The Bangladeshi government has reportedly made a momentous decision to allow the local production and use of motorcycles with engine capacities of up to 375cc. This decision, recorded in meeting minutes from the Ministry of Home Affairs, marks the resolution of prolonged uncertainty and speculation within the industry. This period of uncertainty began approximately two years ago when the Ministry of Industries began granting approvals for local factories to produce motorcycles with engine capacities of up to 500cc.
The recent decision was followed by an amendment to the Import Policy Order by the Ministry of Commerce, which allowed the import of raw materials and parts for the local production of motorcycles with up to 500cc engines, up from the previous limit of 165cc.
However, the absence of a clear road permit for these higher cc motorcycles left manufacturers in limbo until the recent meeting on September 7.
This development provides manufacturers with the clarity they need to plan investments and product launches. For instance, Uttara Motors, known for producing market-leading Bajaj Motorcycles in Bangladesh, is gearing up to manufacture the first batch of 250cc Pulsar N motorcycles within 45 days of receiving type approval from the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA).
Similar plans are in motion for Ifad Motors, which intends to produce Royal Enfield motorcycles at its Chattogram factory next year. Runner Automobiles, a pioneering motorcycle manufacturer in the country, has been exporting motorcycles with engine capacities of up to 500cc for years, in line with government regulations.
While this decision is seen as a positive step toward industry growth, some stakeholders expressed frustration over the exclusion of locally assembled completely knocked-down imported units from the expanded engine capacity limit. They argue that testing the market with imported units first before investing in local manufacturing of higher cc motorcycles would have been financially prudent.
Additionally, there are concerns about continued restrictions on motorcycle engine capacity, which some in the industry find limiting. This development opens up new possibilities for the motorcycle industry in Bangladesh, offering both challenges and opportunities for manufacturers and consumers alike.
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