PAN Nigeria to Re-launch Affordable Vehicles

The new core investor in PAN Nigeria Limited, Nesbitt Investment Nigeria Ltd, has said it would re-launch affordable new cars into the Nigerian market.

This is just as they expressed grave concern that the over 50 assembly plants in the country enjoy incentives of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP), known as the Auto Policy, without commensurate investments.

The new Chairman of PAN Nigeria Ltd, Honourable Ahmed Wadada Aliyu stated this at the handing over of PAN, by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), to the core investor Nesbitt Investment Nigeria Ltd, recently.

Aliyu said, “Our biggest concern is the over 50 of assembly plants who have not made any matching investments and are enjoying the incentives of the auto policy at the same time.

“PAN Nigeria will initiate conversations with National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) to enforce the assembly classification and equipment standardisation.”

The chairman said they would inject USD150 million in PAN Nigeria, over the next three years, for retooling and upgrading of the assembly line, support infrastructure and for working capital, added that they would “be appealing to CBN to support us and all other genuine assembly plants so that foreign exchange is made available for our imports.”

On the planned re-launch of affordable vehicles into the nation’s market, Aliyu cited statistics that in 2019 Nigeria imported at least 400,000 used cars (tokunbo) as against 68,000 brand new vehicles, stating that on account of “this imbalance, PAN Nigeria will be introducing new brands of vehicles into the market to re-launch brand affordability in Nigeria, such that Nigerians will have access to brand new vehicles.

“We will also be introducing a robust car financing scheme which will be a collaboration and partnership between our dealerships and a few selected banks. This will be in fulfilment of President Buhari’s wish for Nigerians to afford brand new vehicles.

“We thank President Buhari for creating the enabling environment for our company to be able to commit to this huge investment. We hope the president will continue to sustain this favourable environment for more investors into Nigeria.

“We are appealing to Mr. President to fast-track legislation on the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) bill so that National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) can enforce its implementation.”

He described Pan Nigeria as “the number one auto assembly plant in Nigeria” and that it would take the leadership role in engaging stakeholders such as the National Assembly, the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment (FMITI), Nigeria Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Manufactures Association of Nigeria (MAN) etc. 

“PAN Nigeria shall be involved in the activities of the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) committee set up to examine the auto industry.

“We thank AMCON for the opportunity to invest in PAN as the new core investor, and given the status of PAN in Nigeria as the number one automobile company, we are humbled and fortunate to be the company tasked to awaken this huge sleeping giant of immense economic potentials. We are indeed excited to shoulder this task.

“We treasure our human capital and strongly believe in them to drive our visions and aspirations for PAN Nigeria, and that is why we are immediately putting in place an attractive condition of service that will retain and motivate our human capital and also attract the best hands, so as to restore PAN Nigeria to its number one position in Nigeria and within the ECOWAS region.”

He said PAN, under the supervision of the board, would undergo massive restructuring, promising to observe strict corporate governance protocols, transparency, business integrity, efficiency and ethics in all their undertakings.

“As the core investor, we strongly believe in the principle of responsible, responsive and sustainable investments, while we add not only financial muscle and strength, but also social value to the investments we embark on.

“We will not only be providing employment, but we shall also provide economic benefits throughout the supply chain and to local service providers (local content).

“In all our investments including PAN Nigeria, health and safety guidelines are always a priority,” Aliyu said.

Massilia Unveils Rugged, Smoother, More Comfortable New Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

Massilia Motors, sole distributor of Mitsubishi Motors in Nigeria, has officially unveiled the All-new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) in a first of its kind virtual car launch in Nigeria.

The event was witnessed on YouTube by customers and other stakeholders who were shown the salient features of the 2020 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV, and also taken on a 360° virtual tour, followed by a musical session.

Managing Director of Massilia Motors/Country Delegate of CFAO Nigeria, Mr. Thomas Pelletier stated that the new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is tough, reliable and comfortable.

According to the MD, “it is a rugged vehicle, yet very comfortable. It is a proper 4×4, I had the opportunity to experience it here (Nigeria) during the rainy season. It has a comfortable suspension, powerful engine. It is simply rugged and smooth.”

The MD added that Massilia Motors, in sustaining its tradition of quality after-sales services, has unveiled a Service plan, if broken down, would cost only N12,500 monthly for Mitsubishi customers.

The new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, comes with innovative features that are bound to be welcomed by the industry and eventual owners.

The General Manager, Sales of Massilia Motors, Mr. Olatunji Itiola took the event host, Bolanle Olukanni (a celebrity TV host) on a demo of the new generation Pajero Sport, and demonstrated how to open the tailgate (booth) with just a leg motion.

He said, “Even when your both hands are engaged with shopping bags, you need not worry as you only need a movement of the leg under the tailgate (booth) to open it.”

Also coming as an irresistible new feature is the Smartphone-linked Display Audio (SLDA). This infotainment feature is easier to see with its 8 inch display screen. The SLDA enables satellite navigation i.e. Google maps on touchscreen via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay apps.

