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30 June, 2015 11:18:20 AM
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Local motorcycle manufacturers gear up for new ventures

Staff Correspondent
Local motorcycle manufacturers gear up for new ventures

Local motorbike manufacturers have already grabbed around 23 to 25 per cent market share and are optimistic about boosting their sales, as the new budget has proposed to increase tax on imported motorbikes. Also, they are now planning to export motorcycles to other countries, including India, Nepal and some African countries.  
Runner, Walton and Jamuna are the major motorcycle manufacturing companies of Bangladesh.
Some others, such as Road Master and Grameen, are about to start manufacturing motorbikes here.
The current annual demand for motorcycles stands at three lakh, which might double after five years, as more and more people are purchasing bikes to get relief from the intolerable traffic congestion in the capital.
The Runner Group, one of the pioneers of motorcycle manufacturing in Bangladesh, started its journey in 2007. It received the government's recognition as a bike manufacturing company in 2011.  The company now has the capacity to produce 500 bikes every day. Around 800 people work in its factory at Bhaluka in Mymensingh. It locally manufactures most of the bike accessories, such as pipes and sheet metals, while plastic, seats, indicator lights and chains are supplied by vendors.  
Runner Group chairman Hafizur Rahman Khan said, "We always try to ensure the quality of our bikes. At present, we're selling bikes at the lowest possible price to customers."
“We're now trying to grab the attention of the general public, including rural customers, rather than those who want stylish bikes. We will, of course, introduce stylish bikes in the market in the future to compete with other brands,” he added.
“We're very, very pleased with our workers. Everyone working in the automobile industry is very skilful, hardworking and intelligent," he said.
The veteran industrialist told The Independent that the future of the automobile industry largely depends on the government. "The industry seems to have a bright future with the burgeoning population, positive market growth rate and increasing per capita income. But continuous government support will be a much-needed boost for the industry," he said.
The Runner Group chairman also said, “Exports are our main dream. We've already started exporting our mobikes to Africa, India and Nepal. In India, the range of motorbikes starts from 100cc, but we manufacture 50cc and 80cc bikes, which will be more affordable for the people of India.”
Hafizur Rahman Khan, who is also the president of the Motorcycle Manufacturers' and Exporters' Association of Bangladesh, said, "The government should outline a long-term policy for the automobile industry as well as for vendors, importers and producers. It should instruct the banks to lower their interest rates. Currently, we're paying a high rate of 15 per cent on bank loans, which is taking a toll on our profits. The government should also discourage imports and compel people to use the locally produced brands.”  
Welcoming the national budget for the 2015–16 fiscal year, Khan said the government has taken a great stride forward to encourage local industries by imposing a 45 per cent supplementary duty on imported bikes from the previous 30 per cent.
But this trend should continued, following the footsteps of India and Thailand, which impose 100 per cent and 150 per cent supplementary duties, respectively, on imported bikes.
Walton, another large bike manufacturing company in the country, can produce 3.5 lakh mobikes annually.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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