Volkswagen Automobile Group has reopened its auto assembly factory on the Badagry Expressway, Lagos, after 20 years of suspending operations in the country. According to the German automaker, the reopening was made possible through its partnership agreement with a private auto company, the Stallion Group for the assembly of the Volkswagen brand of vehicles in the country in line with the National Automotive Industrial Plan announced by the federal government in October 2013.
A statement by the Stallion Group, which quoted Ratz Wolfgang, leader, Volkswagen Group’s delegation from Germany, added that the plant has rolled out the first set of vehicles, which includes Passat, Jetta, CC and Amarok models from the rejuvenated plant.
“Today marks the revival of the assembly of Volkswagen vehicles in Nigeria. Volkswagen has returned to Nigeria to continue a long history that began in the 1970s,” Wolfgang said in the statement.
“We are certain that further growth is possible, which is why Volkswagen is constantly searching for new opportunities to increase its global market and sales potential, and we appreciate the fact that we are able to strengthen our business relationship with our professional partner, Stallion Group.” Sunil Vaswani, chairman of Stallion Group, disclosed that the group acquired the moribund Volkswagen of Nigeria plant, resuscitated it and commenced the assembling of buses, trucks, pick-ups and passenger vehicles at the facility.
He said it was assembling Nissan, Hyundai, Ashok-Leyland and IVECO vehicle brands at the factory, while it had also developed a large team of skilled human resources following extensive training by specialists from the respective principals. “This is a great moment for Stallion in partnering a world leading global brand like Volkswagen,” he said.
“We are immensely pleased to bring back the proud legacy of Nigeria’s automotive industry, the Volkswagen brand that once was indigenously produced at the same premises. “Stallion is committed to investing and expanding its operations in the automotive value chain across multiple global brands and paving the way for Nigeria to establish itself as a regional leader in the automobile eco-system.”
He described the launch of Volkswagen vehicles as “another major catalyst for the revival of Nigeria’s automotive industry, which could lead to the development of multiple ancillary industries and component manufacturers, apart from fostering engineering skills and generating employment”.