During the launch, it was evident that Mitsubishi Motors has thought through improving driving pleasure and comfort in this 7-seater model with focus on driving comfort, roominess and intelligent and intuitive operations.

Additional features of the fourth generation Pajero include an 8inch LCD coloured meter cluster, an upgrade of the Electronic Parking Brake, now coming with the Auto Hold function, the Forward Collision Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning etc. The 3.0 litre V6 petrol engine comes with remarkable fuel economy and an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is an All-Terrain champion, just as a Roof spoiler and shark fin antenna have also been added, with a variety of colours to choose from. The launch video is still available on the YouTube channel of Massilia Motors, and further details can be obtained via the website-https://www.mitsubishi-motors.com.ng/ or any of the company’s showrooms.

Head of Marketing and Communication for Massilia Motors, Funmi Abiola explained that the current Mitsubishi Motors tag line- Drive Your Ambition- is meant to underscore the fact that Mitsubishi is a Customer-centric force in global mobility, enabling customers attain their ambitions.

Massilia Motors is a joint venture of the CFAO group and the Chanrai group, uniting forces to offer ultimate customer satisfaction. Other Mitsubishi models available in Nigeria are ASX, Eclipse Cross, Pajero, Outlander and the L200 Pickup.

Kia Motors Unveils Sonet, an All-new Smart Urban Compact SUV

Kia Motors Corporation, one of the world’s largest automakers, revealed the Kia Sonet to the world in a digital presentation, recently.

Manufactured at Kia’s state-of-the-art production facility at Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, the Sonet is Kia’s all-new smart urban compact SUV, and the brand’s latest made-in-India global product after the Seltos. The new Sonet marks Kia Motors’ entry into the burgeoning compact SUV segment, and sets new benchmarks with its first-in-class features, according to the automaker.

The world premiere of the production-ready model follows the global unveiling of the Sonet concept at the Delhi Auto Expo in February 2020. Sales of the new car will commence soon in India, with sales in many of Kia’s global markets due to follow.

“Kia Motors continues to be recognised globally through products which offer exquisite design and world-class quality, along with ‘The Power to Surprise’. Everything about the all-new Sonet is uniquely Kia and is sure to delight both drivers and passengers,” said Ho Sung Song, President and CEO at Kia Motors Corporation. “With its aggressive and modern design language, fun-to-drive dynamics, and Kia’s latest high-tech features, the Sonet puts an exclamation point on our ambition to make Kia the brand of choice, especially among millennial and Gen Z consumers. The Sonet fills a need in the growing SUV market, in India and further afield, and will attract a wider number of consumers to the Kia brand.

“We are extremely excited to introduce the Sonet, which is made in India for the world. After the success of the Seltos and Carnival, we are confident that Kia will revolutionise yet another market segment in India with the Sonet by addressing the unmet needs and aspirations of customers,” said Kookhyun Shim, MD and CEO at Kia Motors India. “The Kia Sonet is designed and developed to deliver a best-in-class experience in quality, design, technology, features and drivability to attract a wide spectrum of customers across segments. The Sonet will be produced at our state-of-the-art Anantapur plant to Kia’s exacting global standards, and we are sure it will be received with enthusiasm by new customers and existing fans of the brand alike.”

The all-new Sonet incorporates Kia’s DNA of emotive styling along with a premium and youthful appeal to create a strong road presence. Displaying a dynamic stance in a confident, compact body, the Sonet showcases a range of styling attributes to make it stand apart on roads around the world. This includes a fresh interpretation of Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille, flanked by ‘heart beat’ LED DRLs (daytime running lights), shaped like the electric pulse of a heart, with a stylish front skid plate beneath. Its sporty silhouette is enhanced by the unique design and structure of its C-pillar, matched with a wraparound rear-windscreen. The ‘heart beat’ LED tail lamps also adorn the rear.

Inside, the Sonet is designed around the driver, with a well laid-out, easy-to-use connected infotainment and cluster interface, and high quality materials all around. Despite compact exterior dimensions, the interior of the Sonet offers ample, ergonomic space for all passengers.

The Sonet will be offered with multiple powertrain options to suit virtually all requirements in this segment. A choice of two gasoline engines – a versatile Smartstream 1.2-liter four-cylinder and powerful 1.0 T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) – and an efficient 1.5-liter CRDi  diesel engine are available with a choice of five transmissions. This includes five- and six-speed manuals, an intuitive seven-speed DCT six-speed automatic, and Kia’s revolutionary new six-speed Smartstream intelligent manual transmission (iMT). The latter is a technological breakthrough from Kia, offering fatigue-free driving thanks to the absence of a clutch pedal, yet the same driver control as a conventional manual transmission. For the first time in this segment, the Sonet also offers its 1.5-liter diesel engine with the six-speed automatic transmission.

The Sonet’s dynamics and suspension set-up have been tuned by Kia engineers to match its exuberant design and Kia’s sporty and youthful brand image, offering high driving pleasure for enthusiasts.

