Ford is to assemble its Ranger pick-up model with a local partner in Nigeria starting from the fourth quarter of this year.

Nigeria will be the first African country outside of South Africa where Ford vehicles are produced.

Ranger assembly will begin in Ikeja, in the Lagos State about 750 km southwest of Nigeria’s capital city Abuja. Ford is partnering with Ford dealer group Coscharis Motors Limited on the project.

Ford will assemble the vehicles at a semi-knockdown level, using body parts and components imported from South Africa for the new Ranger. The new assembly plant in Ikeja will create approximately 180 jobs directly and indirectly, and has the capacity to assemble up to 5,000 units annually. Vehicles assembled at Ikeja are destined for sale in Nigeria only.

“Assembling Ford Ranger trucks in Africa’s largest economy is an important milestone in our Middle East and Africa growth plan,” said Jim Benintende, president of Ford Middle East & Africa. “With Coscharis we have the right partner and with the Ford Ranger we have the right product to deliver a world class truck that Nigerian customers want and value.”

“Nigeria is a priority market for us in Sub-Saharan Africa and today’s announcement will allow us to better serve our customers both from a retail point of view, and in terms of vehicle and parts availability,” said Jeff Nemeth, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Sub-Saharan Africa region. “We are committed to supporting Nigeria’s developing automotive industry and economy together with Coscharis, and are looking forward to being active in the community. New assembly operations, even on a smaller scale like this one, have very positive ripple effects in the local economy and work force.”

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By GlobalData

Dr. Cosmas Maduka, president of Coscharis Motors said: “We value our partnership with Ford immensely and we are looking forward to having the opportunity assemble world class Ford Rangers in Nigeria. This partnership will boost Nigeria’s much needed march towards industrialisation and create an important step in the development of the automotive industry.

In line with the operating procedures for Ford plants around the world, Ford says it will send experienced employees to Nigeria to assist with implementing the Global Ford Production System, which “focuses on the highest standards for safety, quality and delivery”.

Although Nigeria is seen as a high risk economy with an insurgency in the north of the country, it is also seen as a relatively rich African country with very good long-term market growth potential. A number of OEMs have been investigating the market, including Nissan – which is also assembling Patrols in Lagos with a local partner, – Kia, PSA and Volkswagen.

Nigeria at a glance

Population in 2011 (estimated, millions) 162.5
Population density in 2011 (per square kilometre) 175.9
Capital city and population in 2011 (millions) Abuja (2.2)
GDP per capita (current US$, 2011) 1,509
Currency Naira (NGN)
Telephone subscribers, total (per 100 inhabitants, 2010) 55.8
Internet users (per 100 inhabitants, 2011) 28.4
Source: UN

See also: NIGERIA: Kia plans Nigeria assembly plant