Indigenous vehicles ride market

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 14:

Riding ‘Made in Nepal’ cars is no more just a dream for Nepalis. Initiation of Hulas Motor Company (HMC), the manufacturers of first Nepali four wheelers, has fulfilled the wish of domestic clients. And the next in row is Cosmic Yingang Motorcycle Manufacturing Company (CYMMC), the manufacturer of two wheelers. HMC that commenced the era of vehicle production in Nepal in 1998 with power cart as its first product has now come a long way. HMC in course of research and development has three different indigenous brands — Sherpa, Mustang and Mini Van — to its credit. Similarly, Cosmic Yingang motorbike is the first bike being manufactured in Nepal. And being an indigenous product, it got an overwhelming response from the very beginning. The same implies to the four-wheeler segment, indigenous

brands from Hulas Motors were an instant hit among auto buffs.

Hulas vehicles are specially designed for rough roads of Nepal. ‘Limited Slip Differential’ has been installed in these vehicles to give performance similar to that of four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles. HMC launched its high-class and advanced product — Mustang in 2004 with a blend of power and luxury, which is suitable for Nepali terrain. “Hulas motors are manufactured with stringent quality control and standard by Nepali engineers and experts. These vehicles are plying mostly on the arduous and mountainous narrow rough roads and are used for carrying passengers and hefty luggage,” says Rajnish Kumar, marketing manager at the Golchha House. “Till date we have sold more than 450 units ranging from commercial single cabin and double cabin pick-up to standard deluxe jeep that suits the budget and requirements of the customers,” Kumar adds. Options like air condition, power steering, power windows, central lock, radial tyre and 4WD could be added in Hulas vehicles as per the needs of customers.

CYMMC which initially used to assemble vehicles from semi-knocked-off-gate is now manufacturing motorcycles from completely knocked-off-gates with parts imported from China. The company that started its operation in December 2003 by selling products of Chongqing Yingang Science & Technology Company Ltd has a modern and automated manufacturing plant with the production capacity of 40 units per day in Nawalparasi at present. It also has three models — CY 100-12 (100cc), CY 125-11 (125cc) and CY-100-7 (100cc) — to its credit. The company has so far sold more than 3,000 Cosmic Yingang bikes.

Though the engine and other complex parts are imported from China and assembled here, it is certainly the beginning of a new era in the bike production in the country. The Cosmic Yingang (CY) is manufactured embracing one of the best Japanese technologies. The reasonable pricing and quality assurance has helped the CY to sell a large number of units within a year of its launch, says Adhir Kumar Shrestha, manager, marketing at RabRen International Pvt Ltd.

The cost of production of motorcycles in Nepal is low, which is the reason for it being cheap. “But low cost product does not mean low quality,” says Ravneet Singh Sehmbi, production manager at CYMMC. Earlier most of the parts of Cosmic Yingang were imported from China and assembled here, but now we are trying to replace some of the parts with domestic products. Tyres and batteries are the first few things that we are replacing, Sehmbi adds. The brand image and quality products have aided the boom of CY in the domestic market. Its patented fuel saving device that saves 20 per cent fuel consumption has given more credit to the CY, he adds. The impressive style with features of deluxe bikes like disc brake and self start, financial schemes of 20 per cent down payment and 24 equal monthly instalments (EMI), exchange facility with any kind of bike, one year free parts replacement, two year warranty and buy-back guarantee, have all contributed to the growth of sales of CY, Sehmbi says. These indigenous vehicles not only have a patriotic bent of being made in Nepal, but are also relatively cheaper and best suited to Nepali roads. The domestic automobile market is valued at billions and the foreign manufacturers occupy more than 95 per cent of it. And it’s only a matter of time before indigenous products are certain to catch up with them with their improved quality and cheaper price tag.