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Bangladesh’s automobile industry has fallen into deep uncertainty as sales declined by 40 per cent this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Besides, banks seem uninterested to provide auto-loans amid the current crisis.

Car sales came down to 900 units per month across the country while it was around 1,500 per month last year, according to Abdul Haque, president of the Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (Barvida).

“This means our sale volume fell by about 40 per cent compared to normal times,” he said. Uncertainty 

Customers are worried about a potential second wave of infections and do not want to spend money on costly items, Haque added.

Car sales had increased in August and September, and it suddenly slowed again in October due to the threat of a potential second wave, said Mohammed Shahidul Islam, secretary-general of the Barvida, and chairman of HNS Group.

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“The market is now quite unpredictable amid the current situation,” Islam said. Uncertainty 

As per a rough estimate by the Barvida, the average number of cars sold across the country is currently 36 units per day, while it was 61 units in 2019.

This 40 per cent decline in sales has only worsened the troubles for the automobile importers and distributors, Barvida officials said.

Mannan Chowdhury Khasru, a former president of the Barvida, and owner of Nippon Autos Trading, said he had not witnessed such a loss throughout his four-decade-long career in this sector.

Nippon Autos sold at least 200 units in 2019 and may sell jut 50 units this year, a 75 per cent slide, due to the coronavirus impact.

Khasru said that he has already had to close two of his three showrooms in Dhaka.

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