Cars That European Automakers Should Bring To End The Reign Of Suzuki Mehran

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Auto policy 2016-21 has created mixed reactions among people associated with automobiles. While the existing three assemblers of our auto industry have already labeled the policy as ‘devastating’, and later called it ‘balanced’ but people willing to see change and progress in the industry are calling it a ‘positive’ move by the government to make it a sector driven by competition.

Auto enthusiasts are happy because, after nearly three decades, they are about to see some variety in the automobile market. Buying options will see an increase and perhaps the quality of the products is going to be improved too. However, one key aspect missing in the auto policy is the safety and emission standards defined by our government. While we are encouraging more players to come and develop automobiles in our country, there must be a check and balance on the safety and emissions standards being offered, an NHTSA or NTSB like body should be formed to oversee and enforce when necessary, the compliance related matters in the industry.

Pakistan still applies the Euro-II standards which already became obsolete some 16 years ago in the year 2000, and since 2014, the Euro-VI standard is already implemented in international markets. Pakistan also is yet to adopt safety standards while crash testing remains to be conducted on vehicles assembled here. However, these improvements can be made step by step, and since the policy caters to bringing more investment into the country, the next thing the government should consider is to define and implement the safety and emission standards of Pakistan.

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The government is keen to let the European manufacturers enter our market, having given incentives to Japanese players for more than three decades, even after which they are unable to come out of their infancy. It’s not the first time that European cars will run on Pakistani roads, long ago it was European and American brands that use to rule our roads but since the mid-60s, the Japanese started to take over and completely dominated our automobile market during the 70s.

Volkswagen Beetle was the last of the European cars to be available in our market till 1974. Fiat, Morris, Peugeot, Renault and other European cars were once available here. Now expecting a comeback, our country, thirsty for some quality cars, may experience the European cars once again after a gap of nearly 50 years.

Although it is too early to say what cars will be introduced to our market, we have compiled a few possible options based on how they suit our socioeconomic and ergonomics conditions.

Volkswagen

VW is known for quality vehicles even though the recent dieselgate scandal has tarnished its image and the range for countries like ours, wasn’t affected. Moreover, you can’t expect VW to offer cars which can replace Suzuki Mehran but certainly, the vehicles do carry a unique flair with them.

VW Polo

The 1.2-liter VW Polo, the comes with either a 5-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic gearbox starts from INR 5.38 lac in India (PKR 8.3 lac). A diesel version is also available in India. This small hatchback can be placed in the market segment of Cultus, which is positioned below the Swift in our market and should attract a good number of buyers since now one wants to buy the Cultus.

 

Renault

Reportedly, a delegation from Renault has met with our government officials in 2015 and showed interest in exploring Pakistani Automobile market. Renault cars were also available in Pakistan in the olden days. However, it would be interesting to see how they make their comeback.

Renault Kwid

The Kwid is a mini SUV with an 800cc petrol engine and a price tag starting from just INR 2.6 lac (PKR 4 lac). If priced as low as it is India, or even at the price Mehran is sold here (about 7 lac rupees), it has the potential to sweep the low budget car market in Pakistan and effectively bring an end to the reign of Suzuki Mehran.

 

Renault Pulse

Comes with a 1.2-Liter engine, it can compete with the likes of VW Polo. Prices start from INR 5.08 lac (PKR 7.9 lac). A diesel version is also available for sale in India. However the diesel prices are on a high here, and local diesel cars are already out of production it’s unlikely for us to get diesel cars.

 

Renault Scala

This 1.5-Liter sedan should be able to compete with Honda City Aspire, thus providing an additional buying option for the Pakistani auto consumer. Its prices start from INR 7.94 lac (PKR 12.3 lac).

Fiat

In 2015, Italian Ambassador to Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo gave some hope to Pakistani consumers saying, “Fiat is viewing Pakistan as the next possible investment destination”. As the policy has now been announced Fiat is also among the companies that may establish its base in Pakistan.

Fiat Punto Pure

The 1.2 liter Punto Pure with a claimed mileage of 15 kmpl is priced from just INR 4.49 lac (PKR 6.9 lac) making it pretty good option. Even if you add various factors affecting price, it can hop up to next level.

Fiat Linea

The 1.4-liter sedan, Linea is priced from just INR 7 lac which converts to PKR 10.9 lac only. Given the prices of these cars in neighboring country, no wonder they will be even more successful here if priced similarly since there is not much competition here in our market.

The list can go on, but it will be good to wait and see what options we might get. The government has played its role, its finally creating possibilities for new entrants in our market. However, we do hope to see the policy shaping into a reality and looking forward to more companies establishing their base here. The government should also ensure true ‘transfer of technology,’ as for more than 30 years, Pakistan is unable to develop an engine on its own.

What’s now important is that the people step up and support the change. These companies can be successful with the support of people, keeping resale aside for a while, and by giving these companies a chance, it will definitely work towards attracting an even larger number of automobile manufacturers here and possibly, jump-starting our own.

 

Usman Ansari

An automotive enthusiast associated with the animation industry since 15 years having worked with leading organizations and production facilities across Pakistan.

