Reyad Hasnain, Managing Director, SUBARU Bangladesh

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SUBARU enters Bangladesh market

SUBARU Bangladesh has recently introduced four brand new car models. Which segment of the market are you targeting?
SUBARU is focusing on targeting a brand new segment with a price range of 30 lacs plus. That basically makes up about 10% of the overall car market share.

REL motors have been trying to introduce SUBARU to Bangladesh since 2014, after a recent change in import duty slab by the government, your company finally went ahead with its plan. Is there any specific reason behind this persistence?
The automobile industry is growing very fast in Bangladesh. Within the last 4 to 5 years, it’s almost tripled. So, we (SUBARU) definitely believe in the potential of this market and want to introduce our world-class vehicle with premium safety features. There is no reason for a world-class brand like SUBARU not having its presence in Bangladesh.

Since 2012, the industry has been growing at 8% on average. Did that play a decisive role in this portfolio?
The automotive industry in Bangladesh has grown exponentially. This, along with the growth of per capita income has encouraged us to bring SUBARU to Bangladesh. Also, the purchase behavior of up and coming consumers have played a vital role in our decision.

Climate change is a very important topic for our country, how important is carbon efficiency to SUBARU?
It is very important for us. The key lies with just how much power the engine can generate from a minimum quantity of fuel, and how that power can be transmitted to the wheels without any loss through the transmission system. SUBARU continues to fine-tune the technology behind the engine and transmission with the belief that they can be engineered to deliver the level of drivability that SUBARU strives for, without having a detrimental impact on the environment.

SUBARU is a relatively new name to Bangladeshi consumers, how much do you think REL’s brand value will help to gain initial trust from them?
Well, we are living in a global era now. With the government’s initiative of “Digital Bangladesh’, our digital literacy rate is going up at a much faster rate. Our target consumers now are very educated and they do a good amount of research on google and youtube before making their purchase decisions. Besides, nowadays people travel a lot too, and since SUBARU has a strong presence in all the APEC countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore; it is easier for us to introduce the brand locally. So, overall I am not banking too much on the REL’s brand value, rather focusing on SUBARU’s global brand image to gain the initial momentum in Bangladesh.

We have seen so many successful MDs and CEOs having an engineering background. Why are engineers so good at leadership? Does being an engineer help you at your job?
Many people think that in order to become a leader in business, you have to have some kind of business-focused educational background. But the truth is leaders of many companies now share one thing in common: they were all educated in or began their careers in some form of engineering discipline. Engineers are by nature methodical, analytical and detail-oriented people. They are trained to understand the minute details of a machine, a program or a system. Engineers understand the importance of precision and attention to detail, because the slightest miscalculation, mistake or instance of negligence can trigger a chain-reaction of problems and costly delays. As you can see, all of these traits and responsibilities are a perfect fit for engineering leaders to become business leaders as well. I am also no exception to other engineering leaders.

You are serving your country with your insight and knowledge; do you ever feel like you are making sacrifices?
I had the opportunity to stay and work in the U.S after my graduation. Now I can move to Australia any time and work there since I am a permanent resident of Australia. But I always wanted to stay here in Bangladesh and do something meaningful. It never occurred to me that I am making a sacrifice here, rather I am very proud of what I have achieved so far in Bangladesh.

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