Innocent Chukwma is chairman of IVM
1. Who owns Innoson Motors?
Innoson vehicles manufacturing co, ltd, is Nigeria's biggest automaker. Innoson motors owner is Innocent Chukuma, a Nigerian from the state of Anambra.
2. Background of Innocent Chukumah
Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma was born on the 1st of October, 1961 into the family of Chukwuma from Uru-Umdim, Nnewi in Anambra State. His father, whose name was Chukwuma Mojekwu, worked as a civil servant. Martina Chukwuma, his mother, was a full housewife. He has 5 siblings, three other boys, and two girls, and is the last of the 6 children. His primary and secondary school were at his hometown in Nnewi. After his secondary school education in 1978, Innocent had high hopes of being an engineer. Working in line with this vision, he applied at the university to study engineering but unfortunately couldn’t get in due to his inability to meet the cut-off mark.
3. How he started
After he tried applying at the university and while still awaiting his admission exam results, Innocent always assisted his brother at his medicine store. In the process of helping out his brother, he found out that he had a strong desire and natural talent for trading. When the admission results came out and he wasn’t selected, he just moved on with life by continuing his trading business. He was taken to Chief Romanus Eze Onwuka nicknamed Rojenny, to be apprenticed. This was done by his brother, Gabriel. His new boss, Romanus Onwuka traded in motorcycle spare parts and was the biggest and most successful motorcycle parts seller in their city, Nnewi then. He also founded the first private-owned stadium located in Oba around Onitsha.
From humble beginnings, Innocent Chukwuma now employs 7400 people
3.1. Apprenticeship and start of business
After a year of apprenticeship under Onwuka, Innocent came back to Gabriel, his brother. Gabriel had by this time registered a spare parts business called Gabros international. He gave Innocent ₦3,000 to begin a shop, which was registered under Gabros International. Instead of a pharmaceuticals retail business, Gabros was a spare parts shop. Happy at being semi-independent, the young man bought his first set of goods. After a year, the medicine store, as well as the motorcycle spare parts business, were taken inventory of. It was discovered then that the motorcycle spare parts business, Gabros International, was making one thousand percent more than the medicine store in revenue. This encouraged the young Innocent that he was on the right track.
3.2. Going solo as Innoson ltd and importation
In 1981, Innocent separated from his brother completely and began to trade in Honda motorcycle parts. Making good use of his savings and cash which his brother gave him, he began his business as Innoson Nigeria Limited. Gradually, he then began to import motorcycles. After a while, he noticed that people preferred second-hand motorcycles as the new ones were too expensive. The reason for the high cost was because those new motorcycles had been imported after complete assembly. Since a container of 40ft could only take like 40 motorcycles at a time, it meant few motorbikes could come in at one time. This, of course, affected the price.
3.3. Innoson ltd begins local assembly of motorbikes
Innocent hit on a brainwave. He thought of what to do to cut down the cost of these new imported motorcycles so that Nigerians could better afford them; the method he adopted was importing the motorcycles disassembled so that more could fit in the containers and then assemble the bikes on arrival in Nigeria. Using this method, 200 units of motorcycles could be fitted into the 40 ft container and he was able to sell them cheaper than others at the rate of ₦60,000- ₦80,000 as compared to others who sold theirs for ₦150,000. He happened to be the first to introduce the Jingcheng brand of motorcycle in Nigeria.
Jingcheng motorbike is used for Okada business all over Nigeria
Since then, this skillful entrepreneur has been assembling motorcycles already branded like Boulos and Leventis companies. He set up a plastic factory to produce plastic components needed when he noticed a particular motorcycle had a lot of plastic on it.
An IVM 4X4 Carrier is one of IVM's cars
3.4. IVM begins
Innocent Chukwuma was then struck by the prevalent custom of Nigerians to buy and drive foreign used cars, due to the high cost of brand new vehicles. He had a vision of making cheaper local cars that would be affordable. This vision led gradually to the present Innoson group of companies, a local entity with vast interests in vehicle, motorcycle, and tricycle assembly and manufacture, tire manufacture, plastics, and agriculture. Innoson motors was incorporated in 2007, and the factory was commissioned in 2010 by Goodluck Jonathan.
Innoson Motors has quickly become a household name in Nigeria, and indeed in West Africa.
IVM factory at Nnewi, Anambra state
4. Current Standing of Innoson Motors Limited
The federal government, under Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammad Buhari, has given Innoson Motors enormous patronage and support. Military formations, as well as states like Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Ekiti, Anambra, Kogi, Bauchi, and Gombe, all buy Innoson Motors for use. If adequately supported, Chukwuma has asserted that his company can transform Nigeria into a big manufacturing hub for vehicles in a short time. Research has it that currently, some West African countries like Sierra Leone, Ghana, Mali and even some other Nigerians living abroad use Innoson Motors.
Senator Ben Bruce buys an IVM G5 SUV
Chukwuma also mentioned that his factory can manufacture different brands of vehicles and he hopes to expand it further soon. To help Nigerian youths, he employs from 7,300- 7,500 workers for better productivity. Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Limited manufactures trucks, tricycles, buses, sedans, and SUVs. For now, this company is the first-ever indigenously owned car plant in Nigeria. Today, IVM is one major importer, assembler and supplier of motorcycles as well as their parts in West Africa and Nigeria. Today, the plastic factory that belongs to him is one of the largest crash helmets manufacturers in West Africa and also the largest plastic manufacturer in Nigeria.
Recently IVM changed its official logo when Osuolale Farouq, a young Nigerian designer did a new design on spec.
The Nigerian military is a dedicated customer's of IVM
Innoson CEO, Innocent Chukwuma was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Business Administration by the Enugu State University of Science and technology. He is a member of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) and has been named entrepreneur of the year many times by several bodies.
6. Net Worth
The current estimated net worth of Innocent Chukwuma is $1.5 billion (₦540,000,000,000). This net worth is not confirmed though, as Forbes has not listed him in their list of billionaires.
Innocent Chukwuma has a lot of houses but currently lives in Enugu. He also owns a fleet of cars since he makes them.
Why own one car, when you make hundreds? Innocent Chukwuma poses with an IVM vehicle
8. Court case with GTB / EFCC
In 2017 the EFCC arrested the CEO of Innoson over a legal dispute involving GT Bank. The case has dragged on with Innoson taking over some properties of the bank under court orders recently.
Former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode pays a solidarity visit to Innoson boss over EFCC drama
The Innoson motors owner, Innocent Chukwuma is happily married to Ebele Chukwuma with children. The Chukwuma family mostly lives a low keyed life in their Enugu residence.
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