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Tuesday, 29 September 2015 12:33

Ethiopia: Ukrainian Colossal Car Maker Joins the Local Assembly Business

By Birhanu Fikade

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, September 29, 2015 (The Reporter) -- Nigma Motors PLC, a joint venture formed with the local Nigma Agro-Industry PLC and the Ukraine-based car maker Zaporiziha Automobile Building Plant (ZAZ) Company, has set up an assembly plant in the capital.

The assembled vehicles have been made available to the market. In a press conference held on Thursday at the Nigma Motors Showroom, located off Meskel-Flower, officials of the company told reporters that the joint venture has secured some 7,500sqm plot of land around Wingate area in Addis Ababa.

After cementing deals last year, the owners have decided that the new company goes by the name Nigma Motors in the Ethiopian car assembly market. According to Lakov Zheleznyakov, general manager of Nigma Motors, some 35 vehicles have been assembled so far. Zheleznyakov said that Forza brand vehicles have been the most assembled in the new plant here.

Daniel Tamirat, marketing and sales head of Nigma Motors, said that the company is set to invest over 57 million birr initially. However, in the foreseeable future, Daniel said that the investment amount is expected to swell up to 100 million birr. The assembly plant is said to have a capacity of assembling 25 cars per day in a semi-knocked down scheme. Zheleznyakov told The Reporter that his hope is to assemble about 100 units of four major brand passenger cars this year.

The new car assembly plant, according to Daniel, has opened doors for sales on Thursday and both assembly and aftersales services will run simultaneously at its assembly plant.

The Chinese-dominated car assembly business has now welcomed east European carmakers, making the competition fierce for the well-stationed Chinese companies.

Since, its departure from Holland Car, a pioneer local car assembler, Lifan Motors, has been expanding after it acquired a plant in Eastern Industry Zone, a Chinese-owned and run industry complex located in the town of Dukem some 37km to the east of the capital. "Build Your Dreams" (BYD) cars and the like are run in a Chinese and local joint venture business partnerships in the country.

ZAZ, as one of the giant Ukrainian car-makers, is referred to as one of the sole enterprises in Ukraine operating full-scale cycle of passenger cars production which includes stamping, welding, painting, body trim and assembly lines. Established in 1923, ZAZ is well known for manufacturing cars, vans and buses.

ZAZ was amalgamated with Daewoo Motors in 1998 based on joint venture agreements reached by the two sides. Lately from 2005 onwards the car maker inked agreements with General Motors and opened plants which performed complete knocked-down assembly lines for Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet Captiva, Chevrolet Epica, Chevrolet Evanda and Chevrolet Lacetti model cars. ZAZ has business relations with Opel, Cherry, Kia and Mercedes Benz and the like.

According to both Zheleznyakov and Daniel, the models assembled here will include ZAZ Forza, ZAZ Sens, ZAZ Vida and ZAZ Chancemodel vehicles both in the sedan and hatchback styles. Nigma Motors website gave accounts of prices for some of the assembled models ranging from USD 15,686 to 23,985 per a car. Back in 2012, ZAZ has registered a total revenue of some half a billion dollars yet the net income stood only at some USD 28 million. (END)



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