Sales of commercial vehicles rose 10.65 percent year-on-year to 25,980 units in 2018 fuelled by rising economic activities amid stable political situation, according to data from Bangladesh Road transport Authority.
Sales of truck led the growth of the commercial vehicle segment in the broader automobile industry: 12,663 trucks were sold last year, up 22.31 percent from 10,363 in 2017.
Sales of covered vans were up 10.68 percent year-on-year to 5,729 units and that of tractors rose 28 percent to 3,553 units.
Bus sales were, however, down 26.72 percent to 2,755 units and cargo van sales dropped 9.41 percent to 1,280 units.
“The market of commercial vehicle has been booming for the last few years thanks to rising economic activities,” said Hafizur Rahman Khan, chairman of Runner Group, distributor of Eicher truck.
He credited the steady economic growth and export earnings for the increased sales of the commercial vehicle.
The market size of the commercial vehicle segment was about Tk 4,200 crore in 2017 from about Tk 2,000 crore a decade ago. It is expected to reach Tk 5,000 crore in 2018, said Abdul Matlub Ahmad, chairman of Nitol Tata, distributor of Indian auto giant Tata.
The market grew 15 percent to 20 percent every year in the last one decade, which also saw a shift in market leadership in the segment.
In the 90's, the segment was dominated by imports from Japan. Now it is controlled by Indian commercial vehicle manufacturers thanks to their comparatively lower price and fuel efficiency, market players said.
Currently, Indian automakers Tata, Eicher, Ashok Leyland and Mahindra are the leaders in the segment.
“The sales growth of commercial vehicle indicates that the economy is rising,” said Mohammed Shahidul Islam, chairman of HNS Group, an importer of commercial vehicles. However, there is a severe lack of quality commercial vehicles, leading to road accidents and disrupting economic activities.
“There are decades-old commercial vehicles plying on the roads and substandard engine. We need commercial vehicles that can contribute to the economy by efficiently carrying goods,” Islam said.
Ahmad of Nitol Tata says the demand for commercial vehicles would keep growing as vehicles are needed to move goods and facilitate people's movement.
Nitol Tata is setting up a commercial vehicle manufacturing plant at the Kishoreganj Economic Zone at a cost of Tk 350 crore to meet growing demand.