JAC Targets African, Middle East Auto Markets
Leading Chinese automaker, JAC, has expressed its intention to look into the Middle East and African markets to boost its sales.
The company says it plans to focus on young, tech-savvy and style-conscious drivers in the two markets.
This, Business Post learnt, brought about the launch of JAC’s S2 model SUV at the Cairo Automech auto show in March.
With a stylish and sporty exterior, high-end specifications, outstanding off-road performance and reasonable price tag, the S2 is expected to repeat the sales success of the S3, which has sold over 300,000 vehicles globally since its release nearly two years ago.
The S3 has sold particularly well in Egypt since its launch there last July, passing 100 vehicles per month.
In terms of commercial vehicles, JAC recently celebrated its 300,000th high-end light-duty truck sold. As it is known, JAC has sold over 300,000 high-end light duty trucks internationally over the last 14 years.
In the South American market it has made a great impression, with the best-selling Chinese models in Chile, Peru and Colombia, among others.
Due to its excellent reputation and high-quality products, JAC has also entered the highly competitive Southeast Asian market, which has been dominated by Japanese brands for a number of decades. JAC’s Euro V light-duty truck has also entered large and developed auto markets such as Turkey and Mexico.
JAC also plans to expand its international exports of electric vehicles (EVs) in the coming months. In April JAC’s EVs became the third best-selling electric models worldwide, with 2,331 vehicles sold that month.
Supporting the evolution of this high-growth sector, JAC has continually developed its electric vehicles, boosting its sales by 400% compared with the same period last year.
In particular, the IEV 6S, launched at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, has received much acclaim from customers for its stylish exterior and eco-friendly technology. The IEV 6S is the first pure electric model to be released in China, equipped with an advanced Samsung lithium battery, and with a range of up to 300km.
During the first half of the year JAC has sold 333,639 vehicles, an increase of nearly 15% from the same period last year, according to data from the China Automobile Association. The S3 model has performed particularly well, selling 97,457 units during 2016, winning an award as the H1 SUV sales champion in China.
Industry experts have put JAC’s recent success down to its focus on quality products and high level of customer care.
Lagos Stops 50% Discount on Transport Fares for BRT, Others
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Lagos state government has announced a full return to the price of all bus rapid transit (BRT), Standard, and FLM with effective from Saturday, April 1.
In a notice seen by Business Post on Tuesday, the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) said it would be reverting all its regulated buses fare to a 100 per cent rate.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, had on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, approved a 50 per cent slash in bus fares following the cash crunch brought about by the recent currency swap.
Now, following the supreme court and federal government’s pronouncements on the use of old notes alongside the new notes and return of stability to the system, “the 50 per cent rebate is hereby discontinued,” it said.
“Consequently, bus fares return to pre-50% slash rate effective Saturday, 1st April 2023,” the statement added.
The development was received with mild concerns from commuters and residents who said the move was political at best.
Recall that the Governor was declared the winner of Saturday, March 18, governorship election in the state after winning 19 of the 20 local government councils in the state, scoring 762,134 votes.
His closest rival, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party, scored 312,329 votes, while Mr Olajide Adediran of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got 62,449 votes.
Volkswagen Opens New Vehicle Assembly Plant in Ghana
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A new 5,000m² vehicle assembly facility located near the Port of Tema in Accra has been opened by Volkswagen as part of its commitment to the development of the automotive industry in Ghana.
Volkswagen was the first automotive company to be registered under the Ghana Automotive Development Programme (GADP), and this new investment strengthened the brand’s presence in the country and the region.
Recall that in August 2020, Volkswagen awarded an assembly contract to Universal Motors Limited (UML) as its licenced importer in the West African country.
But with this latest development, Volkswagen will take over the new vehicle assembly responsibility from UML, which assembled models such as Tiguan, Teramont, Passat, Polo, Amarok and T-Cross on behalf of Volkswagen using Semi-Knocked Down (SKD) assembly kits imported from South Africa.
“Ghana is an important market for our Sub-Saharan Africa expansion plans, especially in West Africa, where we have identified opportunities of developing a collaborative automotive industry hub amongst the countries in the region.
“The hub concept will ensure that each country with an automotive development policy or economic interest in the automotive industry has an important role to play in the supply value chain. We believe AfCFTA will be the catalyst which will unlock trade barriers and promote regional collaboration amongst the countries,” the Chairperson and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, Ms Martina Biene, said.
“Volkswagen is fully committed to Ghana and in supporting its industrial transformation agenda despite the current economic challenges facing the country. We are here for the long haul.
“Our company believes in long-term investments which are nurtured through mutual relationships with like-minded partners.
“Ghana’s commitment to the development of its automotive industry is evident in the GADP, which is still the blueprint automotive policy in the region in terms of creating an enabling environment for the establishment of an automotive industry in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Ms Biene added.
Ghana is the fourth Volkswagen assembly location in Sub-Saharan Africa. The other locations are in South Africa, where Volkswagen has been manufacturing vehicles for over 72 years, as well as Kenya and Rwanda.
Volkswagen has a presence in 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, where it sells passenger and commercial vehicles through licensed importers.
“As the last frontier for the global development of the automotive industry, Sub-Saharan Africa has become very important for the sustainability of Volkswagen. We are therefore accelerating our growth strategy on the continent by playing a pioneering and leading role in the development of the automotive industry,” commented Ms Biene.
Nigeria to Benefit from Bolt’s Fresh €500m for African Expansion
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Nigeria, one of the major markets of the leading mobility app in Africa, Bolt, is set to benefit from the fresh €500 million earmarked for expanding the company’s services on the continent.
The ride-hailing firm said it intends to inject the funds into its African operations in the next two years after the demand for its services is increasing despite the harsh economic challenges.
According to a statement, Bolt hopes to create opportunities for over 300,000 new drivers and couriers to join the platform in 2023.
“While many companies are scaling back investments given the macroeconomic environment, we recognize the transformational effect platforms like Bolt can have in Africa.
“We operate in markets where there are unique challenges, and by continuing to expand our services, we will offer people new opportunities to earn a good living by being a driver, as well as providing millions of customers with a safe, reliable, and affordable way of moving around their city,” the Regional Manager for West and North Africa at Bolt, Ireoluwa Obatoki, said.
The founder of Bolt, Mr Markus Villig, is in Africa with Bolt’s global leadership team where they are visiting local Bolt teams in South Africa and Kenya and meeting with senior government stakeholders.
The company was launched in South Africa in 2016 but now operates ride-hailing and delivery services in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Tunisia, with over 47 million customers and 900,000 drivers on the platform.
Its corporate travel arm, Bolt Business, has also been introduced in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya, offering local businesses safe and affordable ways for their employees to travel.
“Over the past seven years, we have built a strong team of 500 people in Africa, and we remain committed to investing in local communities for the long term.
“At a time when many countries are facing economic challenges, we will continue to grow our presence in Africa through this new investment which offers massive potential to create new jobs and income opportunities for drivers and couriers,” Mr Villig stated.
Within seven years of its inception, Bolt has surpassed one billion rides in Africa and expects the number of drivers on the platform to hit over one million in the next six months.
In 2021, Bolt introduced a new service that allowed female riders to choose a female driver for their journey. This new category not only increased safety for both drivers and riders in South Africa but also provided women with a way to explore new earnings opportunities.
Following the success of the ‘women-only’ category in South Africa, it was also launched in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya.
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