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Sarginsons invests £2.5m to become market leader for automotive industry

One of Coventry’s oldest engineering firms has undergone a transformation to make it a market leader in the production of lightweight components to the automotive industry.

Sarginsons, based on Torrington Avenue, has injected around £2.5million into the business during the last three years.

The investment has helped complete a full foundry floor rebuild to make efficiency improvements to its low pressure casting capability.

Part of that has included introducing large scale low pressure casting machines and the installation of four new melting furnaces and eight new holding furnaces, which have been part funded by a grant from the European Regional Development Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

That investment will greatly reduce the firm’s energy consumption and improve the working environment for its employees, whilst significantly increasing its capacity.

Anthea McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands, was given a guided tour of the new facilities this week. The MEP, who is the Conservative spokesman on employment in the European Parliament, said: “I think it’s really encouraging to see today what is being done for manufacturing, and how it is bringing in further investment and jobs. I am really glad to see jobs coming from abroad back here into the UK.

“Business here has good links with the two universities and we are talking about high-tech manufacturing and quality production.”

Roy Sims, chief executive at Sarginsons Industries, said: “Sarginsons is the most technically sophisticated aluminium die-caster in the UK and by having the most up-to-date equipment and through the adoption of the most modern manufacturing techniques, an industry previously considered dirty, even unfashionable, is now able to deliver some of the most innovative products in the world.

“We have a vision and a plan to ensure Sarginsons grows its position as a leading innovator in die casting, fully capable of supporting our local and global manufacturers with specialist expertise in the delivery of complex components as the light weighting revolution in vehicle production increases demand.

“There is an enormous push to replace heavier metals with lighter aluminium alloys, driven by the need to increase fuel efficiencies.

“We believe that by investing heavily in our people, by having the most up-to-date equipment and through an ingrained desire to be the best in our sector, we will provide our customers with a stable UK supplier.”

Sarginsons was established more than 75 years ago and now counts Jaguar Land Rover, Caterpillar, Bosch,JCB, Aston Martin, Rotork among its client base.

Mr Sims added: “Coventry Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership have been of huge assistance to Sarginsons as we navigate the myriad of support organisations out there.

“They have supported us in the design of training plans for our employees each matching our business needs, and helped support our liaison with grant bodies and with Government funding programmes. It has been refreshing to work with the Enterprise partnership, which has such a proactive, commercially aware approach.”

Ann Lucas, leader of Coventry City Council, and a LEP board member added: “Sarginsons is a well-known and long established name on the Coventry industrial landscape and we are very pleased to have been able to help them though the LEP which is doing the business for more and more local firms.”

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Truck deals help boost auto industry in September

Chrysler’s U.S. sales jump 19%; Ram truck sails up 30%

Chrysler Group says its U.S. sales rose 19 percent in September thanks to strong demand for the new Jeep Cherokee SUV and the Ram pickup.


DETROIT  — Big discounts on pickup trucks helped keep U.S. auto sales strong in September.

The pace was expected to slow from a blistering August, which was the best month for the industry in eight years. August got a boost from 2014 model year clearance sales and Labor Day promotions.

But September held its own, with analysts expecting sales to rise around 10 percent from a year ago.

While August was fueled by discounts on midsize cars, September saw good deals on pickup trucks. General Motors Co. and Chrysler hoped to take advantage of Ford, which temporarily closed a truck factory to retool for its new aluminum-clad F-150. Ford cut back on discounts in order to keep more trucks in stock during the shutdown.

Jeep continued to lead Chrysler Group LLC’s sales growth in September, with sales of the sport-utility brand up 45 percent over last year.

That growth, along with another strong month from the Ram truck brand, pushed Chrysler sales to nearly 170,000 vehicles, a 19 percent increase compared to last year.

For the second month in a row, the Toledo-built Cherokee was the best-selling Jeep and the company’s second best-selling vehicle behind the Ram pickup. The company has sold 128,133 Cherokees so far this year.

Sales of the Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler’s other Toledo-built product, were up 16 percent over last year to 13,955. Chrysler said it was the best September ever for Wrangler.

