Automobile companies have found the perfect stage to market their new and upcoming products to potential customers -- the 23rd Dhaka International Trade Fair.
Their main target, however, is to exhibit their products before the visitors as opposed to maximizing sales at the fair itself.
Khairul Alam, the person in-charge at the Toyota Motors stall, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We basically use the fair for showcasing our new products with a special reduction in the price to attract the visitors.”
“Potential buyers usually take one or two months to browse the market and settle on one vehicle.”
Thus, sale of automobiles is not so high at the trade fair but companies use the opportunity to hook in customers.
He added: “But this year, we have found that visitors are responding more than previous years. Our company has introduced two new models for the occasion.”
Toyota Motors -- which sells through its local dealer Navana Motors – is offering Toyota Avante 1500cc for Tk30 lakh and Corolla Altis for Tk39 lakh, after deducting Tk50,000 from the market price for each.
As for local companies, Jamuna Automobiles is offering special deals on its motorcycles.
RFL Autos, a sister-concern RFL Group, is showing Foton model’s four categories pickup with regular price, said the stall’s Marketing Executive Ashiqur Rahman.
“Visitors, mainly the youth, are visiting the bike section of our stall the most. They are looking for stylish bikes that have low fuel-consumption. Our motorbike called Pegasus attracts the most customers,” he said.
Like the private automobile companies, the state-run Pragoti Industries Limited and Atlas Bangladesh are showcasing their products under a common stall of Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation, said Md Selim Hawladar, in-charge of the stall, also the senior audit officer of BSEC.
“Our main consumers are government high officials and the different armed forces. We are here at DITF to make people aware that the government also has automobile factories where we assemble various parts. Most visitors are amazed after discovering this and some are more eager to purchase our products.”
Pragoti’s Engineer MST Mariam Parvin told the Dhaka Tribune: “We are displaying Mitsubishi Pajero Sport QX and Mitsubishi L200 in our corner of the stall which are available at our factory and outlet as well.”
Atlas Bangladesh Limited is also displaying five models of bikes in its corner.
At the fair, Dhaka Tribune found a relatively small number of automobile stalls. Some of the employees at these stalls said their products need a bigger space for exhibition but that would be too costly.
“Since turnover at the fair is negligible, most companies do not desire to participate in the fair. People who want to buy cars do not wait for the fair, while visitors at the fair just look over the products but rarely make a purchase,” said a staff of Walton Group, seeking anonymity.
The homegrown business conglomerate Walton Group, however, showcased their automobile products at last year’s fair but this year the company did not bring their products to the stall, said one staff member at the stall.
A local automobile trader Hossain Md Aheya, owner of Akib Motors in Jessore which is said to be the third largest automobile market in the country, said: “Cars are very slow products to be sold. People still prefer buying automobile products from reliable sources instead of fairs. Besides, there is a lack of promotion by automobile companies at DITF.”
“Many people do not know that cars are being sold there. Massive advertisement is needed to boost sales at DITF. Most of the prominent brands have their authorized showrooms and appointed dealers at the district level. This can be one of the reasons why we do not see visible interest of the automobile industry in the fair. They prefer five-star hotels to launch their new-model cars instead of such fairs.”
“Brands like Tata organize their own automobile fairs in different districts where they offer discounts and other benefits to reach their target market easily,” he added.