To suit the requirements of a wide array of customers, the Sonet will be offered in a dual trim concept. This includes the sporty GT-Line trim which enhances the Sonet’s racy appeal for enthusiasts via its multiple design and functional elements, both inside and out. GT-Line models offer an extra dash of sportiness to the Sonet and highlight its dynamic presence on the road.

What’s more, the Sonet is loaded with multiple segment-first features offering complete comfort, convenience, safety and optimum driving pleasure to customers.

This includes: Largest and best-in-class 10.25-inch (26.03 cm) HD touchscreen with navigation and live traffic; Smart Pure Air Purifier with virus protection; BOSE Premium seven-speaker audio with sub-woofer; Ventilated driver and front-passenger seats; LED Sound Mood Lighting; Remote engine start for automatic and manual transmission via Smart Key; Over-the-air (OTA) map updates; Multi-drive & traction modes and grip control for automatic models; and Wireless smartphone charger with cooling function.

The all-new Kia Sonet is testament to Kia’s focus on consumer insight-driven product innovation and orientation. It is targeted towards the young generation who are tech-savvy, aspirational and highly connected socially. The Sonet will be launched in India this festive season, in line with Kia Motors India’s promise of offering an all-new product every six to nine months.

Key highlights

The Sonet is all-new, developed and engineered from the ground-up jointly between Kia Motors India and Kia’s global R&D headquarters in South Korea. The production Sonet has been built following extensive market input from India, especially relating to its design, engine and transmission tuning and characteristics, suspension attributes, and the high-tech features it offers. The Sonet has been through extensive road tests in India, where Indian and South Korean engineers in Sonet prototypes covered over 100,000 kilometers across diverse terrain, driving situations, and climatic conditions. The outcome is a compact SUV designed to turn heads on the road, engineered to offer driving pleasure, built to world-leading quality standards, and offered with segment-busting convenience, comfort, safety and features. 

Design

The youthful and energetic design of the Kia Sonet is the outcome of a collaborative effort between the Kia Design Center in Namyang, South Korea and the design team located in India. Kia’s entry into the compact SUV market was first seen by the world at the Delhi Auto Expo in February 2020, where the Sonet smart urban SUV concept was showcased. The brief for the production-ready model was to make it distinctive by design in this highly competitive segment, and present a sporty, youthful outlook. Inspired by modern styling trends, as well as traditional Indian heritage and culture, the Sonet’s exterior styling truly stands apart – not just in its category, but amongst SUVs in general.

Kia’s award-winning design strengths have come into play to make the Sonet every inch a Kia SUV, exemplifying the brand’s confident, young-at-heart attitude, a sporty, rebellious spirit, and a wild-by-design approach. The outcome is a striking SUV design and irresistible road presence that will turn heads in countries around the world.

At the front, the brand’s signature design trait – the Kia ‘tiger-nose’ grille – is reinterpreted to suit the Sonet’s personality. Flanked by ‘heart beat’ LED DRLs and stylish front skid plates below, the wild nature of the Sonet comes alive. Within the tiger-nose grille, with its classy chrome and diamond knurling pattern, is the distinctive grille mesh featuring a three-dimensional geometric design inspired by India’s iconic stepwells. The grille mesh design pays respects to India’s historic strengths in sophisticated mathematics, science and architecture.  

The profile is imparted a strong, sporty character thanks to the shape of the hood and bumper, with a cowl point pushed back for an upright stance, a strongly raked A-pillar, and a round roofline that reflects styling. At the rear, ‘heart beat’ LED tail lamps and its unique reflector garnish give the Sonet even greater presence and impart a wider look. Additional highlights at the rear include a sporty dual muffler design and diffuser fin rear skid plate.

The Sonet’s lighting makes it stand out from everything else in this segment. Jewel-like LED headlamps frame the ‘face’ of the car, with ‘heart beat’ LED DRLs with integrated indicators and similar LED tail lamps make the Sonet’s wild personality come alive through its design. Riding on sharp-looking 16-inch crystal -cut alloys in a racy design, the overall impression of the Sonet is that of a strong, powerful and sporty silhouette with a dynamic stance that is hard to miss.

Furthermore, the Sonet is offered with up to eight monotone and three dual-tone exterior colour options.

The Sonet will be offered in a dual trim concept which includes a sports-inspired GT-Line trim, a visible manifestation of Kia’s spirit and luxury appeal, for customers who want an extra dash of sportiness, luxury, safety and attitude with their Sonet.

Interior

Inside, the Sonet offers a sophisticated and lively cabin with a smooth, flowing dashboard to appeal to young-at-heart and always-connected consumers. Keeping the comfort of the driver and passengers in mind, the Sonet’s interior offers a modern, dynamic and bold outlook. Intelligent packaging has liberated plenty of leg room, head room and shoulder room for all passengers, and created a large trunk.

The stylish and clutter-free center console offers a hi-tech feel and easy access to many of the Sonet’s segment-busting features. The Sonet is trimmed in high-quality material throughout, with its dashboard displaying unique detailing. GT-Line models are finished with contrast red stitching on the steering wheel, seats and door armrest, while a D-cut steering wheel adds to its sporty appeal. Ventilated driver and front passenger seats are one-of-a-kind in this category, reinforcing Kia’s ‘Power to Surprise’ philosophy.

