Tata Ace dominates mini-truck market
Mini-truck Tata Ace has triumphed in the small-pickup market in a short time, eating up the shares of its competing brands.
The vehicle took over more than 90 percent stakes in the small pickup segment in three years since its launch in early 2009, said a senior official of Nitol Motors Ltd, the distributor of Indian Tata vehicles in Bangladesh.
Nitol sold 7,800 units of Tata Ace during the January-December period of 2011, up from 3,500 units in 2009, said SM Nuruzzaman, chief business officer for small commercial vehicle division of Nitol Motors.
A massive reduction in initial cash payment lured many buyers.
Apart from it, the vehicle's ability to navigate through narrow roads with less than one tonne load also attracted buyers.
"We focused on selling our vehicles at major growth centres in urban, semi-urban and rural areas," said Nuruzzaman, explaining the reason behind the drastic rise in sales.
A wide network for sales and services supported the buoyancy in sales of Tata Ace that kept its dominance in mini truck segment with the new and reconditioned ones.
In 2011, the market share of Tata Ace stood at 91 percent of the totals sales of 8,500 units in the entire market, he said.
Tata launched mini trucks in 2005 in the Indian market to give an option to businesses for carrying small amount of goods on shorter distances.
Nitol unveiled the vehicle in Bangladesh after four years.
"The demand for small pickups is rising because of its advantage in goods transportation inside cities and between districts," Nuruzzaman said.
He said the demand for small pickups is rising in almost all sectors for transportation of essential commodities, poultry, pharmaceuticals, and raw materials of textiles and garments mills.
The Nitol official also said the company, keeping a scope for buyers to pay in instalments, has made flexible the initial cash payment for Tata Ace at 30 percent, or less, of the total price of the vehicle.
"It's a major advantage for a buyer, as people primarily think of the amount of down payment not the total price," he said. Tata Ace is now sold at Tk 799,000.
In some cases, Nitol reduced the amount of down payment to 20 percent of the total price, when its competitors are taking as high as 50 percent.
He said the scope of getting a pickup with a small down payment has encouraged many to start business of goods transportation.
Nuruzzaman said half of the buyers of Tata Ace rent out the vehicles for transporting goods while the rest use it for business support.
Abdul Mannan Chowdhury Khasru, president of Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association, also admitted that Tata Ace rules the market.
"Import of reconditioned pickups has almost come to a halt" said Khasru. Only 40 units of used pickups were imported from Japan in the first half of the current fiscal year in the face of a slump in sales, he said.