Ford Motor Co. felt some pain as a result. Ford’s sales dropped 3 percent to 180,175, and F-Series truck sales were down 1 percent to 59,863. It was the first time in seven months that Ford’s monthly truck sales have dropped below 60,000.

Ford saw a 9 percent increase in Fusion sedan sales, but otherwise its car sales were down. Sales of the Escape small SUV also fell 4 percent.

GM was expected to lead the way on incentives, and it should pay off in big sales gains. Barclays analyst Brian Johnson expects GM to add nearly a full point of market share to 18.1 percent.

GM spent just under $5,000 in incentives per pickup, about 30 percent, or $1,140, higher than a year ago, according to J.D. Power.

“It should be should be a big month for pickup trucks,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of auto sales forecasting for LMC Automotive, an industry consulting firm. “The main driver is the deal.”

Also fueling the higher sales are crossover SUVs such as the Cherokee, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, Schuster said.

Other automakers reporting today:

— Nissan sales rose 18.5 percent to 102,955. Sales of the newly revamped Rogue crossover jumped 52 percent, while sales of the electric Leaf were up 47 percent.

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The Nigerian automotive industry: An eagle eye’s view

Sometimes in October 2013, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced its National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) to stimulate investment in local vehicle production/assembly. This Plan was initiated to bolster Nigeria’s economy such that some of the revenue which would otherwise have been flown abroad in exchange for used cars colloquially known as ‘Tokunboh’ vehicles would be retained within the economy.

The FGN’s resolve to encourage ‘home-assembled’ cars was reiterated more recently by Nigeria’s Minister of  Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Olusegun Aganga  on September 11, 2014 while speaking at a Stakeholder’s  meeting organized by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). At that meeting, the Honorable Minister highlighted Nigeria’s potential for trade and investment cooperation with India in sectors like pharmaceuticals, Energy, Agriculture (with particular focus on sugar, cotton textiles and garments, leather and leather products, palm oil production); and automotive.

According to an official gazette of the National Automotive Council (which was also distributed to Stakeholders during this meeting), a total of about 400,000 vehicles (100,000 new and 300,000 used) valued at over N550billion (US$3.451 billion) were imported into Nigeria in 2012. According to the ‘Council’, if operated at full capacity, Nigeria’s automotive industry has the potential to create about 70,000 skilled and semi-skilled jobs along with 210,000 indirect jobs in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). There is therefore no doubt that, uninhibited, the Automotive Sector is an economic booster for Nigeria if there are no challenges such as inadequate power supply.

The role of inadequate power supply as an harbinger of the stunted growth of the Automotive Industry was recently re-echoed by the National Assembly when the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Bill passed the 2nd reading stage. According to the National Assembly, the legislation, if it becomes law will only achieve its objectives if issues such as power supply are promptly rectified.

Reiterating this point, the President of the Nigerian Senate, David Mark said “On paper this is an excellent bill and there is absolutely no doubt about it, but what is more important is that it is not just this bill alone that will solve the problem of the automotive industry. Beyond this bill, practically on ground we are not just prepared because no investor is going to put his money here if you cannot guarantee him power. If he is going to run on generator 24 hours, he will never be able to compete in the international market. It is not a matter of producing rubber for Michelin, it is beyond that. DICON, which is in Kaduna today was established the same time with the one in Brazil and India. Today the equivalent in Brazil is building ships, aircrafts, armoured cars, DICON in Nigeria is producing furniture….”

What this means is that unless the reforms in the electricity sub sector is hastily concluded, reviving Nigeria’s Automotive Industry might just remain another white elephant project.

It is no longer news that having privatized its power assets, the FGN is now making concerted efforts to attain uninterrupted power supply in the country. However these efforts have not been shielded from the perenial challenges. Nonetheless, the consequence(s) of not ‘getting it right’ is the difficulty sectors such as the Automotive Industry now face.