Taking center stage on the dashboard is the largest-in-segment 10.25-inch (26.03 cm) HD touchscreen with infotainment and navigation system – a display that confirms Kia’s premium positioning in the compact SUV segment. Additionally, the 4.2-inch (10.66 cm) instrument cluster presents important information to the driver in vivid color and clarity, such as turn-by-turn navigation instructions, Highline Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and drive mode and traction mode selection.

The Sonet aims to delight occupants inside. To create a concert-like ambience, the Sonet is the only vehicle in its category to offer audio performance from BOSE, with a premium seven-speaker system with sub-woofer. Other mood enhancers include the LED Sound Mood Lighting, introducing a level of personalisation unique to this segment, as well as a wireless smartphone charger with cooling function, exclusive to the Sonet.

Additionally, to further promote the safety of drivers and their loved ones, the Sonet is equipped with Kia’s Smart Pure Air Purifier with virus protection. This feature sets the Sonet apart in its segment and once again sets a new benchmark in its category. The new Smart Pure Air Purifier in Sonet has a two-level purification system. The pollutant-cleansing HEPA filter incorporates N29 which uses fiber made from nano-ionic bonding technology of copper sulphide, to remove pollutants and bacteria from the cabin. The second level of filtration is achieved through UVC LED, scientifically proven to kill bacteria and viruses. The system not only effectively cleans out pollutants from the cabin, but also kills bacteria and viruses as it cleans the air.

Powertrain and performance

In keeping with Kia’s motto of ‘The Power to Surprise’, the Sonet offers a surprisingly wide range of powertrain choices in its class. With a choice of three engines and five transmissions, there is an engine-transmission combination for virtually every customer need in this segment. Two petrol engines – a versatile Smartstream 1.2-liter four-cylinder and powerful 1.0 T-GDi – and an efficient 1.5-liter CRDi diesel engine are offered.

The Sonet comes with five transmission options: five- and six-speed manuals, an intuitive seven-speed DCT, six-speed automatic, and Kia’s revolutionary new six-speed Smartstream intelligent manual transmission. Additionally, automatic variants of the Sonet offer Multi-Drive and Traction Modes for added convenience, driver-confidence and safety.

The 1.5-liter diesel engine is offered with a six-speed manual, and, uniquely in in its segment, with a six-speed automatic transmission, an unmet need in this segment to-date. Customers can enjoy the long-legged cruising ability of a diesel engine with the comfort and convenience of an automatic transmission.

COVID-19; Kia Takes Proactive Measures to Ensure Safety of Customers, Staff

Kia Motors Nigeria has introduced measures to curtail the spread of the virus and to minimise the chances of their employee and customers’ exposure to the disease and to join responsive corporate entities across the country to restrain the spread of the COVID-19.
Rooted in the practice advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), personal hygiene had been constantly reinforced in all their locations with designated handwashing places, deployment of the infrared thermometer for temperature checks at the points of entry into the facilities, hand sanitizers, nose masks, social distancing, amongst others.  
There is no gainsaying the fact the current outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm and ravaged cities across the globe, thereby paving the way for extreme measures like social distancing and in some cases, total lockdown. To curtail the spread, measures have been taken by quite a number of companies. At the frontline of this fight, like every person/customer-facing business, the auto industry expectedly needs to be conscious and cautious of the pandemic. Premised on this and having been recognized as one of the socially responsive companies in Nigeria, Kia Motors Nigeria has instituted a more precautionary operational practice in their showrooms and service centers in order to avoid contracting and spreading the coronavirus, as the country comes to grips with a growing pandemic.
Further to the measures taken by Kia, the auto company has also restructured its workforce to a more dynamic operational base. In the meantime, quite a number of their staff are advised to work remotely starting March 23rd until further notice — “except those in business-critical roles that cannot be done away from Kia facilities. In addition, we join the WHO and NCDC to strongly advise anyone who feels like they are showing symptoms of COVID-19—which can be as mild as those of a cold, or more serious, like the fever or flu—are advised to seek medical attention and self-isolate while they take care of themselves,” said the Chief Operation Officer, Sanjay Tatpati.
People are understandably concerned about the COVID-19. To allay the fears of customers and ensure them of Kia’s readiness to provide premium care for their car and adequately support its customer base during this outbreak, Sanjay further stated that “as a business that interacts with the public on a daily basis, we understand car servicing and repairs may seem essential in this period as health officials advise against public transportation. Thus, we are geared towards ensuring safe, secure and hygiene facilities as spelled out by the WHO. Although we are taking every precaution with our facility and staff, we also have an even better and alternative solution which centers on online booking for service and sales.”
In an attempt to make its service readily available to customers, Olawale Jimoh, Marketing Manager of Kia Motors stated that “a responsive customer care outfit is equipped to attend to the sales and service requirements of customers via phone, email, web live chat, WhatsApp & social media platforms to provide real-time answers to any questions the customers’ may have about a vehicle, repair, and servicing, financing or the Online booking tool. With our digital platforms, the power of car shopping and servicing are firmly in the hands of our customers and can save time at our locations, as well as, money in this critical time”. 
The unprecedented situation arising out of the spread of COVID-19 has already taken a toll on the automotive industry. With almost all companies, from the financial institutions to public service taking serious measures, Kia Motors Nigeria has joined in on the need to restructure their business operations to help curtail the spread of the Virus. It has done so keeping in mind the safety and well-being of all customers, employees, workers, partners, and associates across the country.
The company’s outlets will remain open for now and will be available to its customers for all their requirements. The company is ensuring deliveries are not delayed for its customers as well as service requirements, without compromising on the safety precautions sent out by the government.

