16, 2020
Nigeria a country where they don't appreciate their own.

323 Likes 22 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by Guyman02: 7:28am On Aug 16, 2020
The same NASS will ask Nigerians to buy made in Nigeria to grow the Naira, meanwhile they will go to Dubai to celebrate their wives and mothers birthdays.

Like he pointed out the executive arm of the Govt under Buhari has been a huge patron but the legislature speaks with both sides of their mouths, see how they couldn't even continue with the NDDC probe because they have their hands in the cookie jar.

I like the part he mentioned about establishing a factory in Edo and Imo state which is a local direct investment while Nairalanders who are as guilty as the legislooters are arguing about which state has the highest Foreign direct investment neglecting and not viewing that new barbing salon in their street as an investment.

I am happy to have commented before the arrival of the tribalists below cheesy
donbachi:
If to sey na dangote get innoson motors..u for see how ibo governors for dey order am like pure water.

tammie24:
Na by force

Even lawmakers should not be forced to accept anything
Innoson cars are even too pricey
Not like they are even better o
Innoson isn't the only car assembly company in Nigeria
Sure is the loudest!

EmekaBlue:
This is part of the reason why we igbos want Biafra

If it is Dangote now. Nigeria government will support more than usual

165 Likes 11 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by angelEmade: 7:29am On Aug 16, 2020
such it life. a prophet is with no honour in his own city

37 Likes 1 Share

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by softeeg: 7:34am On Aug 16, 2020
This is because when you go into any business, you have to put your own ideas in it and when you do, the difference will be clear and you can make more money than others. You can also drop the business when you think there isn’t much interest in it again. So, to succeed in any business, don’t follow the crowd, always bring your own initiatives. With that, you will be able to make profits.

102 Likes 9 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by MASTAkiLLAh(m): 7:41am On Aug 16, 2020
Tribal donkeys are coming cool

12 Likes 1 Share

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by unclemaths(m): 7:51am On Aug 16, 2020
Don't give up on your dreams.

19 Likes 1 Share

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by donbachi(m): 8:21am On Aug 16, 2020
If to sey na dangote get innoson motors..u for see how ibo governors for dey order am like pure water.

85 Likes 5 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by FemiMaduka(m): 3:25pm On Aug 16, 2020
It's almost a waste of time putting in any effort to make Nigeria sane. How can the legislature of a country with the largest number of poor people globally choose, almost biannually, to expend scarce FX on buying expensive foreign automobiles at the expense of a budding Nigerian brand (however "inferior" they think it is). This is nothing short of madness!

I was watching a program shot around 2008/10 on Aljazeera about India and the struggle to gain admission into the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). To my amazement, a senior police officer of a rank somewhat equivalent to a CP had a Fiat Padmini as official vehicle! Up to the early 2000s, the PM of India was using the Hindustan Ambassador (an iconic car) for state functions. This is an India with an economy almost 7 times the size of ours!

Ideally, what should be the business of officials of a country with over 100 million poor people (highest globally) with expensive foreign automobiles?

When some dunces want to make excuses, they'd say Innoson is not a proven brand, or that it is an imitation of a Chinese brand. So what! It employs Nigerians; pays taxes and duties into the Nigerian coffers; it is making our auto industry kick and it is putting us on the map of automobile manufacturers! Commonsensically, against what some lunatics would infer by saying "moving coffins", if the IVM brand of automobiles were not safe, foreign countries wouldn't even come near it.

China kicked off by imitating Western automobile designs and concepts, exactly what IVM is doing. Today, it is leading the US in the race for 5G technology and breaking new bounds in other areas.

This is a country of foolish, myopic and ignorant people.

329 Likes 33 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by Slawormir: 4:11pm On Aug 16, 2020
Damnnnnn niggarrr
Isoright

4 Likes 1 Share

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by Kendumazy(m): 4:12pm On Aug 16, 2020
Love the fact that he didn't blame or accuse anyone. Very nice interview. Weldone sir!

122 Likes 5 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by NairalandNurse(m): 4:12pm On Aug 16, 2020
A

2 Likes

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by Temptee101(m): 4:13pm On Aug 16, 2020
More grace brother

7 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by nanauju(f): 4:13pm On Aug 16, 2020
shocked


Weldone sir.

The seeds of Tribalism and hatred has been sown into the heart of every single Nigerian towards themselves. I wonder what exactly we are living for as a nation

30 Likes 4 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by Royalfurnitures: 4:13pm On Aug 16, 2020
A prophet has no honour in his own land


Your home is incomplete without good quality furniture thats why we are here for you

16 Likes

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by tammie24: 4:14pm On Aug 16, 2020
Na by force

Even lawmakers should not be forced to accept anything

Innoson cars are even too pricey

Not like they are even better o

Innoson isn't the only car assembly company in Nigeria

Sure is the loudest!

3 Likes 5 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by Commentor: 4:14pm On Aug 16, 2020
Ifeanyi Uba.

2 Likes 1 Share

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by directonpc(m): 4:14pm On Aug 16, 2020
You try
Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by ieemmanuel(m): 4:14pm On Aug 16, 2020
Innoson needs to be given the chance. If they can keep innovating with new designs and affordable prices, they can compete with imported cars from any nation!

4 Likes

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by EmekaBlue(m): 4:14pm On Aug 16, 2020
This is part of the reason why we igbos want Biafra

If it is Dangote now. Nigeria government will support more than usual

23 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by Queenlovely(f): 4:14pm On Aug 16, 2020
Monopolies are a good thingfor society, venture capitalist Peter Thiel .
Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by tammie24: 4:14pm On Aug 16, 2020
This man should just stop wailing

I have a choice to use or not use innoson as a Nigerian

Not every American drive Ford

Not all Japanese drive Nissan

Their choice

18 Likes 4 Shares

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by Advancedman(m): 4:14pm On Aug 16, 2020
Where are those motivational economists and commercialist they will never support innoson the likes of Pat utomi and co.

5 Likes 1 Share

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by nairavsdollars(f): 4:15pm On Aug 16, 2020
These bunch of 'off the mike' lawmakers are evil

22 Likes 1 Share

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by adonainana: 4:16pm On Aug 16, 2020
Buy Nigeria grow
Naira is good

But what’s the point in buying any innoson car when the naira equivalent is higher than what you can get elsewhere with a foreign brand

For instance see how obsessed Nigerians are with Toyota cars tokunbo or no tokunbo, if the price of a ready made sedan innoson car is more than the price you will
Get a tokunbo Toyota for

Then it makes no sense to buy innoson cars
For a Product with an inelastic demand as cars in a poverty capital like Nigeria price is the most important factor

3 Likes

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by Bkayyy: 4:16pm On Aug 16, 2020
Good products doesn't need advertisement.
Good deals know no hatred.
Nobody can push a struggling man out of his business because he doesn't fear failure

3 Likes

Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by zeusdgrt(m): 4:16pm On Aug 16, 2020
Hmmm
Re: Innoson: I Received Order For $4.7m Cars From SierraLeon As NASS Rejects My Cars by Adonis86(m): 4:16pm On Aug 16, 2020
it's a pity

1 Like

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