Runner Automobiles PLC has inaugurated the Runner Bajaj three-wheeler manufacturing plant in Bhaluka, Mymensingh, which is the first “Made in Bangladesh” auto rickshaw plant for the local and international markets.
The Runner three-wheeler manufacturing plant, located on around 10 acres of land in Mymensingh, was established with an investment of Tk 3 billion and has the potential to produce 30,000 units per year.
Over ninety percent of the Bangladesh market is served by Bajaj Auto, the global leader in the three-wheeler segment, which is headquartered in Mumbai. The new plant is designed to replace imports.
According to Runner, the local plant will increase local value by around 70% through chassis and body welding, painting, engine assembling, vehicle assembling, and testing. Additionally, it would allow the company to lower unit costs for the last mile car.
Salman F. Rahman, the adviser to the prime minister on private investment and industry, was the chief guest at the opening ceremony. The president of Bajaj Auto, KS Grihapathy, was present as the guest of honor.
An attempt to become fully capable in three-wheelers manufacturing
“Around 30,000 three-wheelers run by liquefied petroleum gas and compressed natural gas will be produced a year at Runner Automobiles’ three-wheeler manufacturing plant in Mymensingh’s Bhaluka,” said Hafizur Rahman Khan, chairman of Runner Group at the launching event.
Mr. Khan said that the 10-acre Runner factory has already hired 300 people from the area and 400 people from other countries. “A few local organizations have also cooperated with us. This vehicle will help in transportation of the common mass along with creating more jobs,” he added.
“Through this, a domestic company for the first time brought a three-wheeler auto rickshaw to the market after manufacturing it in the country,” said Salman F Rahman. “Although the auto rickshaws have been produced in the country, Bangladesh still has to import 20-30 percent of the parts to make the three-wheeler. We want to be fully capable of manufacturing three-wheelers. Runner will fulfil this gap in future,” he remarked.
Salman F. Rahman stated that the government would provide comprehensive assistance for the establishment of the export-oriented vehicle industry. “To expand production and maintain their competitiveness, domestic businesses should use current technologies,” he said.
The first manufacturer and exporter
“Runner is the first manufacturer and exporter of motorcycles in Bangladesh,” said Subir Kumar Chowdhury, MD and CEO of Runner Automobiles. “With the auto-rickshaw, we entered into the three-wheeler industry today. We hope we will be successful in this industry like motorcycles,” said Subir.
“This is not only the first three-wheeler factory in Bangladesh, but also the first Bajaj three-wheeler factory outside of India,” said KS Grihapathy. “We are excited to work with Runner. The organization has already proved their capabilities. Bajaj will contribute to the development of the automobile industry in Bangladesh,” he added.
The price influence from local manufacturing
Completely imported CNG or LPG three-wheelers are subject to nearly 90% in taxes and duties, which can be cut in half if the local value edition is high enough.
Currently, imported LPG and CNG-powered three-wheelers can be purchased for Tk 5.5 lakh. With Runner’s production, the unit price will decrease by a minimum of 20% compared to imports. According to sources, local units may be sold for BDT 18,000 to 20,000 cheaper than imported units.
Uttara Motors, the country’s distributor of imported Bajaj three-wheelers for decades, will sell CNG-powered vehicles built domestically, while Runner will continue to advertise LPG-powered vehicles.
Runner produces and distributes the Bajaj RE 4S three-wheeler in Bangladesh.