Vehicle registration declines to 8-year low
Vehicle registration in Bangladesh has declined to an eight-year low in the first four months of this year, owing to consumer tightening their belts and escalated prices fueled by higher import costs.
On average, a total of 29,694 vehicles got registered with Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) every month this year, which is the lowest after 2015, shows BRTA data.
The high price of vehicles due to a sharp rise in the dollar exchange rate and an increase in people's living costs due to commodity inflation caused a decline in vehicle sales, which was reflected in registration numbers, said people in the industry.
Car sales declined by 50 to 60 percent while sales of motorcycles declined by 35 to 50 percent in the last seven-eight months, they said.
Bikes and cars amounted to 90.5 percent of total registered vehicles last year, shows BRTA data.
According to BRTA data, a total of 1,18,777 vehicles got registered in the first four months of this year, meaning 29,694 vehicles got registered every month.
On average, 48,179 vehicles were registered in 2022, 37,085 in 2021, and 31,471 in 2020. Normal lives were hammered largely in 2021 and 2020 due to the pandemic.
Average vehicle registration per month in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 was higher than this year. The average vehicle registration per month in 2015 was 25,661.
"Hike in vehicle price due to hike in the dollar exchange rate and bad economic condition led to a sharp decline in vehicle registration. There is no other reason," a top official of BRTA told The Daily Star.
A total of 5,06,912 bikes (42,242 bikes per month) got registered in 2022, which was 87.67 percent of the total registered vehicles last year, shows BRTA data.
On the other hand, 1,02,558 bikes got registered in the first four months this year, meaning 25,639 bikes got registered every month.
Contacted, Biplob Kumar Roy, CEO of TVS Auto Bangladesh Limited, the local distributor of India's TVS Motor Company, cited four major reasons behind the poor bike registration number.
Potential customers, in many cases, defer their decision to buy bikes due to commodity inflation, he told this correspondent yesterday.
Although bikes price increased by 30 percent at the manufacturing level due to a sharp rise in the dollar exchange rate, manufacturers increased it by 10 percent at the customer level. But many customers find the price hike difficult, he added.
At the rural level, dealers used to sell bikes to customers on credit but in the current economic situation, they are facing delays to get the money back from customers. And so, re-finance by dealers reduced and subsequently, sales also reduced, he said.
Besides, he also informed that "negative publicity" centering on bikes' involvement in road crashes discouraged many to buy the two-wheelers.
A total of 16,695 cars (1,391 cars per month) got registered in 2022, while 3,540 cars (885 cars per month) got registered in the first four months of this year.
Contacted, Md Habib Ullah Dawn, president of Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (BARVIDA), cited the dollar crisis and devaluation of money against the dollar as the reasons behind the situation.
Importers could not open LC (letters of credit) to import cars due to a shortage of dollars, so many showrooms did not have cars, he said.
Moreover, the sharp rise in the dollar exchange rate caused a hike in vehicles price by 30 percent, he said adding, "All these factors caused a sharp fall in vehicle sales."
He said vehicle sales dropped by 50 to 60 percent in the last eight months.