The Cars We Actually Need in Pakistan

In the last few months, we have witnessed remarkable developments in Pakistan’s auto sector. Now that we have the latest 10th generation Honda Civic, Dewan Motors has recently introduced an “affordable” luxury crossover BMW X1 and Indus Motors Company is all set to launch Hilux Revo pickup truck which would be even “cheaper” than BMW X1. Pakistani auto enthusiasts are also aware of new auto policy and the new players expressing interest in introducing their automobiles in Pakistan. European brands like Renault, Fiat, Volkswagen and Peugeot are negotiating with Pakistani Government; Hyundai may also make a comeback and Nissan is going to launch Datsun Go series cars very soon. A senior PakWheels blogger has already spotted two Datsun Go test mules on local roads.

So if everything goes well, we will soon be able to see some new cars other than the Big Threes; Suzuki, Toyota and Honda. But the question is, which types of cars do we actually need in Pakistan? What if the new automakers launch top of the line vehicles? How many Pakistanis can afford to buy a car with a price tag exceeding 2 million rupees?


Fortunately, we have some facts and figures available, thanks to PakWheels Auto Industry Survey 2015-16. You can see that 32% of Pakistanis spend between 0.5 million to 1 million rupees for purchasing a car. The second largest group (20%) spends between 1 million to 1.5 million followed by those 17%, who can spend up to 2 million Rupees for a new ride. And we cannot ignore the low income citizens who can only spend less than 0.5 million Rupees, their share is 12%. Long story short, more than 80% of Pakistanis cannot afford to pay beyond 2 million Rupees for a four wheeler.

Hence the outcomes would be disastrous if any new player brings something super expensive like Suzuki Kizashi and tries to compete in market. It is expected to see more than 3 new players coming to Pakistan. They make too many cars with different names, so I’ve decided to suggest the types of cars we actually need in Pakistan.

a1.hb-basicBasic hatchback: Annual savings of an average Pakistani is 200,000 Rupees or less. Who likes to spend 4 years of hard-earned savings on an outdated car like Suzuki Mehran? But there’s no alternative available in our market. Renault Kwid and Datsun Redi Go are the perfect cars for Pakistani market. These cars are stylish, fuel efficient, have high ground clearance (180cm) and cost approx. 600,000 Rupees in India.


Since Dewan Motors are also thinking about resuming car manufacturing, I’d suggest Hyundai Eon to compete with Mehran and i10 to give WagonR a tough time.
a2.mpv7-seater MPV: The size of an average Pakistani family is more than 6 persons per household. Suzuki Bolan, FAW XPV and Sirius are the only few 7-seater cars in Pakistan where the price of first two is under 1 million rupees.


2.Datsun-Go-plus-Datsun Go+ could become the only 7-seater budget MPV in Pakistan and it can capture good market share if they sell it for 800,000 rupees or less.
a3.crossoverCrossover: Small size compact SUVs are getting popular all over the world. Crossovers are the best type of vehicles for Pakistani road conditions, where potholes and speed bumps are common everywhere. Most of the JDM cars with low ground-clearance can’t cross the bumps and potholes without hitting underbody but crossovers can.



This is the reason behind Honda Vezel’s success, which costs more than 3 million Rupees. But if they start manufacturing a crossover in Pakistan, in my opinion, it will cost around 1.5 to 2 million Rupees to own a brand new crossover. Datsun Go Cross and Renault Kwid Climb are really nice entry-level crossovers available in India. Renault Duster is an affordable small SUV, which also comes with 4WD option. Renault should launch it either with 1.2 Turbo petrol engine or 1.5 DCi diesel engine or both. Why? Because the other 1.6 petrol variant is 1589cc and our Excise & Taxation Department doesn’t like bigger engines!


Premium hatchback: We’ve already discussed basic low-budget hatchback cars. Some people want more power, comfort and safety but they don’t like sedans, because either they have parking space issue or simply they love hatchbacks. Right now we have only 2 cars Suzuki Swift and FAW V2 in this category. I feel Swift is outdated, it’s expensive and doesn’t fit well in “Premium Category” while V2 is not very stylish and it is a “made in China” car.


