CKD and CBU: Understanding the Difference in the Automotive Industry


In the automotive industry, two common terms you may come across are Completely Knocked Down (CKD) and Completely Built Up (CBU). These terms refer to different manufacturing and assembly processes for vehicles. In this article, we will explore the differences between CKD and CBU, their significance in the automotive industry, and how they impact the market.

  1. CKD (Completely Knocked Down):

CKD refers to a manufacturing process where vehicles are shipped in parts and assembled in the destination country. These parts include the engine, chassis, body panels, and other major components. The assembly is typically done by local manufacturers or authorized dealers. CKD allows for localization, job creation, and reduced import costs, as it avoids hefty import taxes on fully assembled vehicles.

  1. CBU (Completely Built Up):

CBU, on the other hand, refers to vehicles that are fully assembled and imported from the manufacturing country. These vehicles are ready to be sold and require no additional assembly or manufacturing in the destination country. CBUs are often associated with premium or luxury vehicles that may have specialized manufacturing processes or limited production volumes.

Key Differences:

a) Localization and Customization: CKD allows for localization of production, as local manufacturers can adapt the vehicles to meet local market requirements, such as changing specifications or adding features. CBU vehicles, on the other hand, may have limited customization options due to their fully assembled nature.

b) Cost and Pricing: CKD vehicles tend to have lower import costs and can be priced more competitively in the local market. CBU vehicles, on the contrary, may attract higher import duties and taxes, leading to higher prices for consumers.

c) Job Creation and Technology Transfer: CKD assembly plants often create jobs and transfer manufacturing technology to the destination country, contributing to the local economy and skill development. CBU imports may have limited impact on job creation or technology transfer.

Significance in the Automotive Industry:

The choice between CKD and CBU has significant implications for automotive manufacturers, dealers, and consumers:

a) Market Penetration: CKD allows manufacturers to enter new markets more easily by adapting their vehicles to local preferences and avoiding high import costs. It enables them to establish a local presence and compete with domestic manufacturers.

b) Cost and Affordability: CKD vehicles, being assembled locally, can offer cost advantages, making them more affordable for consumers. This can broaden the customer base and increase market share.

c) Product Range and Availability: CBU vehicles often include specialized models or variants that may not be available in the local market otherwise. They provide consumers with a wider range of options and access to international brands and features.


Understanding the difference between CKD and CBU is crucial in comprehending the dynamics of the automotive industry. CKD enables localization, job creation, and cost advantages, while CBU offers access to specialized models and international brands. The choice between CKD and CBU depends on factors such as market conditions, regulations, production capabilities, and consumer demand. By considering these factors, automotive manufacturers can strategize their production and assembly processes to effectively meet market needs.