Jaguar Land Rover Temporarily Suspends Manufacturing at UK Facilities

In light of the ongoing coronavirus situation, Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed that it will temporarily suspend production at its UK manufacturing facilities over the course of next week. The company’s intention is to resume in the week of 20 April, subject to review of the rapidly-changing circumstances. 
As a responsible business, Jaguar Land Rover is operating in line with advice from the NHS and Public Health England to minimise the spread of the coronavirus, whilst implementing plans to safeguard its business continuity. The company will work towards an orderly return to production once conditions permit. 
Currently, Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing plants in Brazil and India continue operating. The company’s joint venture plant in China reopened in the week of 24 February, as life begins to get back to normal in the country. 
Although the company’s focus must be on its business and responsibilities to employees, Jaguar Land Rover is doing whatever it can to support its communities through the current situation. The company’s thoughts are with those directly affected by COVID-19 and with the healthcare professionals, whose role in combating this virus is appreciated by all.
New Defender Inspires Land Rover Above and Beyond Musto Range
Inspired by the durability and capability of New Defender, the Above and Beyond collection of men’s and women’s performance clothing and technical equipment is now available in sub-Sahara Africa.
Incorporating 50 years of Musto heritage in world-leading performance clothing, the collection includes the Welded Thermo jacket with RECCO integrated reflective antenna to help rescue teams locate you in difficult terrain. The jacket also features PrimaLoft Aerogel-lined pockets that help keep mobile phones charged for longer.
The Rodinia hybrid jacket has YKK Quickburst zip technology to transform it into a gilet in seconds. It also features PrimaLoft Black Eco insulation – a lightweight alternative to down layers that doesn’t compromise warmth, comfort or flexibility. 
Paul Stoneham, Musto Executive Chairman, said: “Designing technical performance clothing is at the very core of our expertise at Musto and this partnership with Land Rover brings together two innovative British brands, both with a strong heritage. The Above and Beyond collection will provide adventurers of all types with the protection on the outside that will allow them to perform at their very best from the inside thanks to the state-of-the-art material technology, durability and comfort of the range.”
The collection also includes tough flasks and water bottles, a foldable multi tool to go to extremes and a seam sealed backpack with a 25 litre main compartment heat-welded Hypalon lashing points. Technical keyrings packed with pocket sized tools, a water resistant travel wallet and men’s and women’s reversible T-shirts complete the Above and Beyond range. The Above and Beyond collection is available in sub-Sahara Africa.

COVID–19: Coscharis Scales Down Lagos Operations Advise on Safety

Nigerian conglomerate, Coscharis Group has said it would scale down its Lagos operation, and advised their customers, staff and stakeholders not to panic but to take precautionary and safety measures as instructed by the World Health Organization, and the Nigeria Center for Diseases Control.
The advice follows the recent global outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) that has been declared a pandemic by the WHO.
This is contained in a statement by General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Coscharis Group, Abiona Babarinde. In it, the President of Coscharis Group, Dr. Cosmas Maduka said, “We have been following with great details the global developments as it relates to the COVID–19 health situation which is really unprecedented that has brought the whole world to a standstill. As a responsible corporate entity, we are heeding to government and the health institutions’ advice to ensure the safety of our assets whom are our staff and all our entire stakeholders.
We have therefore put in place critical safety precautions in line with required guidelines across all our facilities and business concerns.

In line with the Lagos State Governor’s directives, all our Lagos based offices have been directed to drastically scale down number of their staff that will be coming to the office to achieve the required social distance directives while others work from home to be able to continually deliver value for all our stakeholders.”

“Some of the measures already put in place are the hand–held scanners to check the temperature of all visitors and staff coming in and out of all our facilities. Automatic and manual dispensers in all touch points within all our locations. Consistent cleaning of critical areas of all our buildings where human traffic occurs. Likewise, all offshore business trips for staff have been put on hold while the foreign partners have equally been advised to stay in their various countries till further notice.”

The statement said, “During this challenging period, while we would be exploring options that will reduce physical engagements where it is necessary, to the barest minimum otherwise, we encourage our customers and stakeholders to utilise other platforms like telephones, emails and our website as credible options to engage for our services.

“Coscharis group stand by all the efforts of the government to control the spread of this unfortunate virus and encourages every citizens and foreigners alike to remain responsible as we believe this is just a phase that will soon fade away in our lifetime.