It will be recalled that the Nigerian Automotive Industry dates back to early 1960s when private companies such as the UAC, Leventis, SCOA and R.T. Briscoe pioneered the establishment of Auto Assembly Plants using Completely Knocked Down (CKD) or Semi-Knocked Down (SKD) parts. Like the Oil Gas Sector, Government, became involved in the industry between 1970-1980 when it concluded agreements with a number of Automobile Plants in Europe to set up 2 cars and 4 truck/light commercial vehicles assembly plants using Completely Knocked Down (CKD) Parts. The 2 car plants were Peugeot Nigeria Ltd. (PAN), Kaduna, and Volkswagen of Nigeria Ltd. (VWON) Lagos while the 4 truck plants were Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company (ANAMMCO), Enugu, Styer Nigeria Ltd., Bauchi, National Truck Manufacturers (NTM), Kano, and Leyland Nigeria Ltd., Ibadan. These car and truck/light commercial vehicle plants were all privatized by the end of 2007. However, not much has happened in that Sector thus boosting car importation business.

The Legislative/Regulatory Framework:

Apart from the pending Nigerian Automotive Industry Development (NAID) bill currently pending before the National Assembly and the National Automotive Council Act, there is paucity of legislations regulating the Nigerian Automotive Industry. What this means is that much of the activities relating to the industry are governed by government Policies/Directives such as:

National Automotive Council Act: This Act established the National Automotive Council, a body which regularly review the automotive parts/components development industry in Nigeria as well as evolve a local content programme applicable to the industry. The Council is also empowered to issue Regulations generally for effective implementation of provisions of the Act.

Standards Organization of Nigeria Act: The Act established the Standards Organization of Nigeria to standardize methods and products in Nigerian industries and to provide for other matters connected thereto. By the provisions of the Act, the Standards Council of Nigeria is empowered to establish industrial standards that regulates and ensures that all products produced in Nigeria are in accordance with the designated standards and specifications approved by the Council.

The Automotive Industry Development Plan: Government’s blue print to revive the Automotive Sector by taking advantage of its large domestic market, labour intensive characteristics, strong industrial linkages, existing installed base and export potential to other ECOWAS Countries.

Perhaps, in response to the dearth of Legislation/Regulation governing the Automobile Industry, the FGN makes allowance(s) for requisite incentives to boost return on investments (RoIs) in the Industry. Indeed, the Federal Government seeks to revive the market by putting the following incentives in place which are as follows:

Import duty for Completely Knocked Down parts (CKD) for vehicle assembly is 2.5% while that of fully built up units is 30%;

The mandatoriness of all government Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals to patronize the products of local automotive assembly plants;

Industrial establishments that have implant training facilities enjoy a 2% tax concession for a period of 5 years;

20% of investments in infrastructure, such as roads, water, and electricity are tax deductable;

Industries in economically disadvantaged areas are entitled to an additional 5% capital depreciation allowance over and above the initial allowance of about 25-30%;

Industries with high labour to capital ratio are entitled to the following allowances: those employing 1000 persons will enjoy 15% tax concession, those employing 200 or more will enjoy a 7% tax concession and finally those employing 100 persons or more have a 6% tax concession;

Engineering industry with a high local value added will enjoy a 10% tax concession for 10 years whilst those with up to 60% local raw materials utilization will attract 20% tax credit for 5 years.

Local Content Policies

In developing local capacity for the Automotive Industry, the FGN through the ‘Council’ has continued to improve local participation industry in its bid to bolster skill acquisition. It has done this in the following ways:

The ‘Council’ is expected to work closely with the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) investors to fill skills gaps in auto operations by ensuring that all lower skilled and mid-skilled roles are filled by Nigerians and with concrete plans to staff high-skilled positions with Nigerians over the first 4-6 years.

The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) is already working with SENAI in Brazil to design auto training centers similar to obtains in Brazil in the three existing Nigerian auto clusters. These centers will not only train Nigerians to maintain and service vehicles, but will also train them to manufacture spare parts;

The National Automotive Council is also partnering with the Nigerian Universities Commission by developing a curriculum for a degree in automotive engineering. Two Universities; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (Bauchi State) and Elizade University (Ondo State) already have plans to offer this programme. Similarly, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and other Stakeholders have developed a new curricula for teaching automotive mechanics.


