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SUV becomes ultimate choice of car

Kamrul Hasan
20 May 2023 00:00:00 | Update: 20 May 2023 00:14:35
SUV becomes ultimate choice of car

The demand pattern for cars has significantly changed during the last decade as consumers now prefer sports utility vehicles (SUVs) to sedan cars.

Car importers and traders said increased purchasing power, comfort during travel, safety feeling on the highways, and improved condition of roads and highways across the country are the key factors behind the changes in demand.

They said that business people, politicians, professionals, and top executives, who need to travel outside Dhaka frequently, are now choosing different models of crossover, hybrid, basic and compact SUVs.

Mohammed Shahidul Islam, secretary general of Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (BARVIDA), said that for their comfortable features, SUV cars are gaining popularity day by day.

“We are observing that the SUVs are replacing sedans in the market, capturing around 40% of the annual sales which several years ago was only around 10%,” he added.

However, Chattogram Customs’ data shows that the SUV’s market share is far bigger. Over 1600 cars have been imported between January 1 and May 9. Of those, 234 are brand new cars and the rest are reconditioned or used cars; and among the brand new cars, 226 are SUVs.

According to the car importers and traders, Toyota Harrier, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, Toyota Highlander, Range Rover of Land Rover, family purpose vehicle (MPV) or seven-seater car DSFK, Honda BRV, BMW, Mitsubishi Pajero, Porsche, Audi Q7, and Proton X50 are in good demand.

Abdur Rahman, deputy general manager of Executive Motors which is the local dealer of the German brand BMW, said, “People want to use the car for various purposes. That is why comparatively bigger cars are getting more attention. In addition to official necessity, for some people, it has become a lifestyle as well.”

“On the city roads, a person feels comfortable driving sedan cars, but for highways, SUVs are more comfortable and safe. A person can also use an SUV in the city as well,” he added.

Rahman said, “The government is giving a tax waiver for second-generation cars. The supplementary duty for second-generation cars under 2000cc is 89% which is 137% for the same model of the basic cars. It is also inspiring the people to go for SUVs,” Rahman said, adding that the government wants to ensure that at least 30% of the cars in the country are electrically run.

A sales official of Navana Motors said that instead of buying reconditioned cars, upper-middle-class families now buy an entry-level SUV, or sub-2000 cc crossover, at a price range of Tk 30-45 lakh.

“Besides, they also feel safe in the large cars. This feeling of safety is driving the customers to buy SUVs,” he added.

Md Ehsan Ahmed, manager (sales and digital marketing) of PHP Automobiles Ltd, the sole distributor of Malaysian brand Proton, said, “Seven seater cars, considered a family purpose vehicle, are in good demand right now.”

The SUVs with high prices are bought by government offices or politicians who enjoy tax waivers, he informed.

BARVIDA wants specific duty

To make the local market more stable BARVIDA wants specific duties to be imposed on car imports.

President of BARVIDA Md Habib Ullah Dawn placed the organisation’s proposal to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem on February 28 this year.

Habib Ullah said due to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, the taxes and duties are changing frequently which ultimately is confusing the consumers who pay different prices for the same model in a time gap of a few months.

So, to keep the market stable, the specific duty would be more justifiable for the expansion of the business of several thousand crore taka, he argued.

The BARVIDA also urged the authorities concerned to rearrange the tax slabs for the hybrid and gas-run cars to realise the government vision of Smart Bangladesh within 2041.

Our Chattagram Correspondent Saidur Rahman Sabuj contributed to this report.