Porsche Presents Innovative 3D-printing Technology for Bucket Seats

Porsche is revolutionising sporty seating: the company presents an innovative alternative to conventional bucket seat upholstery with the concept study “3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat”. Here, the central section of the seat, in other words the seat and backrest cushions, is partly produced by a 3D-printer.

Customers will be able to choose between three firmness levels (hard, medium, or soft) for their desired comfort layer in the future. With this new technology, Porsche is once again underlining its close ties to motorsports, as this type of personalised sports seat follows the design principles and rationale of driver-specific seat fitting customary in professional motorsports.
“The seat is the interface between the human and the vehicle, and is thus important for precise, sporty handling. That’s why personalised seat shells customised for the driver have been standard in race cars for a long time now,” says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche. “With the ‘3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat’, we’re once again giving series-production customers the opportunity to experience technology carried over from motorsports.” In addition to an ergonomic fit similar to that found in motorsport cars, this seat also delivers a unique design, lower weight, improved comfort, and passive climate control.
The “3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat” is based on the lightweight full-bucket seat from Porsche and features a sandwich construction. A base support made from expanded polypropylene (EPP) is bonded to a breathable comfort layer comprised of a mixture of polyurethane-based materials made using additive manufacturing, otherwise known as 3D-printing. The outer skin of the concept seat is made from “Racetex” and features a specific perforation pattern for climate control. Window panels provide a view of exposed coloured components in the 3D-printed lattice structure and give the full-bucket seat an unmistakable design.


The “3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat” will be available from Porsche Tequipment as a driver’s seat for the 911 and 718 ranges from as early as May 2020. The range, in combination with a six-point seatbelt, will initially be limited to 40 seat prototypes for use on racetracks in Europe. Feedback from customers will be incorporated into the development process. As a next step, street-legal “3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seats” in three different firmness levels and colours will be available ex-works from the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur from mid-2021. In the long term, this technology will also enable fully personalised solutions, should a sufficient number of customers express an interest in this. In addition to an extended range of colours, seats adapted to the individual customer’s specific body contour will then also be developed and offered.

Stallion Motors’ Hyundai to Bring Nigeria’s First Electrical Car

Stallion Motors, Nigeria’s leading auto assembler and franchisee of nine global brands, including Hyundai, has hinted they would launch into the Nigerian market Hyundai – Kona, an Electric car.
As things stand, before the year 2020 runs out, Nigeria would officially join the rest of the world in embracing electric cars, the company said.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Anant Badjatya, recently hinted of their plan to officially launch the Electric car regarded by European motoring journalists as world’s number one.
“Well-meaning and concerned people globally are urgently making moves to save our dear planet,” explained Mr. Badjatya. “After operating successfully in Nigeria for over five decades, the least our company could give back to the country and by extension, the world is to be a leading pilot in steering the nation to the direction of clean energy use and reduction of emission.
“Not being dissuaded by the nation’s infrastructural challenges, one of our plans for this year is to introduce into the country Electric Vehicle (EV) and, in no distant future, embark on attitude change campaign for a clean environment in conjugation with Hyundai.”
Stallion Motors understands that climate change is for real. The changes in global temperature and weather patterns seen today are caused by human activity. They are happening much faster than the natural climate variations of the past.  World over industries have started recognising this and are making the switch towards sustainable means of doing business and adopting technology with less environmental impact.
Responding to the problem, therefore, auto users around the world are, speedily, replacing internal combustion engine-powered vehicles with Electric Vehicles (EVs), which generate no pollutant. Like dry season wild fire, the revolution is moving with speed.
Versatile and powerful, the Hyundai KONA Electric will be the first All-Electric SUV in Nigeria. Its power packed performance will provide a thrilling driving experience with high acceleration over long distances. Driving range for Kona Electric is 482 km with an acceleration of (0-100kms) in 9.7 secs. The ease of charging is unmatched, one can even plug it in at home or at work and charge it for 9.35 hrs for a full battery capacity. Hyundai Kona comes with a 5 years of battery warranty and 5 years of vehicle warranty. KONA Electric will change the way people think about going electric. It would make history as first EV to in Nigeria with local manufacturing.
“Is Nigeria Ready?
While putting finishing touches to the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) for passage into law, the federal government of Nigeria, February 2019, laid bare interest in EV technology by assigning University of Nigeria, Nnsuka (UNN), University of Lagos, Usman Dan Fodio University and Metrological Institute for design and production of a made-in-Nigeria electric car.
Less than a year after (July 2019), UNN announced completion of an EV put together with 80 per cent local content.
Representing the federal government at the unveiling ceremony of the car, the Director General of National Automotive Design and Development Council, Mr. Jelani Aliyu, did not only commend the institution for the achievement, but also expressed President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s resolve to support any company willing to invest in local manufacturing of electric vehicles.
Also in his keynote address at an annual event of the Nigeria Auto Journalists Association held recently in Lagos, Aliyu described the EV technology as good news for Nigeria.
“To tap from the trend,” Aliyu explained, “We have met and discussed with both electric vehicle and charging station manufacturers in China and Germany towards the pilot program.”
It would also be recalled that Nigerian government, not long ago, signed an MOU with Volkswagen, Europe’s largest auto manufacturer and leading investor electric vehicles, to produce vehicles in Nigeria.
Last Words
Apart from initial cost of purchase, EVs attract minimal running cost. For instance, Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, has reportedly acquired his very first electric car, which happens to be Porsche Taycan, the one that Stallion Group plans to launch in Nigeria soon after Hyundai Kona.
Currently, Nigerian electricity consumers resident in accommodation categorised under R1 are charged only N4 per kilowatt. That implies, when Hyundai Kona goes on sale in Nigeria, its owner would incur only N316 (N4x79kWat) to get a full charge, if he or she plugs the car onto public power supply.
When Stallion Group eventually fulfils its plan in the next two months, Hyundai Kona, which around the world, is already being rated above its counterparts, in terms of performance, would make history as first EV to officially go on sale in Nigeria with local manufacturing.
And without doubt, if the world trend is talk and love for fast, powerful and easier-to-maintain automobiles that are fit for a green planet, Nigerians are ready and itching to join. And courtesy of Stallion Group, year 2020 could be the beginning.

