The new Ford Nigeria assembly plant just produced its very first vehicle last week, a Ford Ranger mid-size pickup, according to website The News Nigeria. The Ford Ranger was announced for production at the Ford Nigeria plant as recently as August.
Nigeria represents the African continent’s largest economy, but the auto market has historically been dominated by used imports as the country’s industrial policy has stunted growth, reports The News. The decision to build a Ford Nigeria plant is just one of many steps in the automaker’s plan to grow in the Middle East and Africa region.
“Africa is one of the youngest markets in the world and presents a huge opportunity in terms of consumption,” said Ford Sub-Sahara Chief Jeff Nemeth. “The [Ford Nigeria plant] will accommodate one shift and will produce an initial 10 units per day for the Nigerian market, creating approximately 180 direct and indirect jobs.”
The Ford Nigeria plant is the automaker’s first on the continent outside of South Africa, where the Ranger is built for as many as 148 global markets. Using parts imported from South Africa, the new plant will have the capacity to produce up to 5,000 Ranger mid-size pickups annually for domestic sale.