  • SyMas

    The VW Polo in India falls in the premium hatchback category as the Maruti Suzuki Swift in India, it’s a very high quality car and in terms of build quality and body strength is much better, than the Swift, however sales are around a decent 2000-2500 units in a month on average across India compared to more than 10000 units of the Swift that are moved off the showroom floors every month. This is because, VW is perceived as expensive and is expensive actually, the dealer and service network of Maruti extends to every nook and corner of the country compared to presence in only the bigger urban centres by VW and VW mostly catering to a more premium band of customers. Maruti is the choice for both decently well of and the wealthy “aam aadmi” Both the Swift and the Polo are excellent cars. Maruti even has more cars in the same segment such as the newly launched premium hatchback Baleno with only a marginal price difference and sold through premium NEXA outlets. The Margalla in Pakistan was replaced by the Baleno and then the Liana. In India it went like this – Maruti 1000 – Maruti Suzuki Esteem – Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire. Maruti Suzuki Baleno was launched separately, sold alongide and placed higher in the line up, Maruti Suzuki Baleno – Maruti Suzuki SX4 – Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. Now the Baleno is back again, but as a hatchback. The Kwid is not a mini SUV! :D, Pulse is essentialy a rebadged Nissan Micra(both assembled and sold in India, Micra is exported too). Scala is a rebadged Nissan Sunny. Hyundai in India has some really good cars, the Hyundai Grand i10, Elite i20 and Hyundai Eon(Mehran level but way superior) are cars that Pakistan can do nicely with! The Punto is an enthusiasts darling in India, not many are sold here due to poor marketing and management by Fiat that often leave customers out in the lurch, but it is still a delight to drive and a beauty to watch.

  • Sheikh Rasheed

    All in Vein,,,,,,,,,,,,, Ganjas of our country are themselves monopolistic…. I have no hope that New Auto policy will introduce new brands in Pakistan . Pakistan is 25 years lagging behind than India, either in sports , in educations, in technology and society. Pakistan is near to enter an era of Deficit, Pakistanis are under a huge debt of IMF , the loan taken by politicians to build towers in UAE in the name of Loan issued to Pakistan. We cannot expect anything good in Pakistan. People here are hopeless. There is only one way out, if International car makers use the un exploit Engineers and Non Utilized RAW materials available in Pakistan , set up their own power houses , and set up their mechanical manufacturing plants , and use Islamic State of Pakistan as a land mark to Build here and Export to the globe…………………..then new automakers can sustain else they will DIE AT THEIR OWN……. Our Bureaucrats ask for Toyota and Honda Companies in Pakistan for new cars as a bribe…. I think Pakistan is going to be merged under USA by 2020…….

  • Imran Baloch

    pls give a second look for proof reading

  • وجاہت علی

    lets cross the fingers!!!

  • Guest

    If the companies want to be successful, they will have to put aside their greed. Newcomers know they cannot have a country wide 3S network, therefore they should train the roadside mechanics and introduce an internet shopping system for their spare parts.

    If the companies become greedy that people only come to their dealership for repair (which ain’t gonna happen), their products would fail. Examples of previous failures like Liana CNG is there, whereas Corolla CNG (2011) did not fail since Indus welcomed mechanics from market, and trained them. Simialrly Proton motors, Nexus auto etc. all wanted people to come their workshop for repair, but they were not able to open sufficient number of workshops, therefore those brands became “aik mohallay ki garian”. People outside that “mohalla” never dared to buy because spares and mechanics were not available.

    Companies should focus on selling lots of cheap spares and making it easy for the customer. It is funny how you can buy an iPhone on facebook social marketing but cannot buy spare parts from the company through part number and courier shipping. For that, you have to take leave from the office and visit the dealership. Which technically means the companies don’t want to sell, actually.

  • Muhammad Yasir

    Quoted from Article , referring to Renault Kwid :
    “it has the potential to sweep the low budget car market in Pakistan”

    we DO NOT HAVE A LOW BUDGET CAR MARKET IN PAKISTAN !
    MEHRAN OCCUPIES MID-RANGE MARKET due to its price (7 FREAKING lacs)

    Kwid , if it comes here , will be the VERY FIRST COMPETITOR in the Budget Category of cars in Pakistan if priced sanely !

  • Sajjad Ashraf

    Dmnn 4 Lac for a brand new car, you can’t even get used shitty mehran in that price.

  • Azam Haral

    I am surprised to hear this…. it seems unbelievable…. I am planning to buy a budget car, should i wait for KWID/Pulse to buy one…. How long it may take we would be able to see actual cars in the market???

  • adnan syed

    You miss the vw up which is 1000cc hatch back nd should compete with cultus, wagon r nd Jdm 1000cc cars.

  • Lazy Sapper

    Probably 2 or 3 years.

  • Sultan Kiani

    Renault KwiD is NOT a Mini SUV (technically a crossover) but if you google it, you’ll find that many people say that thing because it actually looks like a “small crossover”!

  • Sultan Kiani

    Azam Haral! I’d suggest you to go ahead and buy your new car if you don’t have one because what we discuss and share on Pakwheels Blog (and other forums) is like شیخ چلی کے منصوبے!

    Honestly speaking I don’t see any new car maker particularly from EU is entering Pakistan anytime soon. Why? Because N-League Govt is going to end in 2018, new govt, new policies. Setting up a car manufacturing plant is NOT like Burger King setting up restaurants.

    However, every cloud has a silver lining, so I hope that Nissan may introduce Go series cars and Hyundai may resumes production which was ceased years ago. And hopefully they don’t produce Santro again!

  • Sultan Kiani

    Not even then, (Na)Pak Suzuki will keep ruling!

  • Sultan Kiani

    Renault is NOT going to enter Pakistan. Even if they do, Kwid will be sold at 750K, and if you find Kwid at a price less than 650K, I will send you a 12” Pizza with 2.5 Liter Pepsi as a GIFT!

    (The offer is only for Muhammad Yasir :P)

  • Muhammad Yasir

    not gonna argue , with THAT much Pizza and a TON of Pepsi on offer 😀

  • Sultan Kiani

    Don’t worry, whenever it comes, please comment on this post and you’ll get what I promise 🙂

  • Muhammad Yasir

    😀

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