Car sales set new record in ’08
Motor car sales in Dhaka shot up 46 percent to a record 14,942 pieces last year as an expanding consumer credit facility helped Bangladesh stanch a gloomy global auto purchase trend, officials said Monday.
The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) said car sales last year were the highest in the country’s history and more than twice the number sold in 2006.
“We have registered sales of 14,942 new and reconditioned cars in Dhaka 2008,” Sitangsu Shekhar Biswas, a deputy director of the BRTA told FE.
In 2007, the number of reconditioned and new cars sold in the capital was 10244, he said, adding last year’s sales were also 30 percent higher than the total nationwide sales in 2007.
“We have not tabulated the countrywide registration for 2008. But car sales in other areas make up only 10-15 percent of the total sales of Dhaka,” Biswas said.
Officials said car sales in the country averaged 5000 a year — lower than even Myanmar — for more than a decade till 2006 when the purchases started to spike after several years of robust economic growth.
A leading auto trader said the sudden sales spike owes largely to easy affordability and expansion of auto credit facility by leading private banks and emergence of car as a key corporate perks for professionals.
“Easy availability of car credit is mainly responsible for the booming car sales in Bangladesh,” said Abdul Haq, owner of leading car shop, Haq’s Bay.
“At our sales center, we have seen that nine out of every ten cars are being sold on credit facility given by private banks. Car credit repayment is more than satisfactory, prompting more banks to make foray into this sector,” he said.
He said cars are also being increasingly used as carrots by companies to poach or keep mid and field-level professionals.
“A lot of companies including banks, insurances, leading conglomerates, garment buying houses these days are providing interest-free loans to their employees to purchase cars,” he added.
The new Bangladesh figure was released amid plunging auto sales across the globe, especially in key markets in Europe, North America, Japan, China and India.
The globe’s worst economic downturn since the 1930s have forced global motor giants such as Toyota, GM, Ford and Nissan to shut down plants and shed thousands of jobs, as they reported 10-40 percent drop in annual sales.
They have also projected a sharp contraction of auto sales across the globe through 2010.
BRTA officials, however, said car sales trend in Bangladesh remains bullish in the first three weeks of the new year.