Get Connected! How Car Connectivity Enhances On-Road Safety and Convenience

Over the past three decades, the spread of the Internet has radically changed the world and everything it touches, including the automotive industry. Vehicle network connectivity features have changed the way we live, work and drive. Connected cars today have the power of 20 PCs and contain more than 100 million lines of code that can process up to 25 gigabytes of data per hour, and it is estimated that by 2021, there will be more than 380 million connected vehicles on the road[1].

Do you drive a connected car? If you don’t know, you’re not alone. According to a recent study by Kantar[2], 47 percent of respondents didn’t realize their vehicle included features that classified it as a connected car. Many other car owners were not aware the technology existed, while those who were aware either didn’t trust the technology or see how it could benefit their everyday lives.

Connected cars and the Internet of Things

A connected car is a vehicle that is connected to the internet via a mobile data stream. This allows the car to connect and ‘talk’ to other devices, such as smartphones, inside and outside the vehicle. Technology is already being tested that enables connected cars to communicate with other vehicles on the road, like ambulances, as well as with infrastructure, like traffic lights, helping drivers avoid accidents, traffic jams and other slow-downs.

Connected cars are part of a bigger technology trend called the Internet of Things, which is the connection of everyday devices via the internet. These smart devices are everywhere, from refrigerators that can tell people when they’re running low on milk and automatically order more to mirrors that can give weather and news updates while people brush their teeth.

“Connectivity has been a key enabler for automakers like Ford to offer a greater level of comfort, convenience and safety to car owners,” said Kuda Takura, Smart Mobility Specialist at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “As the technology progresses, we can expect a future with an all-encompassing ecosystem of interconnected devices and infrastructure, which will have a significant impact on the way we interact with the world around us.”

Seamless digital experience

Among the most common features in connected cars today are infotainment systems, which essentially transform cars into ‘smartphones on wheels’ and allow drivers to seamlessly extend their digital lives onto the road.

Products like the Ford SYNC® 3 voice-activated system enables users to control a vehicle’s navigation, audio and climate features, as well as send text messages and make phone calls, all without taking their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel. This not only helps to prevent distracted driving, but also transforms commutes into a productive experience. Instead of wasting time sitting in traffic on the way to work, customers can safely check and reply to messages, join a conference call or listen to audiobooks.

Connectivity features can also help save time and money. Many navigation systems can check real time traffic conditions and suggest an alternate route to avoid traffic or bad weather, resulting in shorter journey times and more efficient driving. Features such as tyre pressure analysis can send alerts when a tire is not inflated properly, which can cause tire failure as well as poor fuel consumption, which can be six percent higher if a tire is under-inflated.

Safety when you need it

Improved safety for drivers and passengers is the most important benefit of connected cars. Vehicle connectivity features today have evolved significantly and are enabling semi-autonomous capabilities in vehicles, such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping assistance. Many people are starting to look for these features in their cars and trucks as they realize the game-changing benefits of these technologies.

These new features have revolutionized automotive safety by using cameras and sensors in vehicles to help prevent accidents before they occur. Today’s connected cars have monitoring systems that can alert a driver of potential dangers and are designed to even intervene and take control of the vehicle, if necessary, to avoid a collision.

For example, vehicles equipped with Ford’s Lane Keeping System use a camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror to monitor road lane markings and detect unintentional drifting outside of a lane. When the camera detects the vehicle drifting, the system is designed to either alert the driver via the instrument cluster display or take control of the steering wheel and gently steer the vehicle back into its lane.

As the future of connected cars progresses along the inevitable path toward fully autonomous vehicles, we can benefit today from the amazing developments that are taking place, making the driving experience safer, more productive and efficient and – of course, so much more enjoyable.

Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot Owner Announce $48Bn Merger

Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot owner PSA Group have announced the terms of a $48 billion merger that would create the world’s third-largest automaker and help spread the huge cost of developing electric and autonomous vehicles.