European automakers can take advantage and fill this category by introducing their best hatchback cars. VW Polo and Fiat Punto are already available in India and have decent sales numbers. It’s good to name Peugeot because they have also expressed interested in setting up a car assembling plant in Pakistan. Peugeot 208 may not become the best-selling car here, but I’m sure that a good number of people would buy it.


Peugeot 208 Pop Art 1.0 is the base model, which costs around 169,900 Rand in South Africa (1.28 million Rupees). It has 998cc petrol engine, which performs well if you don’t drive it crazy. I don’t favor Peugeot’s famous BlueHDi engine because it’s “too good” for our low-quality diesel fuel.


Budget off-road 4×4: Last time when I went to Muzaffarabad, I noticed the importance and acute shortage of real off-road SUVs. Car enthusiasts own SUVs to enjoy off-roading as a hobby but the native people of hilly areas need 4×4 SUV for their survival. They can’t go to the main city without 4WD SUV; they call it “JEEP”. An affordable Suzuki SJ-410 Potohar was replaced by Jimny but the new 4×4 jeep costs around 2.3 million Rupees. Toyota Hilux 4×4 is even more expensive, a common man of remote areas can’t afford any brand new off-road car in Pakistan. Their only hope is military auctioned Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 series and Willy Jeeps. Although a 4WD crossover can run on some off-road tracks but they can’t perform in extreme terrains. I was curious to find which real off-road SUV could be manufactured in Pakistan and sold at a price tag of 2 million or less. But after hours of research, I realized that these machines are not cheap.


Land Rover Defender has been discontinued while JEEP Wrangler Unlimited is very expensive when it’s sold outside USA. So the only option to fill this category is either to rely on Chinese replica jeeps or learn some lesson from our neighbour country and start making local off-road SUVs like Force Gurkha. I believe that we can do it even better than India!


Entry level Sedan: Where some people buy an expensive hatchback, others wish if they can own a low-budget sedan. And just like 7-Seater MPV, we have no such car available in Pakistan, not even in JDM imports! Kia classic is a good example of this and they sold a good number of cars until Dewan Motors left the manufacturing business in Pakistan. Datsun On-Do would do good job if the price remains under 900,000 Rupees.



Renault Scala is another sedan but it costs around 1.25 million PKR and could compete with Honda City. It may not beat City but it would definitely make a big dent in Atlas Honda’s sales!


Mid-Size Commercial Pickup TruckHyundai Shehzore (global name: Porter) was the best-selling mid-sized commercial pickup truck enjoying monopoly until Dewan Motors went into trouble. Now only Chinese trucks like Master and JAC are available in this category. This latest model of Porter pickup should be manufactured in Pakistan if Hyundai makes a comeback.

Once we start manufacturing these affordable modern cars, I’m pretty sure that JDM import will fall by 80%. Only JDM lovers will keep importing Japanese cars who want them, not an average Pakistani, who just needs an affordable decent ride. I tried my best to understand and analyse the needs of Pakistani citizens. That’s why I didn’t name a full-size sedan or pickup truck, a sports coupe or a 2-seater micro mini car. If you still think that I’ve missed something or my suggestions are not reasonable, please leave your opinion in comments. I’d love to read and respond to all kinds of comments and criticism!

Sultan Kiani

I’m a car enthusiast and Toyota Land Cruiser J-70 is my dream car. I like talking about all kind of vehicles including small hatchbacks, pickup trucks, classics, green-tech engines, buses and commercial trucks. I advocate “Mass Transit for Islamabad-Rawalpindi” for greener tomorrow. You can call me an “environmentalist” because I have a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science!

  • Bitter_truth

    Here comes a new “chorou” Rumors on the Go!

  • Guest

    Has this article been published before too?

    For the people in the hills, Pajero Pinin is an option if we make it locally. Mitsubishi stopped manufacturing them. It is a small SUV with full 4WD gearing.

  • ali hasan

    FAW V2 is way too expensive for what it is..

  • ali hasan

    what we need is a hatch back with a price point below 1million after all documentationregistration and dealer commissions etc.. seriously the market is way too saturated and people consider the brands other than the big three to be unworthy of spending the money on. JDM provides us with options but again it comes to the prices..

  • Sanjay Natarajan

    Renault Kwid and Datsun Redi-Go doesn’t cost 600,000 INR in India.
    Datsun Redi-Go costs around 396,000 INR on-road for the top-end variant and the Renault Kwid costs around 428,000 INR after all the taxes, insurance and registration.

