A Bangladesh company, Fair Technology, is close to assembling cars of South Korea’s Hyundai in an assembly line at Gazipur near Dhaka.
The Fair Group has signed a contract with Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) to establish a plant on six acres of land.
“We hope to invest $125 million in the next three to five years to develop facilities. Our target is to start commercial production by the second quarter of 2022,” said Chief Marketing Officer Mohammed Mesbah Uddin.
The plant with a capacity to turn round 5,000 vehicles will initially assemble 1,000 vehicles, he said after BHTPA Managing Director Hosne Ara Begum and Fair Technology Managing Director Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub signed the agreement this week in presence of ICT minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak.
South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun and Senior Secretary to the ICT Ministry NM Zeaul Alam were also present.
Fair Technology is going to be the fourth firm to make a foray into the realm of personal vehicle assembly, thanks to value-added tax and supplementary duty exemptions by the revenue authority on the import of raw materials and components from July 2019.
Already, state-run Pragoti Industries, Rangs Motors and PHP Family assemble sports utility vehicles and sedans of select engine capacities for the domestic market.
Fair Group’s also plans to assemble Samsung smartphones and consumer electronics.
Fair Technology said it would set up the plant at Kaliakair Hi-Tech Park in Gazipur with technical assistance from Hyundai.
“Initially, Hyundai plans to produce the most popular sedans, sports utility vehicles and multipurpose vehicles of recent models,” a company statement said.
“The factory is being set up in line with the policy of the government, which will help increase localisation, create employment, and increase the number of skilled workers in the country,” it added.
Fair announced in July its exclusive partnership with Hyundai to set up a car assembly plant here in order to grab a portion of Bangladesh’s automobile market, which is dominated by reconditioned cars imported from Japan.
Fair Technology estimates that 25,000 to 30,000 cars are sold annually in the country, most of which are reconditioned.
Mesbah said prices of locally assembled Hyundai cars were likely to be 25 per cent lower than prevailing market rates.
“We are very happy that the world-famous Hyundai car factory is being set up in Bangladesh through Fair Technology which is one of the milestones,” the statement quoted Palak as saying.
He said making Hyundai cars would brighten Bangladesh’s prestige before the world.
“Using Hyundai’s technology and expertise, we will ensure that Hyundai’s world-class cars can be enjoyed by Bangladeshi customers at affordable prices,” said Mahbub of Fair Technology.
Begum said this initiative would go on to encourage other foreign investors.
Meanwhile, the Tripura government is looking to touch base with Fair Group seeking to establish a tyre manufacturing unit for the carmakers.
“Ideally, we want the tyre making unit in the Bodhjungnagar industrial growth complex near Agartala. Initially, it can make tyres for Hyundai vehicles but later make tyres for other carmakers setting up shop in Bangladesh,” a senior Tripura Industry department official said.
Tripura is India’s second-largest natural rubber producing state after Kerala.
“Any rubber-based manufacturing unit in Tripura is welcome for rubber growers in the state because that would mean a better price for produce,” said former Rubber Board official Samir Bhowmik.