According to CNN BUSINESS, shareholders of each automaker would own 50% of the combined operation, the companies said in a joint statement on Thursday. A binding agreement could be finalized within weeks, the statement said. Fiat Chrysler shareholders also would get a special one time dividend worth €5.5 billion ($6.1 billion) as part of the deal.

The combined company would be based in the Netherlands, which is the current headquarters of Fiat Chrysler, although it will keep a head office for its North American operations near Detroit. John Elkann, the US-born scion of the Italian family that founded Fiat, would be chairman of the combined company, while PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares would be CEO.

The combined company would have roughly 410,000 employees and annual revenues of $190 billion. Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) and PSA (PUGOY) sold a combined 8.7 million vehicles last year, just ahead of General Motors (GM), which sold 8.3 million, and not far behind Volkswagen (VLKAF) and Toyota (TM), which each sold over 10 million.

The merger comes amid a global auto sales slowdown, which could worsen as economies around the world slow or even fall into recession. At the same time, carmakers are scrambling to invest in the electric and hybrid technologies needed to meet strict new emissions targets in China and Europe. The autonomous vehicles of the future also present a threat to traditional industry business models. The huge amount of capital needed to meet these new challenges has forced some automakers to find partners and turned others into acquisition targets.

Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of industry analysis, said the planned merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA “isn’t really about product or expanding to new markets.” Rather, it’s about funding research into the vehicles of the future.

“The electrified, autonomous future everyone is waiting for just isn’t feasible without automakers merging and forming strategic alliances to share research and development costs,” she said. “This is a smart move by both Fiat Chrysler and PSA to ensure their companies continue to be viable and relevant as the industry evolves.”

The carmaker with the most urgent need to combine in this case was PSA, which has fallen behind on developing clean cars. Electric vehicles account for less than 0.3% of its overall sales, and it had to pay Tesla (TSLA) for credits needed to comply with EU emissions standards. Fiat Chrysler has also trailed larger rivals in developing electric vehicles.

Even the biggest players in the industry are making changes. Volkswagen (VLKAF) and Ford (F) are working together to develop electric and self-driving vehicles, while German carmakers BMW (BMWYY) and Daimler (DDAIF) have formed a joint venture that will develop driverless technology. Honda (HMC) has invested in General Motors’ (GM) self-driving car unit.

A history of mergers

It’s not the first time that PSA has used a merger to bulk up. In 2017 it paid $2.3 billion to buy GM’s European business, adding the Opel and Vauxhall brands as GM exited the continent. While GM lost about $22.4 billion in Europe over the 17 years before that deal, Opel and Vauxhall are now profitable for PSA.

Teaming up during times of adversity is also a familiar strategy for Fiat, which started the purchase of US rival Chrysler out of bankruptcy a decade ago. It completed the merger five years later. But even following that deal, Fiat Chrysler was still significantly smaller than many rivals, putting it at a disadvantage in purchasing muscle as well as spreading out the cost of research and development.

Sergio Marchionne, the late CEO who brought Fiat and Chrysler together, spoke publicly about his desire for a deal with GM. He also expressed interest in a combination with a tech company such as Google (GOOG) or Apple (AAPL).

Earlier this year, Fiat Chrysler made a merger proposal to another French automaker, Renault, a company of comparable size to PSA. But it withdrew the offer, saying that “it has become clear that the political conditions in France do not currently exist for such a combination to proceed successfully.”

The French government owns 15% of Renault and is its largest shareholder; it also owns 12.2% of PSA. France has said it would approve the Renault deal only if there were protections for French jobs and factories.

New challenges

Fiat Chrysler also reported third quarter financial results Thursday. Despite slowing global sales, it posted a record third quarter operating profit for the company that topped Wall Street forecasts, and said it is on pace to hit its full-year profit target. But a restructuring charge related to dropping some segments of its vehicle lineup in Europe and changes at Alfa Roeo resulted in a net loss for the quarter.

Still, between the earnings outlook, the operating profit and the news about the merger, shares of Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) were 3% higher in premarket trading Thursday in the US. Shares of Fiat Chrysler had already risen 14% since the start of the week through Wednesday’s close on reports of a looming deal. But PSA, which effectively is paying a premium to secure the merger with Fiat Chrysler, had its shares tumble 13% in Paris trading on Thursday.

Fiat Chrysler and PSA face huge challenges even if their merger is completed.

Both have struggled to break into China, the world’s largest market for new cars. Automakers have sold 10% fewer cars there so far in 2019, but the joint ventures of Fiat Chrysler and PSA have been hit especially hard. Sales dropped by a third for Fiat Chrysler in the first half of the year, and more than 50% for PSA.

PSA also has no presence in the United States, the world’s second largest car market. Miniscule US sales of Fiat branded cars show the difficulty in bringing mass market European brands, as opposed to luxury brands, to US showrooms.

“Both Fiat Chrysler and PSA have a lot of quirky city cars that couldn’t be further from what US car shoppers want right now,” said Caldwell.