Nepalis buy 37 automobiles and 538 two-wheelers daily, the Department of Transport Management said. As per the figures released by the department, 13,560 cars, jeeps and vans and 196,383 motorcycles and scooters were registered in the country in the fiscal year 2014-15.
Bagmati zone is the biggest market for four-wheelers with 9,945 out of the 13,560 automobiles being registered here. Bagmati zone, where the country’s Capital is located, accounts for 73 percent of the automobile market. Narayani and Gandaki zones come next in line.
“Gone are the days when automobiles were considered to be a luxury. Today, automobiles have become a necessity,” said Saurav Jyoti, immediate past president of the Nepal Automobile Dealers’ Association. “As the need of people to commute has increased, demand for vehicles has increased too.”
According to Jyoti, sales of passenger cars and two-wheelers have been driven by increase remittance inflow, easy availability of loans from banks and financial institutions and expansion of road connectivity.
“Vehicle sales slowed for almost two months after the April 25 earthquake. Sales would have been higher had there been no disaster of such a magnitude,” Jyoti said. The automobile market has been affected as people are engaged in rebuilding their homes and they have accorded greater priority to buying daily essentials.
Even though sales were hit, fiscal 2014-15 was an extraordinary year for automobile dealers. Vehicle registrations recorded an all-time high with 239,583 vehicles registered in the last fiscal year. The figure represents a 21 percent growth over the preceding year. In 2013-14, the number of vehicles registered was 198,343.
However, the two-wheeler scenario has not been so rosy. Though Bagmati zone still stands at the top of the list in terms of the number of registrations of two-wheelers, the growth rate has been gradually decreasing. Bagmati accounts for 28 percent of the two-wheeler market. Five years ago, the figure was 50 percent. Narayani, Koshi and Lumbini zones are the top markets for two-wheelers after from Bagmati.
“While Kathmandu and the rest of the country used to share the two-wheeler market on a 60:40 ratio, the scenario has changed drastically,” Jyoti said. The main reason behind the increase in motorcycle sales elsewhere in the country is the expansion of the road network. However, he said that sales were not increasing as fast as they would like.
Meanwhile, Chiranjibi Shah, deputy general manager at HH Bajaj, the sole authorized distributor of Bajaj two-wheelers in Nepal, said that the market for two-wheelers had been witnessing a constant rise for the past few years. “The growth in the two-wheeler segment has been propelled by an increase in scooter sales,” he said.
According to him, scooter sales in 2014-15 jumped around 11 percent. The average annual growth rate of motorcycles stands at 5 percent.
“If you talk about Bajaj, we have been seeing a significant rise in sales from mid-July following a series of new launches,” Shah said. The Indian auto maker had introduced the Pulsar RS 200, AS 150 and AS 200 motorcycles in Nepal in the first week of August.