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Dhaka Tribune

Overcoming the challenges in the automobile sector

Like almost every other business, the automobile industry has taken a huge hit during the last one year. In an interview with Md Arman Rashid, the GM and Head of Supply Chain of DHS motors, Dhaka Tribune’s Tanveer Mohiuddin gets invaluable insights into how Honda and DHS motors as a whole is coping with the current situation and all the challenges it has brought

Update : 05 Jun 2021, 08:46 PM

Due to the pandemic, many businesses are experiencing slow sales, is Honda an exception?

The automotive market as a whole has suffered immensely due to the pandemic. Honda is no exception. However, we are trying our level best to cope up with the new normal. Thanks to our industry-leading product lineup and loyal customer base, we are surviving and prepping for the economy to regain its strength. 

How is Honda (DHS motors) coping with the current scenario?

Prioritizing the health and safety of our customers and staff, we are currently operating with less manpower, rolling shifts at a time and the rest of the employees are working from home. Moreover, to enable customers to feel safer, we have introduced a virtual showroom experience along with live video consultation so that customers can experience a contactless demonstration of our products while staying safe at home. In addition, we are serving our service customers on an appointment basis only to limit the crowd in our service facility. 

Which one is currently Honda’s best selling model at the moment?

As of 2020, Honda City is the best seller in the sedan model. It is very popular, particularly for corporate fleets. The new CR-V Turbo is the best-selling in the SUV segment. 

What do you have to say regarding the new budget related to your industry?

Last budget (2020-21) has been critical for us especially during the pandemic. We are grateful to the authorities that there was no major change in the import duty structure since revenue authorities are looking for every opportunity to increase public revenue. There has been a revision in the AIT (Advance Income Tax) payable annually for vehicle registration renewal which will have an impact on our customers. Since cars are considered luxury items in Bangladesh, we have to pay a huge sum at the port before getting our products in Bangladesh, as import duty, which is ultimately paid by the customers. The automobile industry is one of the highest tax-paying sectors of the country and we only request the authorities to reduce the burden of taxes on the end-user so that cars can be more affordable to the public since cars are not a luxury but a necessity, especially in current times. 

What new changes in the brand-new car market do you predict after the coronavirus situation gets back to normal? 

Covid has changed all of our lives forever. We feel that it will have a huge impact on consumer behaviour and household financial planning. We have already seen changes in our consumers where some people are getting used to self-driving as opposed to having chauffeurs. So, there might be an increase in demand for cars which are considered “driver’s cars”. Also, self-driving customers naturally opt to go for models which have a lot of features and driving aids which are standard in modern vehicles. 

Do you think Honda is growing in popularity and if so, why do you think that is so?

Honda has always been one of the most popular Japanese brands in the world. It has a cult following globally and Bangladesh is no exception. Historically, Honda has made a lot of iconic cars and the heritage translates well into the current model lineup. I have to admit that Honda has some of the best models in the market, each leader in their own segment. In addition, the performance of Honda in the reconditioned market with strong sales of Honda Vezel and Grace has helped Honda reach its popular position in Bangladesh second only to Toyota. However, the biggest contributing factor for the popularity of Honda has to be our focus on after sales service which is appreciated by all our customers and got us lots of positive reviews and repeat customers. 

Many are concerned about the high prices and a reliable source for the spare parts. How is DHS motors dealing with such concerns?

Ensuring global Honda standard After Sales service quality, our focus was to provide the best After Sales service in Bangladesh. We have worked hard to develop our technicians’ skills level through continuous training and also to improve our facilities to provide state of the art service at the most reasonable price. We have also utilized our expertise in Supply Chain practices to ensure parts availability at the most affordable prices. At this point, Honda genuine parts are available at very competitive pricing at our own service centres in Mohakhali and Tejgaon. For our customers’ convenience, we have also started a Honda Authorized Service Center (ASC) network. Honda customers can get genuine parts and service at these ASCs at the same price as DHS service centres. Currently, we have three active ASCs in Bashundhara, Bosila and Uttara. We are working to add more to the list in the upcoming years. 

What are Honda’s future plans? 

The vision of Honda in the upcoming years is to provide Bangladeshi consumers with the best products catering to their specific requirements. We would love to bring in new and exciting products and as well to serve the existing customers to maintain their cars with top-notch service. As a commitment to our country and our consumers, we aspire to start vehicle assembly in Bangladesh for Honda cars with the support from government agencies and of course, Honda. 

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