After emerging as the world’s second largest exporter of garments, Bangladesh will now start producing motor vehicles, with assistance from Japan’s auto-giant Mitsubishi.

With just a year to go for Golden Jubilee celebrations of independence, Bangladesh will now be manufacturing its own brand of automobiles.

Bangladesh government plans to start production of automobiles soon. A new Automobile Industry Development Policy has been drafted, and will soon be adopted.

So far, Bangladesh has been importing vehicles, both passenger and freight carriage, from different countries across the globe, including India and Japan.

But, because of high import duty, a large section of the fast-growing middle class, have not been able to afford vehicles for their families.

The news of the dream to produce own vehicles came to light after Bangladesh Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun met Ito Naoki, Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh.

The state-run Pragati Industries is all set to set a new history for Bangladesh. While labour is cheap in Bangladesh, the industrially progressive country of South Asia, may soon emerge as a vehicle exporter.

Though Pragati Industries has been assembling cars designed by Mitsubishi Motors, manufacturing own brand will also be more lucrative for Bangladesh and a brand of delight for the people.

PHP Motors, which is based in Chittagong, has also been manufacturing cars made by Malaysia’s PROTON.

Two Indian automobile companies — Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra have also shown interest in setting up assembling hub jointly with local manufacturers.

But once the state-run Pragati Industries starts manufacturing its own vehicles, the prospects for assembling vehicles are going to decline.

At present, about 23,000 cars are sold in the Bangladesh market every year, of which about 3,000 are new, and the remaining ones are re-conditioned.

According to reports, the draft Automobile Industry Development Policy has projected that the demand will cross 100,000 vehicles annually once locally produced cars are made available at a cheaper price.

While Bangladesh has set a bench-mark for itself in garments manufacturing, the Awami League-led government is also optimistic that as a new automobile manufacturer, it can always emerge as the fastest-growing exporter.

In the last seven years, Bangladesh’s garment industry has increased its annual revenue from $19 billion to $34 billion—a 79 percent rise.

This makes the country the second largest exporter of garments in the world, with the sector accounting for 80 percent of Bangladesh’s total export earnings.

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