Big business groups are entering the automobile workshop business, tempted by the massive jump in the number of motor vehicles plying the roads in the past several years.
Their entry means traditional workshops will gradually be phased out and replaced with sophisticated automated repair centres.
According to market players, the owner of a five-year-old 1,500cc car has to spend an average Tk 18,000 a year for servicing. The cost is 20 percent to 30 percent higher for higher capacity cars.
While there is no reliable data of the auto workshop industry, Zahirul Hoque, secretary general of the Bangladesh Automobile Workshop Malik Samity (BAWMS), believes the market has been increasing almost 15 percent annually for the last five to six years.
In 2018, car owners spent around Tk 1,200 crore on servicing, he said.
Observing this growth of the sector, some investors like Syed Samiul Huq, director of Japan SolarTech (Bangladesh) and owner of Auto Trade International (ATI), set up a sophisticated auto repairing centre spanning 25,000 square feet at the capital’s Tejgaon Industrial Area for Tk 20 crore.
There is a lack of skilled technicians and engineers to repair hybrid and sophisticated cars, due to which Huq set up the repair centre.
He appointed a total of 120 technicians and engineers who were provided advanced training on automobile servicing in Japan and Italy.
ATI has the capacity to repair a vehicle within two hours of diagnosing the problem using top quality parts at reasonable prices, he said.
Similarly, Navana has set up a servicing centre with cooperation with Toyota Motors at the Tejgaon-Gulshan link road in the capital.
Very few auto workshops are able to provide quality services for the latest and technologically advanced cars, said Shafkat Ahmed, a senior manager of the company.
“There is a good future for technologically advanced auto workshops in Bangladesh,” he added.
Rahimafrooz also set up a modern service centre spanning 7,000 square feet at the Tejgaon link road.
The workshop has high-tech equipment to provide up-to-date service with high-quality engineers and technicians keeping in mind the advanced automobile technology, said Niaz Rahim, group director of Rahimafrooz.
At present, hybrid cars make up 25 percent of the reconditioned cars imported to Bangladesh, according to Mannan Chowdhury Khoshru, a former president of the Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (Barvida). By 2023, the ratio would be 75 percent.
“So, we need advanced auto workshop to provide services to the car owners in the coming days,” he added.
Akij Group has also set up a service centre at Tejgaon with modern technological facilities.
The latest data of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) shows a total of 674,883 cars have been registered till March 2019 in Bangladesh.