IVM: Bridging the gap between imported and locally made vehicles
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company (IVM), located at Nnewi, Anambra State, hometown of the Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Co. Ltd, the first indigenous vehicle manufacturing plant in Nigeria, Chief Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma, popularly known as Innoson, started skeletal work in 2009 and full operation after it was opened by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010.
Since then, work has been going on in earnest and the economic condition in the country has not stopped the production of vehicles at the factory, as it keeps producing buses, cars, mini-buses, refuse disposal vehicles and even trucks and tippers at full capacity.
At the factory, it appeared that buying Innoson vehicles is as good as buying Japanese products with Mitsubishi engine or some America products. It is not purely a local technology yet.
The engines of the vehicles are imported from places like Japan and America, with all the advantages of being made in Japan, such as fuel economy, yet the vehicles are built for Nigerian terrains.
In spite of the challenges manufacturers are facing in securing foreign exchange (forex) to import most of their raw materials, work goes on smoothly at IVM.
Some Chinese expatriates were sighted at the company teaching the local technicians how to weld and couple the parts together.
It was gathered 10 vehicles were being churned out everyday for now, pending when they can go into full production and most of the raw materials are sourced locally, except a few imported from places like US and Japan.
The vehicles were at different stages of production and those that were ready for the market were displayed at the showroom opposite the late Chief Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu’s house in Nnewi.
There, dealers come from far and near to place orders.
According to the General Manager of the company, Jude Onusogu, buying Innoson products is as good as buying Japanese products, with Mitsubishi engine or some America products.
“It is not purely a local technology yet, as the engine of the vehicles are imported from places like Japan and America. It has all the advantages of made in Japan vehicles like fuel efficiency. Yet the vehicles were built for Nigerian roads.”
He said 10 vehicles could be produced everyday for now, pending when they would go into full production.
One of the advantages of buying Innoson products, according to him, is that the owner of the vehicle can return the vehicles to the factory for refurbishment.
“At the end of the day, your vehicle would come out almost as new.”
He disclosed that raw materials are sourced locally, except the ones that cannot be got locally.
Production Manager, Mr. Emeka Uyanwa, reasoned that the IVM started skeletal work in 2009 and full operation after it was officially opened by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010.
“Since then, work has been going on in earnest. The economic condition in the country has not stopped the production of vehicles at the factory and the technology of producing different types of vehicles are available at the factory.”
According to him, the jig is an instrument, which used to position the materials for welding the parts of the materials for buses, cars and SUVs among others.
“It is also used for mass production of parts of similar appearance.
“Before painting, the vehicle will go to paint shop. They treat the body against corrosion, antirust treatment and apply primer to expose places that are not smooth, then body filler should there be any dent in the process of production before the final painting and assembling of the vehicle.”
He explained that they also have the chassis assembly section, where they assemble the chassis, the roof AC.
“At the end of the day, the vehicle would go for final quality control test. There would be rain test and road test before the vehicle is certified okay for sale.”
“Presently, the company has made in-road into some African countries, such as Ghana, Sierra Leone, Chad, Niger, Togo.
“As the first indigenous motor manufacturing company in Nigeria. I wanted to prove that Nigerians can do it,” which he said has been proved.
According to him, the inspiration to go into vehicle manufacturing was drawn from a desire to see Nigerians drive new cars, because “Nigeria has become a dumping ground for second-hand cars.”
When the car manufacturing company began, he faced a lot of challenges because some people felt it will not work, but today, he is the first black man to embark on such a venture.
His group of manufacturing companies employs over 7,400 Nigerians. IVM manufacturers of quality high capacity city buses, safe and cost-effective mini and midi buses, pick-up trucks and garbage collecting vehicles.
It was in the course of motorcycle importation that he discovered that there were a lot of plastics in a motorcycle; hence he set up a plastic plant to produce the plastics components locally.
These are some of the things he did to bring down the cost of motorcycle to about N60,000.
The technology of producing different types of vehicles is available at the factory. The jig is an instrument, which they use to position the materials for welding the parts of the materials for buses, cars and SUVs among others. It is also use for mass production of parts of similar appearance. Before painting, the vehicle will go to paint shop. They treat the body against corrosion, antirust treatment. They will apply primer to expose places that are not smooth. They will apply body filler should there be any dent in the process of production before the final painting and assembling of the vehicle.
They also have the Chassis Assembly section where they assemble the chassis, the roof AC. At the end of the day the vehicle would go for final quality control test. There would be rain test, road test before the vehicle is certified okay for sale.
For smaller buses they move through the production processes from finishing point to alignment, AC point, rain test and road test. The rain test is a place with artificial rain for testing whether the vehicles are fit for road or not.