As laudable and sterling as the Federal Government’s effort to revive the Automobile Sector is, critical sectors such as the power must be taken into consideration as there will be no attraction to a proposed investor looking to investing in an industry which is driven predominantly on privately generated power. Akin to that is the need to ensure strict compliance with the knowledge transfer obligation to Nigerians. Perhaps, if this had been the case in the 1970s, there may not be the dire need to attract foreign automobile manufacturers at this time.

Finally, the FGN should consider a more robust legal and regulatory framework for the Automotive Industry. Although the Automotive Industry Development Bill is reaching an advanced legislative Stage, there is the need for government to continue its research on the best framework for the Industry and subject the Bill (which would hopefully have become an Act) to periodic review(s).

Tolulope Aderemi is a Partner at Perchstone Graeys

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The 4th Macau Auto Show Earns Its Place on the International Stage

MACAU, Sept. 30, 2014 /CNW/ – After three years spent earning its stripes, the 4th China (Macau) International Automobile Exposition (“the 4th Macau Auto Show”) is drawing international attention as it becomes a platform through which vehicles designed and manufactured in China by the country’s homegrown carmakers tap global markets.

BMW Product Launch Press Conference at the 2013 Macau Auto Show.

The exhibition will be co-hosted by China National Machinery Industry Corporation, Nam Kwong (Group) Company Limited and Macau Convention Exhibition Association, and organized by China National Automotive Industry International Corporation and Nam Kwong International Exhibition Convention Center. The event will be held at the Cotai Expo in The Venetian Macao from November 7-9, 2014.

Macau has already established itself as an important link between mainland China and the world, a globally recognized tourism and leisure hub and a service platform for China’s trade with Portuguese-speaking countries. The enclave, with revenue of approx. US$44 billion from more than 29 million international annual visitors, is home to a number of internationally-renowned hotels. Macau’s gaming revenues were 600 per cent higher than those of Las Vegas last year. The fast paced growth of the area has already placed it on its way to becoming a true global top-level recreation and leisure center.

With Macao’s strategic location on mainland China’s doorstep, the Macau Auto Show has proven its international reach by bringing together over 60 major automobile brands from 15 countries and regions around the world along with Chinese proprietary automobile brands, including Dongfeng Motor, GAC Motor, Beiqi, Chang’an Automobile, SAIC Motor, JAC, China North Industries Group, Great Wall Motors, Zhengzhou Yutong Bus and Shenzhen Wuzhoulong Motors. In addition, the State-Owned Enterprise Electric Vehicle Industry Alliance of China, together with the country’s eight leading state-owned new energy vehicle makers, including FAW and Potevio, will participate in this year’s expo. Luxury and imported brands exhibiting at the show include Bugatti, Pagani, Lamborghini, Bentley, Mercedes Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar, Volkswagen, Audi, Volvo, Lexus, BMW, Nissan, Noble, Mitsuoka, Lorinser and Tesla. Concurrent events being held during the show include some 20 high-end summits and events. The show, spread out over 62,000 square meters of hall exhibition space, is expected to attract over 165,000 visitors, making it the largest, highest profile and most visited professional exhibition in Macao to date and creating a new milestone in the region’s exhibition sector.

Photo –

SOURCE China National Automotive Industry International Corporation

For further information: Qiu Huiying, +86-10-82606847

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$600-M automotive industry fund eyed

Malacañang is eyeing of setting up a $600 million automotive industry fund that would entice serious investors into making the right investments in the country to support government’s long term goal of creating a domestic manufacturing industry that will create sustainable jobs for Filipinos, according to Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras.

Almendras revealed this planned automotive industry support fund to reporters at the Philippine Economic Briefing as he also made firm assurances that the Philippine Automotive Industry Roadmap, which will be the basis for the setting up of the planned million dollar fund, will be completed within the year.

“We have set a big amount of $600 million maybe more maybe less but we are making sure that the impact is not just one year or two but that the industry will grow. We make sure that what we are planting will become a big tree, not a small bush,” Almendras stressed.

