Can Sri Lanka’s Vega make the trip?…. a few years ago BBCs Eric Adams asked. As every upstart supercar maker discovers soon enough, it’s a long road from daydream to reality.
We’ve been seeing Vega making waves for over half a decade to become Sri Lanka’s first car. We would rather call it as such, all that we built so far are not from the roots as this. It’s not easy building a car, especially a one in this complexity, needing 100 million lines of codes in its management software.
Let’s look back.
Started from Upali Mazda we only see assemblies including Micro who only wanted to take advantage of local taxation. There were few exceptions including Kapla but cannot agree to call it cars!
We blame the politicians for killing the project of Visionary Mr. Wijewardena, but similar projects (not necessarily automotive) died even without any political barriers. But the same politicians paved way for MICRO Privilege, although it wasn’t sustainable. Not only, but some may also remember the infamous brand EMPEROR, the so-called Made in Sri Lanka car costing the country billions of tax money.
So…it’s not the politics that blocked Sri Lanka from becoming a car-producing nation. Then what, is it the policies?
The global scenario.
Australia shut its car production years ago including once-blooming Holden and Toyota. The UK was in the brim until India become the savior, but still not out of the red. Saab of Sweden died but Volvo was saved by China.
There are many sad endings, including some European and Japanese giants who ended up in buyouts. Collaborations too were common in the industry highlighting one prime ingredient for sustainability and success in a global economy.
Economies of Scale.
There were few factors contributing to being a car-producing nation. Cost-effective labor, cost of energy, component manufacturing, and landmass. But a couple of factors stood out during the past couple of decades over others.
That is Sufficient home market (China & India) & Per capita income (USA, Japan) giving an edge over others.
Germany conquered the premium segment…and with Volkswagen with the massive European market and their alliances with the rest of Europe. This again proves the topmost factor as EOS.
Korea’s two brands had to merge to sustain and are now successful globally with the help of EOS.
EOS played a major role in taking advantage of global sourcing and economics, atop all other reasons to be a car-making country!
Sri Lanka, the Wonder of Asia!
Do we have any of the above advantages? The answer is a big NO, and it’s not the corruption or policies politics that hampered the development of the country.
So no wonder a few infamous brands hoodwinked us in the guise of Made in Sri Lanka.
VEGA ~ will it go the extra mile?
There is no way the Founders of Vega Dr. Harsha Subasinghe and Dr. Beshan Kulapala not knowing the facts. And they are developing a truly Sri Lankan car from the drawing board!
EV rev is not exposed or estimated the budgets but sure it’ll be a multi-million dollar project.
VEGA is different, attracts a niche and it will be beyond the price tag of Million Dollars apiece. Still, can Vega overcome all these barriers and achieve commercial success?
We’ve got a case study
RIMAC of Croatia has become the tech service provider to Aston Martin, Koenigsegg, and Pininfarina. Not only, Porsche now owns 10% of Rimac and they just signed up with Hyundai for performance EVs.
Vega is a project by local geniuses from software development to mechatronics. No wonder that they acquired a wealth of knowledge and trade expertise en-route. And the holding company, CodeGen built a global business already.
Vega team would have mastered Architecture, Body dynamics, Ergonomics, Aerodynamics, Battery chemistry, Hardware, Firmware, and Software in delivering its performance, safety, and more.
Now where to? With the wealth of knowledge developed over the years, the opportunity presents to follow the route of REMAC, and VEGA must have built the bridge already with China and India, open to Sri Lanka over Europe.
But what about the car, which inspired youngsters to elderly. And moreover not only the local EV fraternity, even petrolheads.
For sure VEGA will build the prototype but will it ever hit the intended market, the Hypercars or rather EV exotics?
One should not forget all Hypercar makers will be with their EV versions within the next couple of years. Additionally over 10 unconventional pure EV hypercars will be debuting soon, the ones like below.
CodeGen, the parent of VEGA delivered results and they are an exemplary team with passion. But passion and talent alone won’t deliver results, we recall the failure of the Toyota F1 team, being the most funded ever.
By now Team VEGA would have well achieved the target of Hyperlearning, but the car!
Let’s revert to the founder/CEO of REMAC which has filled its order books for 150 units of C_Two’s priced at 2.3M$ a piece ( 400M LKR). But we need to know that REMAC makes more money by selling its technology and components.
“Of course I’m very passionate about helping other manufacturers build their cars. But if the shareholders decide it doesn’t make sense to produce our own cars, then we’ll have to find another CEO.”
…..and another thing in common with both CEOs Matte Remac and Harsha Subasinghe, they both are Vegetarians!
Update 13.01.2020: This article was written in early 2019 and VEGA has made great progress since then!
Today, she is off to Geneva Motor Show, flying the Sri Lankan flag high in the global Automotive Arena!