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Made in Sri Lanka

An affordable car made here from Transmec

TRANSPORT is one of the key infrastructures in any developing country. In Sri Lanka many people depend on public transport.

Dr Lawrence Perera Chairman/CEO of Transmec Engineering

Today, public transport is in a huge mess and the situation has become worse when most of them cannot afford their own vehicle due to high prices.

Chairman/CEO of Transmec Engineering Ltd Dr Lawrence Perera thought it is important to manufacture an economical, reliable and small car in Sri Lanka, which many people can afford. This paved the way for the birth of the first Sri Lankan made car, named Micro.

Dr Perera said with his 30 years' experience as an automobile engineer, designing and engineering the car was not new to him. But the most difficult task was entering into commercial production, which needs funds.

Many banks were reluctant to provide financial assistance for the new project but Seylan Bank came forward to kick start the business.

In September 2003, Transmec Engineering Ltd stepped into the manufacturing process in their Polgahawela plant. At present the company manufactures the Micro privilege car, Micro mini van and their latest innovation Micro trend.

Our first innovation is the micro privilege car, which is the cheapest and smallest car in the market. This car can tolerate corrosion due to its highly composite body.

Pictures by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa

This composite body can minimise the damage in an accident. Micro privilege comes with an electro galvanised ladder chassis which other imported cars don't have, he said.

The Mini van consists of a modern engine and management system. Dual air-condition is one of the special features in the mini van. Micro Trend comes with features such as power steering, central locking, power shutters and power mirrors with excellent interior decoration.

Customers can opt for any colour. That is the unique feature of Micro Trend.

Micro Trend is available for Rs 600,000 less than a Japanese car with similar features. Compared with Indian cars, prices are similar but Micro Trend has got additional features.

They have provided nearly 300 vehicles for the market. The increase in the waiting list shows the demand for the Micro car.

One of the main features of the Micro car is that it is designed and manufactured in Sri Lanka.

Nearly 35 percent of Micro Trend has been manufactured in Sri Lanka. Some main components are imported, Dr Perera said. Dr Perera said that they have the capability to manufacture these components but the company needs to invest heavily on the manufacturing process.

Although Micro cars had several inquiries from Europe, USA and Bangladesh, the company is keen on catering to the local market.

'We need to serve the local market first after that we will consider about the expansion,' he said. When Dr Perera designed his first car, he had the fear of promoting the product, among people who appreciate imported products rather than local ones.

He is confident he can achieve this by offering unique feature for customer with the quality. They provide two years warranty for their latest car which other imported cars will not provide. He stressed the need to be strong enough to compete with the international market.

According to Dr Perera any Government should have consistency in their policies and it should always protect the local entrepreneur.

"Sri Lanka is a good place for investment. Any investor who expects to start a business should have his own vision, confidence and capable of bearing a certain amount of risk", he said. Micro car is a Rs 600 million project and they have already invested Rs 300 million and recruited nearly 300 employees.

They expect to expand and provide more job opportunities.



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Produced by Lake House Copyright 2003 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

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