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KARACHI: Regal Automobile Industries Limited (RAIL), country’s third-largest bike assembler, has set up an assembly plant in Lahore with an investment over Rs800 million to produce light commercial vehicles and vans from April 2018.

The company has signed a technical collaboration agreement with China’s DFSK Group to assemble vehicles under the name Prince.

The Ministry of Industries (MoI) earlier in February had awarded a manufacturing license to RAIL.

“We have initially planned to assemble 5,000 units per annum on a single shift basis and the production capacity will be doubled by using second shift in view of soaring demand for commercial vehicles in the wake of CPEC,” Chairman RAIL Sohail Usman told Dawn on Wednesday.

He said the new investment in four wheelers will create 800-1,000 direct and indirect jobs. “Our hiring will be completed by March end,” he added.

Chiarman RAIL said that the company has already started importing completely knocked down (CKD) kits from China for assembly of vehicles from next month.

He said, “We have already introduced these vehicles in completely built up (CBU) form some eight months back, on which we have received positive consumer response as well.”

“We are the fifth investors in the green field segment under new Auto Development Policy 2016-21 after United Motors, Dewan Mushtaq, Kia by Lucky Group and Hyundai by Nishat Group,” he said, adding that Dewan Farooqui Motors have been awarded brown field status.

RAIL has been active in assembling Road Prince bikes since 2005.

Sale of these bikes soared to 207,244 units in 2016-17, as compared to 167,271 units in 2015-16. Road Prince three wheeler sales climbed to 8,938 units in 2016-17 from 1,059 units in 2015-16.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2018