All set for local vehicle production as Uganda gets international accreditation for automotive manufacturing
In a huge endorsement for Kiira Motors pioneering efforts in local motor vehicle manufacturing, the international Society for Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) has assigned Uganda a World Manufacturers Identifier (WMI) number, opening the way Ugandan manufactured vehicles to be sold internationally.
According to a March 17, communication to the Executive Director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), the SAE WMI Coordinator, Mr. Kris Siddall says Uganda has been officially assigned WMI codes that will be used to identify vehicles produced by the different manufacturers in the country.
Automotive Industry experts have welcomed the development calling it “another giant step forward in the development of Uganda’s automotive industry.”
Mr. Paul Isaac Musasizi the Chief Executive Officer at Kiira Motors Corporation explained that recognition and assignment of WMI codes by SAE, empowers UNBS to start issuing local vehicle manufacturers with Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs).
The International Standards Organization defines a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) as a unique code, including a serial number, used by the automotive industry to identify individual motor vehicles, towed vehicles, motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, as defined in ISO 3779 (content and structure) and ISO 4030 (location and attachment).
He said that this was very important because it is the most accurate and safest way of identifying a Vehicle.
“This VIN identifies the country in which the vehicle was assembled and the manufacturer. Vehicle registration companies and auto-manufacturers maintain databases with these numbers to validate and identify the vehicle correctly. This is key for interventions addressing import substitution and export of vehicles,” Musasizi explained.
Following Uganda’s acquisition of WMI codes, UNBS is now required in consultation with industry stakeholders to develop quality management systems and certification for vehicle producing companies such as Kiira Motors and vehicles parts manufacturers across the automotive industry value chain.
UNBS will need to institute an Accredited Technical Service Center /Authority to undertake homologation (the process of certification and standardization) of automotive products.
Kiira Motors is just 15 months from starting serial production of motor vehicles out of its 5000 units a year purpose built assembly plant, currently under construction in Jinja. July 2021 is the tentative date for the launch of vehicles made in Uganda.
Even ahead of that date however, Kiira Motors has completed the assembly of two market validation vehicles, the high density Kayoola EVS, electric buses, from a temporary assembly rig at Nakasongola Air Base.
According to Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, at USD 450 million annually, motor vehicles importation is the second highest value call on Uganda’s foreign exchange bill after petroleum products.
Elioda says that local assembly of vehicles by Kiira Motors is expected to save a significant slice off the foreign exchange hemorrhage caused by mostly importation of used vehicles with end of life technology and create many job opportunities across the automotive industry value chain.
“We shall be able to manufacture a wide range of auto-parts from Uganda ranging from glass from sand, chassis and body panels from our iron and steel, floors from bamboo, carpets from Banana fiber, batteries from lithium and cobalt, chairs and other plastic modules from oil and upholstery from our leather among others,” he said during a recent tour of the assembly plant site by Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of the Ugandan parliament.