In January 2015, Pakistan’s automobile segment received a much-awaited addition in its 1300cc hatchback category. If you are confused about the reference, then I am hinting at the launch of FAW V2. Skeptic, hesitant and above all else cautious; these three words would probably describe the behavior of Pakistani consumers after V2’s launch in the country, which brings me point out the fact that although V2 was not an instant success, remarkably it has managed to turn (many) doubters into believers. And as it stands, Al-Haj FAW has not yet completely managed to woo Pakistani Consumers (regarding passenger vehicles). Why? Well, there are a couple of issues:
- Any new auto manufacturer cannot truly tap into the potential of a market until they start their production in and for a specific demographic area.
- In conjunction with the fact mentioned above, it is impossible to start fabricating all components for an automobile at a single location or plant. So, that’s where local auto-parts manufacturers step in. Without their support, this process is going to end up taxing on both finances and schedule of a company.
There have been confessions in the past from company officials that Al-Haj FAW is planning to assemble V2 in Pakistan. Company’s top officials have disclosed that the first batch of locally assembled V2 will be launched by the end of May-2017. Initially, many of us were expecting this launch back in 2016, but considering the lack of infrastructure, support from local vendors and a lack of any stable auto-policy might’ve played a role in slowing down company’s plans. Nonetheless, the company is geared up to launch the locally assembled V2′ in Pakistan, so here is what you need to know:
- There won’t be a significant price change with this car.
- The initial car will be launched with a manual transmission, which will be followed up with an automatic variant.
- The Company is (reportedly) focussing on improving both, interior & exteriors’ build quality.
- Officials haven’t spoken up on the feature list, but they are hinting at some surprises.
- The official launch date is yet to be announced, but the company higher-ups have remarked to expect it in May of this year.
Considering the fact that Al-Haj FAW is offering three years and 60,000 kilometres of warranty with its products (without any additional cost), as opposed to industry standard two years and 50,000 kilometres extended warranty by a majority of key automobile manufacturers in Pakistan; the company’s behaviour and an increased investment points towards a serious attitude. In simple words, Pakistan could gain its fourth major auto manufacturer sooner than many of industry experts had predicted.
Since the most recent auto-policy went into effect, things or dare I say the local automotive industry has gone haywire. With interested investors popping in left and right, the existing market players had to initiate their A-games to sustain their market share as well as maintain the good will of the public. Nonetheless, these initiatives are a welcome relief for both local businesses’ and consumers. Add the rapidly completing CPEC into this picture, and we have a catalyst awaiting to unleash growth in Pakistani automotive market.