“I am sure we can do it (roadmap) this year we just have to do some fine-tunings,” he added. Local automotive industry players, particularly Toyota Motors and Mitsubishi Motors, have been fidgety over the long-delayed automotive industry blueprint and even threatened to pull out operations in the country.

“The end game why we have the automotive industry program is jobs generation,” he said stressing the program will encourage automotive companies to make the right investments to produce cars in the Philippines.

The Cabinet Secretary also said the fund will be allocated under the General Appropriations Act by Congress, but refused to give details as to the hurdles investors have to comply to avail of the support fund. He rather dwelt on the issue of jobs creation that will be generated because of the program.

Almendras also said that the numbers for the planned industry support fund are still being finalized and how it will be deployed to investors. He even refused to call it a tax incentives package or subsidy but just a support to investors.

“It is still under study on how to deploy it appropriately,” he said adding the Aquino administration has learned the mistakes of the past automotive industry programs.

Previous and existing automotive industry development programs grant income tax holidays to investments in the assembly of cars, and tax credits for exports of locally assembled units based on a minimum volume.

This time, however, Almendras said “We are quite innovative in the way we’re going to use it, we have learned the mistakes of the past auto programs.”

Initially, the industry roadmap has set a 40,000 unit annual production per model or a cumulative 200,000 unit in five years to avail of government incentives, but which the industry labeled as too ambitious given the small domestic market.

The domestic industry has been proposing that government should at least make up for the higher cost of production in the country. Studies have shown that a car produced in the Philippines is $1,000 per unit more expensive than producing the same unit in other ASEAN countries.

This higher production cost in the Philippines has made automotive firms to shy away from this market for better margins elsewhere in ASEAN, particularly Thailand and Indonesia.

Almendras also stressed that the automotive industry roadmap, once completed, will ensure there will be short term, medium term and longer term benefits.

“The auto industry cannot be seen as just a now intervention, we have to make sure that whatever program we have it will have short term, medium and long term benefits,” he stressed.

He also noted that government has learned that the auto industry is not something that will happen overnight but requires a whole bunch of factors to make it happen.

Thus, he said, the government has to come up with the right program so it can look forward to something bigger in the future.

The local auto industry expects to exceed its revised 250,000 unit sales this year and reach 300,000 units by 2015. (BCM)

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Auto industry is an econ-boost engine in KC

Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant

Ford Motor Co.’s Kansas City Assembly Plant will be hopping by the end of the year with a second Transit van shift and 2,200 new employees.

James Dornbrook
Reporter- Kansas City Business Journal


New jobs at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant have been all over the news lately, with the company boosting employment from 3,800 in 2013 to 6,000 by the end of this year.

That’s 2,200 good-paying new jobs at the Ford plant alone, thanks to Ford investing $1.1 billion to retool the plant so it can produce the Transit van and the newly designed 2015 F-150. They are two of the company’s most important products, given the potential for corporate fleet sales, on top of the F-150 simply being the best-selling automobile on the continent.

RELATED: Ford exec: New KC jobs reflect continued investment in area

General Motors also is helping drive the regional economy, supporting about 4,000 jobs at its Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kan. The company is in the midst of spending $600 million to upgrade its plant, adding a new stamping press and constructing a 3.7 million-square-foot, state-of-the-art paint shop.

But the auto industry’s benefit to the Kansas City economy extends well beyond the Ford and GM plants. According to the Kansas City Area Development Council, the area attracted eight automotive suppliers in the past year alone. The list and what it means for the economy are impressive:

