No fewer than five hundred thousand visitors are expected to attend the maiden edition of the Uyo International Motor Show holding between June 24 and July 2 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Mr Charles Essien, the Chief Executive Officer, Southfield Technologies, organiser of the event, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Monday.
Gov Emmanuel Udom of Akwa-Ibom State He said that the 10-day event, which is being organised in conjunction with the Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, would create a platform for customers and automobile brands to interact.
Essien said: “The Uyo International Motor Show is an event for the sub-region as only products and services that have manufacturers’ considerations for the sub-region shall be on display.
“It would bring together automobile brands that are built with tropical considerations and aspects because in the past, they took advantage of us and brought in automobiles from other climes. “As such, our people will just buy and for six months, would be battling with corrosion and other problems. “We also want to ensure that automobile companies do not breach that trust that customers repose in them.
Also, 400 vehicles backed by the support sector of this all-important industry, the organiser is expected to register the number of visitors on a daily basis, before the show closes its doors for this year’s edition.
“It would also be a chance and a platform for over 500,000 diverse visitors and guests from the sub-region to interact with brand owners, to do business. “In other words, it would integrate the West Africa sub-region into the global international automobile calendar, notwithstanding how small the market share is, every market share is important for the manufacturer.
“It would also pave way for the consideration that the media has a key role to play in the creation of the automobile architecture for the sub-region. Essien added that the motor show would further enable original brand owners create a platform for proper brand marketing and allow customers to hold them accountable on issues regarding warranty. “We need companies to build trust in the buying companies and the public, so they should be communicating with the original brand owners and we expect they would listen.
“We want to be on the driver’s seat to ensure car companies keep their word. “So, the event would highlight the safety and security aspects of the automobile industry and as such, all the brands will display prototypes of all the vehicles so that visitors can make inputs using the suggestion boxes,’’ he said. On the economic benefit of motor shows, Essien added that the event would further promote President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive to redirect the country`s revenue from a monolithic economy.
“It would bring some positive impact into to the transport and allied industry and the Nigerian economy at large because investors would be attracted from over 45 car brands from America, Europe, and Asia. “If such companies are encouraged to have an assembly plant in Nigeria, for instance, a lot of revenue and employment would be created in different sub-sectors, like tourism and solid minerals. “I believe that given the right policy, it would also encourage local content.
“For instance, just as we have most of the platforms constructed for the oil rigs in Texas constructed in Port Harcourt, these automobile companies would be attracted here because of relatively cheap labour,’’ he added. Essien, who is also a motoring journalist, added that the event will also feature the conferment of awards/honours to industry experts, organisations, journalists and brands.
“We would also have an ECOWAS Car of the Year (COTY) award in 10 broad categories, which include mini cars, large cars, executive cars, sport cars.’’ “The car that wins will be placed on displace within the Le Meridian lobby for a period of one year, until the next winner emerges in 2017.’’
On security, he noted that the venue is a “well secured place; it is what I will call a closed type of facility. “So security is rock-solid because visitors and exhibitors would enjoy the same security that customers of the Le Meridien experience, ’’ Essien added.