Kuzu Nepal Pvt. Ltd., the authorized distributors of DFSK vehicles in Nepal, recently completed its one-year anniversary, celebrating the introduction of the DFSK brand in the Nepali market.
DFSK has gained considerable traction in the Nepali auto-market, offering premium SUVs at an amazing price. So far, DFSK Nepal has launched two premium-class vehicles in Nepal: DFSK Glory 580 and Dongfeng Rich New.
While the brand is relatively new, it is slowly building up to stand out among the competition.
We wanted to know more about their DFSK’s history and brand philosophy. So, we sat down for an talked with Mr. Ummeed Shrestha, Director at Kuzu Nepal Pvt. Ltd.
DFSK, a subsidiary brand of the world’s leading car company Dongfeng Motor Group, China (ranked 68th Fortune Global 500 Company), was founded in 2003. It is a global brand that exports to over 80 countries. This makes its good presence globally.
Dongfeng Motors has more signed foreign joint ventures than any other Chinese carmaker. These partnerships allow it to produce and sell a variety of foreign branded products like Peugeot, Honda, Nissan, Kia, Renault, and Citron.
DFSK has set up global R&D centers and smart platforms in China, United States, Germany, Japan, and Indonesia.
DFSK has attained the certification for EURO III, EURO IV, EURO V, EURO VI, and WVTA (Whole Vehicle Type Approval).
Resonating with New Customers
It has been established that DFSK is a new brand, at least in the Nepali territory.
“People used to value brand name a lot. However, these things have changed as customers are getting more self-aware. But it doesn’t mean that brand name amounts to nothing.
We are trying our best to build our brand recognition. So, we have already participated in several programs and events to improve brand awareness in Nepal. Nonetheless, we try to emphasize that DFSK isn’t a new brand that came into existence a few years ago.
The brand has a rich history along with a combined presence in more than 80 countries. Furthermore, it also has a strong online presence which has helped with new customers. So far, customers have given us positive feedback on their experience with our SUVs. The trust-building process is long, but it’s worth it.”, says Mr. Shrestha.
On a separate note, DFSK Nepal imports their SUVs from Indonesia rather than China. DFSK China builds its SUV for the left-hand drive which isn’t applicable for Nepal’s right-hand drive. Since Indonesia follows the same right-hand drive rule, DFSK Nepal imports from Indonesia instead.
The auto industry is highly competitive. For an auto brand to be successful, the company must offer something unique to differentiate among the competition. In this regard, DFSK Nepal provides a unique proposition to consumers.
“We wanted to take the ‘value-for-money’ approach. Since we are a relatively new company, the strategy matched well with what we were trying to achieve. We wanted to provide consumers premium SUVs with premium features but at a more affordable price. Moreover, the overall quality would match equally to competing for high brands without any compromises.”, says Mr. Ummeed Shrestha.
DFSK Nepal lives up to this promise, offering premium-class SUVs at a fraction of price, that too without any compromise.
“As an example, DFSK Nepal offers DFSK Glory 580 as its flagship SUV. It is a 7-seater luxury SUV, offering 5-stars safety features, Sunroof, 1.5L Turbo engine, and aggressive styling. While the price seems to be above Rs. 1 Crore, but DFSK Nepal offers it with a starting price of Rs. 67.5 Lakhs.”
While the price might seem high for an SUV, it is miles more affordable than SUVs of popular brands like Jeep, Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia among others. The pricing is just one of the many aspects where DFSK resounds as a good bargain.
Pandemic and Lockdown
The global pandemic and nation-wide lockdown have hurt every business. Unfortunately, the auto industry was among the many that took a heavy blow.
Talking about the effects of the lockdown, Mr. Shrestha says, “The series of lockdowns has affected our business. We were getting a few sales leading up to the infamous 3-months lockdown.
Unsurprisingly, the post-lockdown scenario didn’t do much to restore confidence in customers to buy new products. Understandably, people were more saving-oriented than before. However, we were still getting responses from interested customers outside of the valley. Again, most of them couldn’t approach us due to the travel restrictions.”
Mr. Ummeed Shrestha also points out that the lockdown has affected the current sales, as well as, the upcoming launch of new DFSK products in Nepal.
“We were planning to introduce DFSK EVs in Nepal. Then, the lockdown happened. Subsequently, the governments removed their tax support for EVs. So, we were forced to halt our plans. Likewise, we were in the process to launch the new DFSK Glory 560 in Nepal. Then, lockdown 2.0 happened, we were stopped on our track yet again.”
Improving for Future
The lockdown has inevitably affected DFSK’s short-term goals. However, the company is moving ahead with its long-term goals.
“Introducing DFSK to Nepali customers was a massive risk-taking. It was a new brand, relatively unknown to Nepali customers. We spent most of our time on building trust with customers. Thanks to that, things have changed.
More people are now aware of DFSK in Nepal. Additionally, the existing customers continue to motivate us and even recommend our product, which has encouraged us to go further. Perhaps, that’s why we sold out more than what we were initially expecting.”, adds Mr. Shrestha.
The success story of DFSK products in Nepal continues with both DFSK Glory 580 and Dongfeng Rich New pickup truck. In retrospect, DFSK Nepal has only launched these two products in Nepal, both were commercially successful.
“With this kind of positive reception, we wanted to think about our long-term goals. So, we are underway to build our second DFSK showroom in Naxal. Moreover, we are in talks to build new DFSK dealerships across Nepal.
But we aren’t in a hurry for that. Our main goal is to improve our after-sales customer service, on which we are heavily focused right now. Currently, we have our service center in Jwagal, Kupondole. We are looking to add more in the future to improve the DFSK customer experience.”