  • Grupo Antolin announced in June 2013 that it will set up a 148,000-square-foot plant in Kansas City and create 118 jobs with a $3.73 million payroll to supply headliners to Ford and GM.
  • Exel Logistics announced in September 2013 that it would set up a 158,000-square-foot shop in Kansas City to distribute parts to the Ford plant. The shop created 43 jobs with a $1.4 million payroll.
  • Janesville Acoustics announced in January 2014 that it would build a 155,000-square-foot plant in Warrensburg to supply acoustical fiber insulation to GM, employing 164 people with a payroll of $6.2 million.
  • Inergy Automotive Systems announced in January 2014 that it would set up a 70,000-square-foot shop in Kansas City, Kan., to produce plastic fuel systems for GM, employing 65 with a $3.2 million payroll.
  • Leggett Platt Commercial Vehicle Products announced in March that it would create a 25,000-square-foot shop in Kansas City to modify Ford vehicles. It will employ 25 with a payroll of $1 million.
  • LMV Automotive announced in March that it would build a 253,600-square-foot automotive parts plant in Liberty that will employ 166 with a $7.3 million payroll.
  • Martinrea announced in April that it would set up a 275,560-square-foot facility in Riverside to manufacture front-end components for GM, employing 290 with an $11 million payroll.
  • Project Walker said in June that it would build a 400,000-square-foot manufacturing plant to build undercarriages for General Motors. The operation will employ 375 with a payroll of $16.49 million.

James reports about banking, financial services, manufacturing and sports business.

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Aluminium threatens steel’s dominance of the car industry

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Silicon Valley challenges Detroit’s auto-industry leadership

Under the headline “Motor City West Revs Up Demand for Space,” the Wall Street Journal ran an article July 8 that should scare the bejesus out of Detroit and Michigan.

“The future of the car is in Silicon Valley,” a vice president of the San Francisco-based Bay Area Council Economic Institute boldly predicted in the story, adding, “We’re getting this entirely new ecosystem around automotive parts.”


First it was southern U.S. states luring auto assmbly plants in the 1980s; then maquiladora auto plants exploding along the Mexico border in the 1990s; then a mad scramble to match the so-called “China price” when America’s automakers were desperately trying to buy cheaper components in order to offset their unsustainable legacy costs.

Now we have Silicon Valley challenging Detroit’s leadership in the auto industry’s most promising growth areas — autonomous cars, connected vehicles, eco-friendly powertrains.

All of which sets the table nicely for the 2014 MICHauto Summit at Cobo Center, a daylong conference Tuesday exploring the hot automotive trends and, hopefully, bold ideas for growing investment and jobs in Michigan’s signature industry.

MICHauto, a group absorbed and then beefed up by the Detroit Regional Chamber three years ago, is dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the auto industry in our state.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Something that should have been Job One for Michigan’s economic development officials and elected leaders since way-back-when. But it wasn’t.

We took the golden goose for granted and Michigan domination of the auto eroded steadily after the 1960s until the whole house of cards darn near collapsed a few years ago.

Things looking up

Things are looking up now. Ford, Chrysler and General Motors and the supply base are all profitable — investing, adding jobs — and Michigan is attracting investment from around the world.

“Homer is booming,” Gov. Rick Snyder told me recently, referring to the $115-million investment announced in May by Italian parts maker Brembo at a plant in Homer, near Battle Creek. The company makes brakes, discs, calipers and corner modules. Brembo also has a technology center in Plymouth, one of more than 300 automotive research and development operations in the state.

Just last week, a Chinese firm announced plans to add up to 300 jobs to build aluminum alloy wheels on the site of a former solar panel plant in Greenville that closed in 2012, while Israeli-owned Plasan Carbon Composites said up to 620 new jobs will result from expansion of a plant near Grand Rapids that makes lightweight body parts and assemblies for sports cars.

Serves as warning

While these are welcome developments, that Wall Street Journal article serves as a warning against complacency, a reminder that every city, state and nation in the world is courting companies that make high-value-added products and create the well-paying jobs that come with them.

“While the growth of auto manufacturing has been mostly confined to Tesla and its supply chain, the growth of auto research and design investment in Silicon Valley has been spread widely throughout the industry,” the Journal story stated, noting that BMW, Nissan-Renault, Ford and Toyota have opened large RD centers since 2012.

“It is scary stuff, if you do nothing about it,” said Glenn Stevens, vice president of MICHauto, who led the effort to assemble a group of speakers for Tuesday’s summit that includes Ralph Gilles, Chrysler’s head of motorsports and product design; GM’s global product boss Mark Reuss, Snyder and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Duggan’s remarks should be particularly interesting, as Detroit emerges from municipal bankruptcy at a time of great need and opportunity. The city desperately needs good jobs — and has an abundance of inexpensive, vacant land and industrial space.

