The US auto giant, Ford Motor Co. is betting on Nigeria becoming a major hub for its motor manufacturing and sales in Africa.
Ford will start assembling its Ranger compact pickup at a new facility in Nigeria this year as the second-largest U.S. automaker seeks to take advantage of demand in Africa’s biggest economy.
According to Jeff Nemeth, the head of Ford’s sub-Saharan African operations, “we’re going to have to watch how policy evolves, how free-trade zones evolve,” he said.
“But we believe that the time is right to enter Nigeria to be on the right strategic footing looking into the future.”
Ford sold about 4,000 vehicles in Nigeria last year and is on pace for a similar level in 2015 the Ranger accounts for about 50 percent to 60 percent of the total.
Ford has formed a partnership with Coscharis Motors Ltd., a local distributor, to build the vehicles from body parts and components imported from South Africa.