Not just another dealer: Bangla Cars, a local brand, places its ambition high


Managing Director Md Zakir Hossain said they have already come a long way in producing four-wheeled vehicles under the Bangla Cars brand by importing parts from different countries and assembling them according to their own design and plan.

“We didn’t want to be just another dealer-distributor of a foreign company. Many companies assemble cars in Bangladesh, but we wanted to produce a new name with our own efforts, with our own design and responsibility so that the glory of Made in Bangladesh is added, ”said the young entrepreneur.

The Hossain Group, the parent company of Bangla Cars, has been working for four to five years on the challenges of creating acceptance for a national brand of cars. It has so far produced and sold 114 sophisticated sport utility vehicles, or SUVs. “The good news is that 50% of buyers are new users. In other words, they get used to having a car and trust us, ”Zakir said.

A few SUVs are seen in the Bangla Cars showroom in the Tejgaon industrial zone in Dhaka. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

Famous brands from developed countries like Japan and those from Europe are already widely accepted in the country. New and cheap technologies are introduced.

So how was it possible to establish a brand while relying on imports for almost all of the parts?

“We realized over the past five years that it was a very difficult task, talking to some of the biggest brands in the world and asking them for advice. Everyone laughed at us and us. spread, “Zakir said.

“We built 114 cars and delivered them to our customers. We want to offer buyers the best quality product on the market with a local brand at an affordable price. “

Bangla Cars offers customers a five-year warranty and after-sales service. On a recent visit to its showroom in Tejgaon in Dhaka, a seven-seater SUV was seen among other products. Bangla Cars designed the car and manufactured it at the company’s manufacturing facility in Panchabati, Narayanganj, in association with Indonesian automobile brand DFSK.

HOW THE JOURNEY BEGUN

Zakir is the eldest son of Ali Hossain, who bought Tejgaon Re-Rolling Mills a few years before Bangladesh gained independence in 1971 and founded Hossain Group. The company has 172 products in various industries including chemicals, food processing, engineering, housing and cold storage.

Zakir returned home in 2006 after completing his Masters in Investment Banking at Boston University in the United States and joined the family business. While in the United States for a decade, he worked for two years at an American investment firm, one year at Goldman Sachs, and one year at his own firm in the United States.

He said he had been considering starting an auto manufacturing business for a long time. He has repeatedly stumbled while consulting with automakers in countries including Europe, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. But now, having acquired the necessary equipment, his company has the capacity to produce cars.

“The journey started five or six years ago. I was wondering how cars are made in other countries. Lots of people gather here. I would have become the manager of another foreign company if I had done this. So I decided to do something else for the country. We had to go into manufacturing with less preparation and better after-sales service when other manufacturers invested hundreds of billions of dollars.

Bangla Cars imports auto parts from China, Indonesia and other countries. For production, he collaborated with Dongfeng China, DFSK Indonesia, Isuzu of Japan and Kingstar China.

The company has 150 Bangladeshis in a team of 200 skilled workers in its factory. “None of the people who work in this factory are unskilled labor. Everyone has a higher degree in engineering and technical education, ”Zakir said.

A few SUVs are seen in the Bangla Cars showroom in the Tejgaon industrial zone in Dhaka. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

SURVIVAL CHALLENGE

The construction of the Bangla Cars production unit in Narayanganj is still underway. According to the company, preparations are underway to build 12 types of vehicles, including cars, SUVs, sedans, double-cabin vans, trucks and buses.

How can such a big project survive in a small market like Bangladesh? Zakir said they will also rely on the export, seeking government support to make this happen.

“We have already invested billions of taka for market verification, supply contracts with various companies and a team of engineers. If we are to survive now, we have to conquer the domestic market as well as the foreign markets. “

“We have calculated that the company can survive if it can market 5,000 cars each year. According to BRTA, 14,000 to 15,000 buses, trucks, minibuses and cars are added each year. Of these, 4,000 to 5,000 are buses and trucks. We are going ahead with a plan to manufacture a total of 12 kinds of cars. We need to invest at least 15 billion Tk to set up 12 production lines which we have the capacity to do. We don’t want to go to the bank before settling up to three or four lines, ”Zakir said.

Cars assembled by Bangla Cars also come with modern features to compete with foreign car manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and Nissan. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

Bangla Cars is also launching new cars with more equipment at affordable prices outside of warranty and after-sales services. Bangla Cars’ seven-seater SUVs cost Tk 2.7 million each. A customer will have to pay a total of Tk 3.2 million for the SUV with installations “worth tens of millions of taka,” Zakir said. The market value of Toyota cars with the same facilities is between Tk 7-8 million.

Given the state of the roads in Bangladesh, the chassis are purchased from Indonesia, the bodywork from China and the engines from Japan. “If a sustainable product cannot reach the hands of the buyer, the market cannot be captured by emotion alone. We are moving forward in this spirit. “

ADDED VALUE

Bangla Cars doesn’t have much value to add to its cars now. The company says it is currently adding 2-5% value.

A few SUVs are seen in the Bangla Cars showroom in the Tejgaon industrial zone in Dhaka. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

“The cost of manufacture is a significant cost for automakers. We are adding this service at the moment. There are also local value additions of 2-5%. produced from the first quarter of next year because the ceramic is available in our country. In addition, we plan to buy tires from the Jamuna group and glasses from other local companies, ”Zakir said.

“We are still at a very early stage. This is the research and development phase. We cannot say how far we can go in terms of added value until the production lines are fully operational.

The future of hybrid cars, however, is not bright in Bangladesh, he said. “The electric car market is now growing. But these cars will not fit on Bangladeshi roads. It can be considered after a few more years. Then we would also go with electric cars.

“I hope that more value can be added in this case.”


Comments are closed.