Detroit’s fledgling economic revival, driven mostly by health care jobs and some in-migration of young workers to downtown and Midtown so far, cannot fully rev up until the city regains more of its lost industrial mojo. Duggan is said to be cooking up some ideas in the automotive space; we’ll see Tuesday if he’s ready to unveil any.

Follow Tom Walsh on Twitter @TomWalsh_freep

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REFILE-BRIEF-Akka Technologies signs contract with Bejing Automotive Industry

(Changes ‘complet’ into ‘complete’)

Sept 29 (Reuters) – Akka Technologies SA :

* Says to sign contract with Bejing Automotive Industry Co
through its German subsidiary MBtech

* Says contract with BAIC is signed for design and
development of new complete vehicle BAIC C90 L

Further company coverage:

(Gdynia Newsroom: +48 58 698 39 20;

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Empowering the Auto Industry

“Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), which is in Kaduna today, was established at the same time with the one in Brazil and India. Today, the equivalent in Brazil is building ships, aircraft, armoured cars; DICON in Nigeria is producing furniture.”

The above excerpt paints a graphic picture of the dire situation which our automotive industry has become since the past years.

The grim extract emerged at the Senate recently where the upper chamber gave a nod to the second reading of the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Bill.

Consequently, the Senate, presided by David Mark mandated the Committee on Trade and Investment to appraise the bill and send it back to plenary within two weeks for further legislative action.

The imperatives of passing this bill into law hardly require further emphasis. As the largest economy in Africa, the Nigeria needs to empower its automotive industry so as to compete favourably with other leading economies in the world.

Apart from developing a sustainable and competitive automotive industry in Nigeria, the bill when passed into law would provide the country the leverage to catch up with China, India and other leading countries in automobiles production.

However, a related bill germane to the sector, which has been left in the cooler, is that of Equipment Leasing which affects the effective operation and activities of leasing companies in Nigeria.

The Equipment Leasing Bill, now before the National Assembly, had suffered several setbacks. Passed by the Fifth National Assembly, but failed to get the presidential assent of Obasanjo’s administration on account of administrative bottlenecks, resulted in the decision of the Sixth National Assembly to retool the bill. The bill, which had gone through full legislative cycle at the previous House of Representatives, was said to have been transmitted to the Senate through First Reading before the expiration of tenure of the Sixth National Assembly. It is still cooling off at the current National Assembly.

The Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria (ELAN), a vital player in the automobile industry, is said to be losing many business opportunities of partnering with reputable firms, not only in West Africa, but other international organisations because of the absence of this regulatory framework.

Now that the present administration is poised to re-jig the automotive industry, the efforts being made to enact a law to regulate the activities and operations in this important sector, bear approbation.

However, mere passage of the bill is not an open sesame to transforming the automotive industry to an effective and competitive sector required to rub shoulders with other leading automobile industries in the world.

A situation where an industry operates for 24 hours or less with generating sets, would not ensure competitiveness in the global automobile space. Government’s renewed thinking and drive towards ensuring regular quality power supply is indispensability to attaining the lofty aims of this vital sector of the economy.

Although a private sector affair, there is need for government to put in place adequate policy measures to ensure that Nigerians have the necessary manpower skill to work in the automobile industry.

Needless to emphasise that policy reversals should be avoided because the country is now stewing in its own juice, becoming dependent on foreign sources for our fuel needs. A situation whereby refineries were privatised during former President Obasanjo’ administration, only to be reversed when the next government took over, readily comes to mind.

Of import, is the need for government to think less about banning used cars from coming into the country, considering the porous nature of our borders. The exercise will not only be in futility, but would result in jacking up the price of these second hand vehicles which find their way through the numerous illegal routes into the country

Also, government should give priority attention to reviving our steel and iron industry as part of the holistic approach to revamping the automotive industry.

More important, is the need for the governments at various levels to compel the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to buy locally produced cars, not only as a means of providing the market for the sector, but a launching pad for taking our youths off the streets.

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