  • Azeem Waqar

    I don’t know that why in Pakistan cars are like buying mountain……outside Pakistan their is no value of common cars you can buy zero meter Toyota Camry Fully loaded bellow 30 lacks PKR while in Pakistan Toyota Camry is above 1 crore..same in US you can buy Fully loaded Honda Civic at 22 lacs while in Pakistan low specification Civic is at 31 lac……..When will things become better in Pakistan?????????????????????????????????????//

  • Aqeel Zia Nayyer

    dewan is not bringing back hyundai!

  • abdullah

    Choru GANG…….

  • Smokingaces

    Convert those prices to PKR please!

  • Sanjay Natarajan

    Datsun Redi-Go would cost somewhere around 630,000 PKR and Renault Kwid would cost 675000 PKR. Both are top-trim on-road prices (approx) of their respective models.

  • Zulfiqar Ali Soomro

    When our currency will 🙂

  • Azeem Waqar

    But Still it big difference between 25 lacs and 105 lacs……in US camry is near 23K-25K US dollars which when converted to pak rupess become 24-26 lacs

  • Hassan Mansoor

    Renault is a good addition and has complete range to compete with the big three, i don’t know whether they are going to bundle in the Datsun brand. If they do it will be great then we will have a Datsun Ready Go and Renault Kwid in smaller segment. We should hope for entry of VW in Pakistan as Golf is the best car in its class in the Mini Car segment in the World.

  • Zulfiqar Ali Soomro

    mostly taxes coupled with a weak currency. I don’t know how much a Pakistani car is localized here in terms of materials used. If anybody can educate me on that it would be great

  • Azeem Waqar

    here problem is of govt taxes and Big 3 monopoly

  • Jayy Khan

    in Pakistan its mostly taxes that increases the price of the car.

  • Sultan Kiani

    I have already spotted at least 4 VW Golfs in Islamabad. None of them was a “test mule” but individually imported from UK. One of the cars had red CD license plate means belongs to some embassy.

    Ready Go is not going to be the first car by Datsun, they’re all set to launch Go followed by GO + MPV

  • Sultan Kiani

    Yeps, but Al-haaj motors may brings it back!

  • Sultan Kiani

    In US, you can buy a brand new Camry around 3.0 Million PKR and 5 – 10 years old Camry is dirt cheap in North America.

    The American Honda Civic is more powerful, packed with the latest features and still 900K cheaper than PKDM Civic. Now imagain how much would it cost if Atlas Honda introduce the same Civic with all American or European features! (It may touch 5.0 Million)

    Actually Pakistani Auto industry is so much screwed up, we can’t do anything but wait & hope for the best!

  • Sultan Kiani

    I mentioned the price in PKR, please check it again.

  • Sultan Kiani

    Even if they introduce the base model at a price of 650K, it could change the game. Take Yamaha as a good example, Honda is still no. 1 selling motorbike but spotting a Yamaha on busy roads isn’t that difficult.

  • Sultan Kiani

    JDM are not NEW but USED cars with no warranty and official after sales service. Below 1 Million there is big potential, we can create hundreds of thousands of job plus tons of revenue.
    Policy makers should stop smoking pots and start taking sensible steps to boom national economy!

  • Sultan Kiani

    Sure thing and it doesn’t even look great.

  • Sultan Kiani

    Yes, the article has been published in forums before.
    Well, I didn’t know about this small SUV, thanks for mentioning. Pinin is not that great off-roading machine, we can still manufacture it but is it a good idea to make an obsolete model?

    Another possibility is to set up JEEP Wrangler Assembly plant in Gawader but it’s “Height of Day-Dreaming”. If they do, you might be able to buy a base model of Wrangler in price of Toyota Hilux!

  • Sultan Kiani

    Now Chinese Replicas are also coming as CPEC is almost complete.

  • Hassan Mansoor

    That exactly what I am saying, Honda’s No 1 but other players are breathing up its neck in the bike segment. We need competition so that the big three compete on price and quality… the ultimate winner will be the customer.

  • Ketika Ranjan

    Sedans are always on the top of list and we got some fair price when selling it as second hand car.