• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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Innoson delivers new plant to produce 30,000 CNG buses, trucks yearly

Innoson delivers new plant to produce 30,000 CNG buses, trucks yearly

Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Company Ltd (IVM), Nnewi, an auto manufacturer in Nigeria, has delivered a new multi-billion naira plant dedicated to making Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses and heavy-duty trucks.

The new plant, which is about 90 percent completed, can build 30,000 CNG buses annually and is expected to be commissioned soon, according to Innocent Chukwuma, chairman of Innoson Group.

Chukwuma also disclosed that the company will in conjunction with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), build a plant that will be producing tractors and other farm implements.

This comes in response to an appeal by a group of farmers led by Ebere Orji Odi, to IVM to consider producing tractors and related implements to enhance mechanised farming and boost the economy.

Odi said the intervention of Innoson and other auto companies in the manufacturing of farm equipment will boost mechanised farming.

Alfred Nwosu, a media consultant and director of Innoson Group, said the plan to manufacture tractors is seriously being considered.

“With the wide acceptance of Innoson CNG vehicles, the company last year embarked on the construction of a new plant dedicated to producing only CNG automobiles,” Nwosu said.

Nwosu said the farmers’ concerns ‘resonated with the company,’ which was why they had initiated a joint venture with the UNN.

The project, Nwosu explained, is presently witnessing a lull following the change of baton in the administration of the higher institution.

He assured that the coming on stream of the plant will enable the production of tractors and farm implements, under the brand name of Lion.

“This Lion project is in line with IVM’s commitment to satisfying the vehicular needs of the Nigerian market and that of Africa. Though Chukwuma’s vision of top-quality mobility for the people first manifested with the production of Nigeria’s first indigenous brand of motorcycles in the 90s, this commitment was formally enunciated on October 15, 2010, when the then President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned the plant in Nnewi.

“The factory took off with the production of minibuses and pick-ups, with the former President directing that all government vehicles must be sourced from Innoson and other local automakers,” he said.

Innoson afterwards expanded into the production of passenger cars and refuse management trucks. The IVM line-up has since been expanded to include medium, city (mass transit) and inter-city buses, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), family vehicles, purpose-built 4×4 pick-ups, military vehicles, specialised vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks.

Some of these vehicles have at different times been exported to Sierra Leone, Niger, Congo, Ghana, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso

Before the removal of the fuel subsidy in 2022, Innoson expanded into the manufacturing of vehicles that run on CNG engines.

This move was encouraged by the success recorded by the autogas buses and other vehicles manufactured by IVM in the past two years.

BusinessDay however understands that despite the automaker’s capacity in the production of CNG buses, Innoson was not included in the list of auto companies awarded contracts for the assembling of the Federal Government’s CNG buses initiative, a plan to mitigate the impact of fuel-subsidy removal on the masses.

“The exclusion from FG’s CNG initiative won’t deter us rather, we will continue to do our best to manufacture vehicles that satisfy the various needs of the Nigerian market,” Nwosu added.