Organised jointly by the Nepal Automobile Dealers’ Association (Nada) and Global Exposition and Management Services, the event aims at enticing auto enthusiasts ahead of the festive season. The six-day event hosts 120 stalls and blocks from 65 exhibitors, including auto dealers, banks and financial institutions.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Minister Mahat said the government was ready to facilitate assembling and manufacturing of automobiles in the country. He said the ministry was working to cut customs duty on auto parts.
“With changing lifestyles and increasing purchasing power of the people, the automobile market is expanding every year, which is positive sign for the economic growth, but we should focus on assembling and manufacturing vehicles within the country, rather than relying on imports. The government is ready to facilitate,” said Mahat.
The finance minister also stressed on the need of reforming public transportation and taxi service. “With an aim to encourage public transportation, the government has decided to provide discount on import of buses having more than 40 seats. The decision to add new taxis is also a step under the reform of taxi service,” he said.
He added the government spends Rs75 billion annually for the expansion and maintenance of roads. The country’s road network is estimated to be 60,000 km in over 73 districts.
Pashupati Murarka, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), said the auto dealers’ move to run the show during such an adverse situation was commendable. He urged the government and agitating forces to stop the strikes as it has been hampering the economy. “Some vehicle dealers have not been able to showcase their new models as the imports have been stranded at customs offices due to the Tarai band,” said Murarka.
NADA President Shekhar Golchha said the government’s perspective towards the automobile market was not positive. “Although
automobiles are a necessity for the people, the government categorises the products as cigarettes and liquor in terms of imposing tax,” he said.
Golchha said the higher tax rates curbed growth of the auto sector. “Only 6 percent people own two-wheelers and 0.6 percent have their own four-wheelers,” he said.
According to the association, the sector pays an annual revenue of Rs6 billion and provides employment to 1.6 million people.
According to event coordinator Shambhu Dahal, this year’s auto show is bigger than the previous editions in terms of the number of participating brands, hall design and exhibition area. The auto show occupies 9,000sqm area, against 8,000sqm last year. There are 20 more stalls compared to last year. The organiser has roped in actor Rajesh Hamal for the promotion of the event.
There are 14 four-wheeler brands including Tata, Hyundai, Maruti Suzuki, Volkswagen, Ford, Datsun, Daihatsu, Fiat, Honda, Kia, Nissan, Skoda, Toyota and Ssangyong. Similarly, a total of 15 two wheeler brands Bajaj, Hero, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, MV Agusta, Hero Electric, KTM, Mahindra, Royal Enfield, TVS, UM Bikes, Vespa, Benelli and Aprilla are participating in the expo.
Ashok Leyland, Bharat Benz and Escorts, among others, are participating under the heavy commercial vehicles segment. There are a dozen stalls of banks and financial institutions. The organisers expect 50,000 visitors and sales and bookings worth Rs1 billion during the show.