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Bangladesh firm keen to assemble Tata small cars

If Tata Motors is not interested in Ahmad's proposal he would approach either Datsun or Toyota with a similar proposal for CKD assembly in Dhaka

Sohini Das  |  Ahmedabad 

Bangladesh firm keen to assemble Tata small cars

It started out as the cheapest car of the Indian market. As it struggles to find takers, the Nano might become a ‘Made in Bangladesh’ car. So could the Tiago and the Tigor, or any entry-level passenger car from the Motors stable. 

Motors’ partner in Bangladesh, the Nitol Niloy group, which is assembling some of the former’s commercial vehicles in that country and is also the largest distributor of vehicles in Bangladesh, has shown interest in assembling completely-knocked-down (CKD) units of an entry-level passenger car of the brand, especially the Nano. 

“We have submitted a formal proposal for the same and it has been a while. We are yet to hear anything positive from the company,” said Abdul Matlub Ahmad, chairman of the Nitol Niloy group. He was in India a few weeks ago and has had a word with the management. However, he clarified that there was no concrete response from the Tatas yet. 

If Motors is not interested in Ahmad’s proposal he would approach either or with a similar proposal for assembly in Dhaka. He said there was a need gap for locally-made cars in has a demand for over 30,000 private cars per year. Over 90 per cent of these are used cars imported from Japan,” Ahmad said. 

Completely-built units (CBUs) imported into attract a 165 per cent duty, which makes entry level cars like the Nano unviable in terms of pricing. Made in cars, on the other hand, would attract a 60 per cent duty, making them affordable. 

Ahmad feels that the initial demand for the locally assembled Nano or any other entry level car could be around 5,000-6,000 per year. He plans to set up an assembly plant near Dhaka for 500 crore taka (1 taka is Rs 0.79). 

“My plan is to invest over 500 crore taka in a modern plant in I want to complete by December 2018,” Matlub said. 

A Motors spokesperson said, “As a policy, we do not comment on future plans related to products, collaborations and sourcing strategies.”
Nitol Niloy has been assembling commercial vehicles in since 1991. It has a joint venture with Tata, in which it holds a 60 per cent share. 

Sources claimed that Motors was considering assembling the Nano abroad by exporting units. Ahmad added that since had duty-free agreements with many countries, he would also consider exporting these cars to neighbouring countries, and if things worked out he might tap the north-east Indian market as well. “A royalty arrangement can be worked out with Motors, and if they are looking for a joint venture, we can also work that out. As such, the company does not need to invest; the entire investment would be from our side,” he said. 

The Nano does not have much demand in the export market. Around 100 Nanos were exported between April and August at a time when the car’s cumulative domestic sales were only 1,312, down 66 per cent, year on year. 

entered with CVs in 1972
Over two-thirds of the CVs sold there bear logo
Nano was launched there in August 2014 
Nitol Niloy assembles CVs from 1991
It is Tata’s largest distributor there 
Made in Nano to have 25% localisation 
Nitol Niloy plans to build car assembly plant near Dhaka for 500 crore taka
Plans to export these cars to neighbouring countries
May talk to Datsun, Toyota

First Published: Tue, September 26 2017. 01:40 IST