Posted by Amechi Obiakpu, Lagos | 15 February 2014 | 8,528 times
Mirko Plath, Managing Director of Weststar Associates, the authorised sole distributor of Mercedes- Benz products in West Africa, has expressed optimism in the new automotive policy by the Nigerian Government. It is the view of Plath that the new policy aimed at encouraging made-in-Nigeria vehicles has the ability to transform the country’s automotive industry.
He, however, expressed reservation as to the time frame, saying: “Like everywhere in the world, you don’t trade over three months; it takes time because it involves ensuring all available structures and facilities are in place to support the raw materials to build the industry.”
Speaking at the unveiling of the Neobus NewRoad N10 in the company’s office in Lagos, South-West, Nigeria, Plath averred that to build an assembly plant 80% of local content is needed and appreciable time frame.
“Whichever auto sector you have in the world, it took the country a long time to build. It took Brazil between two and three years to build its auto sector to its present state,” he said, adding: “though we have to start somewhere and I believe nobody in the industry is kicking against the policy.”
Commenting on the Neobus NewRoad N10, Alberto Pugnalin, MD, Neo Africa, stated the 59-seater bus is designed to meet the needs of all stakeholders, including bus operators, mechanics, drivers, passengers and business men/women.
His words: “The Neobus is bold, intelligent and novel. It is the first road bus series comprising of uniquely designed vehicles that pair comfort and safety. The fluidity of its lines gives the exterior an exceptional and attractive appeal, and in terms of technology, the Neobus NewRoad N10 is as modern as they come.
“Some of the features that make the classy and elegant-looking Neobus different from other busses include engineering solutions that makes it more attractive, less fuel consumption, wider seater space, amongst others.”
Pugnam believes that despite the new automotive policy, the Neobus will make a statement in the country because the vehicle, according to him, is too unique to be ignored by Nigerian consumers.
“Like everything in life, you first start with something, which is what we are doing then allow the customers react then see how it goes,” he said, adding:
“The body of NewRoad N10 comes on a Mercedes-Benz 0-500 RSD 6x2 Chassis. The bus also consists of 6 in-line vertical cylinders, air suspensions, and has an OM-457 LA- PROCONVE P-5 (Euro III) engine with 360 horsepower
“In addition, the N10 has also been developed to meet the stricter safety standards, R66, version 1, which involves under-going structural calculations by finite elements, in addition to tipping tests, front/side impact tests, maximum side-bending tests and survival cell test.
“The rear air outlet has been developed to enable great exhaustion of air in the motor. This reduces the heating in the passenger room and prevents the motor from overheating.”
•Photo shows the Neobus NewRoad N10.
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