While well-established companies regularly release new models every year, the entry of new brands is a rarer event in Nepal’s automobile market. This year’s NADA Auto Show saw three new brands enter the country for the first time, while a fourth returned after a two-year absence. Here is a short run-through of what three of them plan to offer auto enthusiasts in the country.
Eco Infinity, authorised distributors of NIU electric two-wheelers in Nepal, showcased their flagship model for the first time during the NADA auto show and will be launching the N1S this week. “NIU is a mash-up created by technologists, industrial designers, engineers and creative designers who came together to change the way
urban citizens explore their city landscape. We believe that NIU vehicles will forever change the way urbanities live, work, and socialise in the city,” said Anupama Rajbhandari, Senior Marketing Assistant at Eco Infinity. The NIU N1S will be available at an introductory price of Rs 2,65,000.
The model is powered by an original 29Ah or 150 watt-hour Panasonic lithium battery capable of supporting an 80 km range (or about four typical days of urban commuting). The battery only weighs 10 kg and comes with a portable battery charger, making it easy to carry indoors for the six hours it takes to fully recharge. “We have also provided charging stations in Labim Mall and at the Evo store in Sherpa Mall,” Rajbhandari added.
N1S comes equipped with a BOSCH developed 2400W Motor, NIU’s proprietary Field Oriented Control for improved performance and a hydraulic double disc brake system with EBS. At 2500 RMB, the lithium-ion battery is the most expensive part of the scooter. Most scooter batteries in China are clunky, lead-acid bricks. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter, more environmentally friendly and last longer.
“NIU now enjoys a strong position in the European and Asian automotive markets due to its strong brand portfolio and low maintenance costs,” said Rajbhandari. The company is soon planning to introduce two more scooters — M1 Pro and M1 Sports — in the Nepali market.
“Electric vehicles are the future since they have the ability to reduce our carbon footprint and make the world a cleaner place. It is important that we all gear up for this change to deal with the health problems caused by emissions and the broader problems caused by accelerating climate change,” said Rajbhandari.
The luxurious Australian motorcycle brand has finally decided to take on the Nepali market, and will be launching five models around Dashain. Rai Motors, sole authorised distributors of Hunter in Nepal, showcased their upcoming motorbikes — Daytona 350i, SPYDER 350i, Sports GTR 350i, Cafe Racer 350i and Cruiser 350i — at the 12th NADA auto show. “We are very optimistic about introducing this new brand in the Nepali market. We believe that buyers look for comfort and our bikes deliver it perfectly,” said Bhadra Bdr Rai, Chairperson of Rai Motors.
The Hunter motorbikes are designed from the ground up as the world’s first full-sized ‘learner legal’ choppers. All its models come equipped with an electronic fuel injection (EFI) system which combines computer controls with a high-pressure fuel delivery system to provide more power while remaining fuel-efficient.
The Daytona and SPYDER are priced at Rs 6,50,000 while the Sports GTR, Cafe Racer and Cruiser will all cost Rs 6,30,000.
“The unique selling points of Hunter bikes are their cost efficiency, advanced features and comfort. Hunter bikes fall under the premium segment but their introductory price in Nepal is quite reasonable and affordable,” said Rai.
Shangrila Motors Pvt Ltd, the newly appointed distributors of Peugeot in Nepal, has re-introduced the French brand after its brief and unremarkable stint in the country two years ago. A world-renowned brand, Peugeot will be rolling out its new models — Peugeot 2008, a compact SUV, and Peugeot 508, a premium sedan — after Dashain.
“We are very excited and enthused about this new addition to the Nepali market and we believe the new SUV will be able to win the hearts of the Nepalese customers,” said RK Singh, Deputy General Manager at Shangrila Motors. The updated 2008 features the PEUGEOT i-Cockpit, an innovative interior with attractive features such as a soft-touch dashboard with ergonomic design, leather-trimmed steering wheel and aviation-style handbrake. The head-up instrument panel allows vehicle information to be viewed above, rather than through, the steering wheel. The 7-inch colour touchscreen places an extensive array of digital functions at your fingertips.
According to Singh, the brand’s USP lies in its dynamic look, uncompromising quality, powerful engine, safety and comfort. “Since these vehicles are not for the masses, we are aiming to sell around 100 units annually,” he added.
A version of this article appears in print on September 12, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.