Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Maintaining reputation is the challenge

Hulas Motors and its products were largely unknown until Prime Minister Baburam 
Bhattarai chose Mustang Maxx as his official vehicle.
On the one hand, the Prime Minister’s declaration gave the company the much-needed limelight (and free promotion) it was looking for years, and on the other hand, the company, which was contemplating closure in the face of unfavorable government policies and the onslaught unleashed on its market share by glitzy foreign cars, came across another challenge: Maintaining the reputation.
The factory located at Biratnagar-17 Press received warm popularity as Prime Minister Bhattarai took his oath of office. After he chose the vehicle from this facility, it received several queries, even from the general people.
“And it was only after that the people knew about our actual status,” said engineer Praphulla Chandra Das, general manager of the company. “Now we are upgrading our production—although just for the prestige.”
Hulas Motors Managing Director Surendra Golchha was earlier interested in producing farm equipment that could be used for multiple purposes—grain threshing, transport vehicle and pump set. Then, Hulas Agro Company of Hulas Organisations produced ‘Power Cart’.
Later, Golchha and Das drew a conclusion that the technology used for producing ‘Power Cart’ could be used for manufacturing vehicles. Then the company rolled out its first vehicle named ‘Hulas Sherpa’, equipped with a small 20D engine. 
Since then, the company has manufactured several other models, including Sherpa 46D, Sherpa e-drive, Mustang, Mustang V2 and Mustang Max. However, the factory’s infrastructure has barely changed. The company also tried its hand in manufacturing vehicles running on gas and battery, but failed generate income from its investment. A Hulas Motors vehicle is prepared assembling the engine imported from China, spare parts from India and the chassis, seats and body manufactured at the plant. 
“This is how motor manufacturing functions. Collecting parts from different markets, and assembling here,” Das said. “But these days, we are producing many necessary parts ourselves—almost 50 percent.”
The company is now preparing to give its Mustang Max a facelift—a fibre body. The company has begun preparations for the purpose.
Despite being the only vehicle manufacturer in the country, Hulas Motors has faces various problems. The Golchha Group has somehow managed to continue the company injecting funds from the income from its other subsidiaries.
“Mustang Maxx is our last model,” said Golchha. “We are now encouraged to move ahead.” He added that the company is not being operated for profits, but for maintaining Golchha Group’s prestige, and as per their policy to manufacture vehicles appropriate for the remote places where imported vehicles cannot reach.
“We do not feel shy to say that our vehicles make more noise and are less comfortable compared to imported ones. Their strengths are that that can be operated in remote places, can accommodate more passengers and are budget-friendly,” said Golchha. He, however, added that the company was preparing to upgrade Mustang Maxx, following a surge in demand. Golchha blamed the government’s apathy for the company’s failure to gain momentum. “In India, the government had once made it mandatory for all its officers to ride Ambassador cars only to save Hindustan Motors,” says Golcha. “We do not demand so much from our government, but just a little consideration.”
(Published at The Kathmandu Post Daily on 18th Jan 2012)

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