March 28, 2017 10:30 PM NPT
KATHMANDU, Mar 28: Not many companies have completed a half century of operations in Nepal. The private sector, which found its role in economic development post-1990, was at a very nascent stage 50 year ago. However, late Vijay Gajananda Vaidya, who introduced Toyota in Nepal, was a visionary.
He brought a revolution of sorts in mobility in Nepal by bringing the Japanese brand in Nepal in the 1960s. Though United Traders Syndicate (UTS) - the authorized distributor of Toyota in Nepal, signed agreement with the Japanese automaker in 1967, the first Toyota car - a Corona saloon -- was sold in Nepal in 1969.
According to Suraj Vaidya, the president of Vaidya's Organization of Industries and Trading Houses (VOITH) - the parent company of UTS, the first Corolla taxi was introduced in Nepal in 1973. Nepal's first automobile showroom was opened by UTS at Lazimpat in the same year, he added.
The 12-seater Hiace was put into public service in around 2000. The vehicle has been serving different long-distance destinations even today, Vaidya said, adding that UTS started providing Corolla and Prado to the government secretaries and members of parliament from 1996 onwards. UTS also started supplying Land Cruiser series to different development agencies from the same year.
UTS is the sole distributor of Toyota vehicles and genuine parts for Nepal. It introduced hybrid Prius in 2012. “That was the next level of revolution in a country that does not have a long history of automobile,” Vaidya said.
According to Vaidya, Toyota has also contributed to the society. "We built bus stands between Airport and Maitighar in 1995 itself," he said.
However, these stands are nowhere to be seen these days as they were dismantled during road expansion. "We also organized Toyota Women Motor Rally in 2007 and 2010," he said, adding that they are also involved in the field of women empowerment.