With the introduction of V2 in November 2014, FAW set foot into the already monopolized passenger car segment of Pakistan. Prior to V2’s launch, FAW had been selling heavy and light trucks, commercial vans and pick-ups and family vans for almost a decade in the Pakistani market.
Despite the negative perception towards new entrants and Chinese origins, the FAW V2 became an instant hit amongst the Pakistani consumers who were desperately looking for affordable and better alternatives of the locally assembled cars. Before November 2014, if you had a budget of 1.0 – 1.1 million, you only had 2 options that too were under-equipped to say the least.
The trend in Pakistan has been that people usually do not trust new entrants because in the past other entrants have packed up and left the country due to monopolistic nature of the vendor industry and without its support, no new entrant can sustain in the Pakistani market.
Even in those circumstances, FAW Pakistan is doing pretty good and is actually planning to setup an assembly line in Pakistan for its passenger cars. It is worth mentioning that FAW already assembles light trucks and commercial vehicles locally in the country.
“If things go according to the plan, we will start the assembly of V2 within the next 12 months,” said Farhan Hafiz, Deputy Director, Marketing Division at Al-Haj FAW Motors. “We are currently in talks with multiple vendors for localizing the parts of V2”, he added further.
According to Hafiz, the Pakistani market has potential and there are buyers who are willing to try different auto brands, given the brands meet certain quality standards. The new entrants must display forbearance as the Pakistani market takes time. It took years, even for the existing automakers to make their name in the market. With patience and determination, nothing is impossible. He added that it took them 8 years to enter the passenger car segment after carefully planning their strategy. They did not want to make the same mistake other automakers made by entering the market under-prepared.
He also said that they carefully evaluated their options years before even selecting the car for this market. Now all that years of planning is finally paying off in terms of sales numbers and time has come for them to finally start the production locally for the FAW V2.
He also told us that in addition to the 1.3 liter engine, the Pakistani assembled V2 will come with an option of a 1.0 liter engine as well. FAW Pakistan is currently exploring its options for the 1.0 liter engine as the V2 in China only comes with a 1.3 liter engine. An engine from Daihatsu is under serious considerations, the same engine which comes in the FAW Xiali – the Chinese version of Daihatsu Charade.
An hour spent with Farhan Hafiz made us believe the future of Pakistani auto industry is very promising and with huge plans like these, we are convinced FAW is here for the long haul. However, their long term success depends on the upcoming auto policy.
Do you think FAW will bring the much needed change in the auto industry or will it fell victim to the monopolistic practices of the Big 3? Let us know in the comments.