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Hulas Motors formally ceases production

- BHIM GHIMIRE, LILA BALLAV GHIMIRE, BIRATNAGAR
Hulas Motors formally ceases production

Jan 12, 2015-

Hulas Motors, the manufacturer of Sherpa, Mustang V2 and Mustang Max automobiles, announced Sunday that it was formally ceasing production. The company had stopped making these vehicles around three months ago.

Established in 1997, Hulas Motors is the only auto assembly plant in the country. Its Mustang Max hit the headlines in 2011 when the then Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai chose it as his official car over imported SUVs. Bhattarai said his choice was aimed at promoting domestic industry.

The auto maker said that it had been forced to pull down its shutters due to government policy. According to Managing Director Surendra Golchha, the company took the decision since the government had turned a deaf ear to

their demand to extend the deadline to install Euro III standard engines.

Two years ago, the government had ordered the company to upgrade to Euro III standard by mid-July 2014. “If the deadline had been extended by at least a year, we could have done it,” Golchha said.

With the closure of the Rs 400 million factory, 100 employees have become jobless. Hulas was a known name in Palpa, Baglung, Mustang, Surkhet, Dang and hilly regions.

“We had asked for one year’s time to upgrade to Euro III. However, since the government did not give us extra time, we had no option but to stop production,” Golchha said. The government seems to be promoting import based businesses rather than promoting entrepreneurship and job creation, he added.

The company said that even higher level government officials paid no attention to its request. Prafulla Chandra Das, chief engineer at Hulas Motors, said that the company was willing to upgrade and had even started technical initiation.

“Unfortunately, the engine we had introduced did not work as per our plans. And we could not move ahead from the testing phase,” Das said, adding that the company lacked adequate time to produce and test Euro III standard vehicles. The engine imported by the company from China proved to be not powerful enough for the country’s hilly terrains.

According to Golchha, the company has sold 1,400 vehicles in the Nepali market. The diesel engine vehicles produced by Hulas Motors was priced in the range of Rs 1.62 million to Rs 1.85 million. Its demand had been increasing in remote and hilly places and was popular for commercial operations.

Even though vehicle production has been stopped, the company will continue to manufacture spare parts and operate service centres.

Company turns to e-rickshaws

BIRATNAGAR: Hulas Motors has started assembling electric rickshaws named Hulas Vidyut from imported components. The auto maker produces two models of rickshaws, one to carry passengers and the other to carry cargo. The light vehicle is powered by a rechargeable battery and is low priced. “We have stopped making cars and have ventured into another product,” said Prafulla Chandra Das, chief engineer at Hulas Motors. “We will require fewer employees. The investment too will be less,” Das added. More than 90 percent of the parts will be imported, according to the company. (PR)

Published: 12-01-2015 07:50

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