The market for cars in Bangladesh has come a long way since the early 1990's. With Toyota being one of the most popular brands in Bangladesh, Navana has been at the forefront of the automobile sector. How do you explain the tremendous success that Navana as a distributor and Toyota as a brand, has had in Bangladesh?
Toyota stands for three values, across all markets and all designs for all classes of vehicles – Quality, Durability, Reliability. Toyota maintains this with both production and service after sale, and these values are instilled into any Toyota dealership anywhere in the world. In Bangladesh, we try to ensure that anyone who buys a Toyota will continue to buy Toyotas over multiple generations. If you look at the market of cars in Bangladesh, in the 60's and 70's it was dominated by European and American cars. When the Corona RT40 was introduced, it was called a “toy car”, but the reliability of the cars won customers over, which has continued since, building a reputation for Toyota in both the brand new car market as well as the reconditioned market. A large part of the market share is Toyota, and that shows the market preference for the brand.
Toyota has a brand loyalty that encompasses generational gaps and survives the test of time. What has Navana done recently to approach the younger crowd, who are perhaps working towards buying their first car in the near future?
We regularly run the Dream Car Contest and have activation programs with universities (such as the Admaker campaign) as well as through social media. Our social media presence is the largest in the automobile section, with over 800,000 likes on our page, through which we bring changing trends in the global market to our younger audience. We realise that the decision making of what car to get for each family has changed to youngsters influencing quite a bit of it, so we are trying to capitalise on that.
What are the problems and lacking that you currently face in the market, as a distributor of brand new vehicles?
The political and socioeconomic problems exist, but the biggest problem we face as brand new car dealer is the lack of coordination and planning between the government and the importers. If you look elsewhere around the world, it is seen that other governments plan along with the importers and businesses in coming up with a plan for duty structures, or at least the importers can accurately predict the duty structures every budget year. However, here, we have to continuously adjust our pricing structure because of the lack of communication, and it is hurting our prospects.