On the occasion of achieving a two-lakh milestone in terms of manufacture and sale, Honda launched its first-ever motorcycle model exclusively designed for the growing market in Bangladesh.
With the new commuter motorcycle -- Dream 110 -- Bangladesh Honda Private Limited enters the next level of local manufacturing technically called 'category one'.
The manufacture of category one includes building motorcycle frame, swing arms and other structural parts out of steel tubes and sheets instead of merely welding the imported pre-shaped components and also engine assembling.
The new mode of manufacturing reduces the total tax and duty burden for the 'Dream 110' to 49% from 57%, which is applicable for manufacturing Honda's category two vehicles.
An increased effort and investment for localisation helped the world's top motorcycle maker lower the price tag for 'Dream 110' to Tk89,900.
The company officials believe that the latest edition to Honda fleet that covers 100 CC to 165 CC models offers a great value for money to Bangladeshi commuters along with Honda's world famous reliability.
Honda's research and development wing reduced the seat height of Dream 110's predecessor Dream Neo, modified its suspension set up so that it fits best for Bangladesh's mass riders and absorbs shocks on any rough terrain across the country.
In the launching ceremony in its factory premise at Munshiganj's A Monem Economic Zone on Wednesday, Honda officials expected that people will find 'Dream 110' as the best motorcycle in its class in terms of design, comfort and control, fuel economy, and of course the engine performance.
Honda also included Livo, another 110 CC Honda model, in its category one manufacturing line while Livo costs a little more than that of the Dream.
Honda's founder Soichiro Honda always dreamt of an affordable mobility for people, and the company in Bangladesh is also working to reduce the price of its motorcycles.
When the Dream 110's predecessor Dream Neo was imported as completely built units (CBU), it used to cost a customer more than Tk1.4 lakh, even four years ago.
Bangladesh Honda gradually localised its production and now the price came down by nearly 40% and the company will be trying to make motorcycles more affordable, said officials.
To this end, the company needs further investments on top of its already invested Tk360 crore in its 2013 joint venture with Bangladesh government.
The production volume is important for viability of the needed investments and also the company needs some fine tuning in duty structures to reduce its cost and price as well, said Honda Bangladesh's Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Himihiko Katsuki.
He also said that policy consistency is important for the investors.
Naresh Kumar Rattan, senior vice-president of Bangladesh Honda, said his company is selling around 60 thousand motorcycles a year to occupy 12% of the Bangladesh market.
In recent years, Honda is growing faster than its industry contenders and eyes more growth because of its competitive offer in 100-110 CC segment, which accounts for 42% of the local market demand, he added.
Since inception in 2013 with an assembly shed in Gazipur, the company took 64 months to sell its first one lakh motorcycles when the annual industry sale was around two lakh units.
Localisation and price reduction helped the market grow to over 5 lakh units a year and the company sold its next one lakh units in 23 months.
At the launching ceremony Bangladesh Honda's Chief Production Officer Shoichi Satoh, Head of Finance and Commercial Shah Muhammad Ashequr Rahman, FCA, National Sales Manager Omar Islam, Head of Marketing and Promotions Gias Uddin Sajeeb spoke to the media.