"The company's sales of luxury car grew four times in the last five years."
The number of high-end car sales in Bangladesh has increased by approximately 17% annually in the last three years.
This is down to the growing number of wealthy people in Bangladesh, brought about by the country’s steady economic growth over the past decade.
Bangladesh has topped the list of countries that saw the quickest growth in the number of ultra-wealthy people between 2012 and 2017, according to a report of New York-based research firm Wealth-X.
The World Ultra Wealth Report 2018 showed the number of high net-worth individuals in Bangladesh rose 17.3% during the period.
This is highlighted by the increase in the number of millionaires in the country. In 1975, there were 47 millionaires. Today, there are over 30,000.
As a result, luxury vehicle brands such as BMW, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, Maserati and Mercedes-Benz are a common sight on the Dhaka roads.
In addition, high-end models of Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi are regularly seen in Bangladesh.
The best selling car in Bangladesh is the Toyota Corolla, but as wealth increases, more people are opting for top-end brands.
More people are also moving from reconditioned vehicles to buying brand new models. However, reconditioned cars are still common.
But as the wealth increases, people are opting for high-end reconditioned cars.
A luxury car and the wealth of a person go hand-in-hand. As there are more wealthy people in Bangladesh, more luxury cars are present on the roads.
There were less than 300 luxury car units sold in 2014, in comparison to 450 units sold in 2017.
According to the government, they consider vehicles with an engine capacity over 2,000cc to be luxury cars. However, some brands are producing luxury vehicles with smaller engine capacities.
The majority of high-end cars are bought by industrialists and the government. This is because leading car manufacturers are typically better made and safer than other brands.
The top officials of multinational companies and international organisations which are based in Bangladesh use luxury models during their daily life.
Many of these cars are imported and then sold through dealerships, like Executive Motors which is the sole distributor of BMW in Bangladesh.
Dewan Muhammad Sajid Afzal, director for operations at Executive Motors, said:
“The company’s sales of luxury car grew four times in the last five years on the back of higher economic growth.”
In 2017, 135 BMW units were sold. As of October 2018, over 80 units were sold.
Mr Afzal added: “As people became richer they shifted to luxury brands from reconditioned premium cars.”
BMW car prices start at Tk. 75 Lakh (£70,000) to Tk. 3.25 Crore (£304,000).
Mr Afzal said: “Executive Motors imports BMW cars ranging from 1,500cc to 2,000cc as the import duty is reasonable and within the purchasing power of customers.”
BMW is typically viewed as a luxury car make and is known for its elegance. It is no surprise that is highly sought after in Bangladesh.
While the number of luxury car brands sold in Bangladesh increases, other high-end vehicle models are dropping in sales.
Many regular people are not given the chance to purchase certain cars as they are only being sold to high-ranking officials.
Managing director Touhidul Islam said: “Pragati Industries, a state-owned automotive company that assembles Mitsubishi’s sport utility vehicle (SUV) Pajero, sold about 400 units in fiscal 2016-17, down from 630 units a year earlier.
“The government is the main buyer of Pragati and it has decided to allocate high-end cars only to senior secretaries and secretary-level officials.
“This is why our sales dropped.”
Pragati makes the 2,477cc Pajero, which sells for Tk. 92 Lakh (£86,000). Vehicles like the Pajero are sold to industrialists because comfort and safety are the main priority.
SUVs are primarily known for being comfortable and safe. Industrialists regularly visit their factories which are located outside of Dhaka city.
Mohammed Shahidul Islam, chairman of HNS Group, imports reconditioned and brand new high-end SUVs from Japan such as the Nissan Patrol and Toyota Land Cruiser.
He says that comfort and safety are important for those who are regularly in and out of Dhaka city.
Islam said: “That’s why they buy high-end cars.”
Islam’s company also benefitted from Bangladesh’s economic growth as there was a 10% growth in sales in the last three years.
According to Islam, people do not mind buying reconditioned luxury cars as they come in conditions which look almost brand new.
The added benefit of buying a reconditioned car is that they are significantly cheaper than their brand new counterpart.
For example, a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser will sell for Tk. 9 Crore (£845,000), whereas a reconditioned one costs Tk. 4 Crore (£375,000).
The increase in wealth among people in Bangladesh continues to grow and as a result, there is more demand for high-end car brands.
In a few years, more people driving the top car brands and some may even be driving luxurious supercars.