Here’s How I Ended up Buying a Used Car in Pakistan – A Customer’s Narrative

I am not at all a car aficionado, in fact, if you ask me I might be more interested in books, guns or food than cars. For me, a car is means of transportation to move from one place to another. It doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive or the latest shebang thingy. For me, a car that is well maintained and available at the right place and time of need is what matters most. Being a Government employeeI was never able to buy a brand new, “market ki gari.” In fact, if you look at my proud possessions over the years, names like Charade, Santro, and Liana stand out. A far cry from the average “market di gaddi.”

So after having sold my latest kept Liana in just three days, thanks to it being well maintained I was a careless person, or in other words “bekaar.” My total savings amounted to around Rs 2.3 million; I was now on the hunt for a new car. A trip to the venerated Toyota Motors in Islamabad revealed that they were over-booked and no new bookings were being done. Honda was no less sympathetic and told me that wait can escalate to at least 16 weeks after booking a car. With my options running low and coinciding with the launch of the sexy looking Suzuki Ciaz I paid Pak-Suzuki a visit and was on the verge of getting myself an automatic Ciaz when I was stopped in fact to the extent of being physical by a friend, forbidding me from buying the Ciaz, as it was newly launched, not a “market di gaddi” and above all a Suzuki.

Feeling like a depressed teenager in love I decided to look for the various City and Corolla ads in newspapers and Pakwheels in the hope of finding a brand new car. Sure enough, brand new cars were available but at a price, typically called an “ON” and pronounced “OWN” for whatever reasons. And to this day I am not sure who coined the term ON/OWN and why? So a curvy Toyota Corolla 1.3 GLI Auto transmission, in silver color was offered to me in Rs. 2.1 million! That’s about 170k above the standard price! A 1.3 Honda City would set me off by 1.85 million rupees a little over 100k that is. Buying a new car is one thing, but getting ripped off in broad daylight by purchasing an ON/OWN (Premium) wali car is gross, to say the least. It made no sense at all paying the extra money for buying a new car, and so I dropped the idea altogether.

Next up I fished for used Japanese options or the so-called JDM cars. More Pakwheeling, more visits to the car dealers and more discussions ensued and with each passing day, my “bekaari” increased more and more. A slightly used, genuine (pronounced; Jeni-on) Toyota Aqua, Hybrid was tried off in its entirety only to be dumped as I though the market was not right in Pakistan for Hybrid. I mean what if I want to get it repaired? Is there qualified mechanics around? Nay, I guess.

So what options did I have? Get a Ciaz; that was a big no and thus aptly dropped from my list. A new Corolla/City? Not available readily and requires a lot of more money. Get a used JDM: nay, who’s going to repair the Hybrid? And I’m not the type who likes to spend his weekend in “Sultan ka khoo” or even “Bilal Gunj” hunting for parts. That’s when my son-in-law suggested on getting a slightly used Honda Civic, as it suited my budget and getting it repaired was not like embarking on the quest of Olympus. It fits nicely in the picture of “market di gaddi,” is comfy, has airbags, stereo, cruise control and all the shebang including the much-wanted sunroof. And, so started the hunt for a slightly used Honda Civic for a middle-aged man; who was at his limits. I was lucky to find a Silver Honda Civic, slightly used, of course with the whole shebang in genuine read “jen-ione” condition.

The car is a looker and a keeper of course, but that’s not the point of the article. The point is about not having choices or in fact having limited options. They say new entrants are coming to the market well I hope so they come and they come real soon. They say that the new auto policy is friendlier to the new entrants, well more power to them. I am actually looking forward to a day where a buyer will have more choices than the Honda and Corolla nexus, when the consumer will be able to get better quality cars, when they will be able to buy the car of their choice without being ripped off by the ON/OWN mafias and when booking a car and getting one will not take at least six months. Till then, the likes of me will keep on enjoying used cars. Cheers!



Nauman Afzal

Nauman Afzal is a telecom engineer by profession, living in Rawalpindi. His interests are reading, writing, playing with guns and trying to loose a few extra pounds, always. Cars don't excite him much. In fact, they are merely a means of transportation for him.

Notable Replies

  1. Loved the way you penned your experience. Good luck with your Gaddi :slight_smile:

  2. Sir you have described the situation very well. Every Car Buyer

    Of course 1 main reason is high demand and less supply because we have 3 big Assemblers (Toyota - Honda - Suzuki) who are not expanding their capacity but instead always demanding favors from government in the form of Monopoly/Cartel. They do not spend money on Research and Development, (Although They have their production plants in Pakistan since decades but still they are just making Body-Chasis-seats-Spray Color and Assemble the Japanese imported Engines-GearBox-Suspension-AirBags-ABS Brakes-Lights and Gadgets etc. That's also a reason of expensive vehicles in Pakistan due to double-triple Taxes/Custom Duty on Parts.

    About the major issue "ON", of course 1 reason is high demand and less supply but another reason is Silent Investor. There are few people (not all ones) who just book a vehicle for Profit (just paying 2 Lakh to book 11 Lakh WagonR or pay 5 Lakh to book 20 Lakhs GLI or 10-12 Lakhs for Civic/BR-V) and then earning Profit on this in short period of time - Unfortunately mostly Dealers give more favors to such Investors instead of Real Buyers, which cause pain to Real Buyers in the form of Late Delivery.

    I hope that as soon as new variants appears in Pk markets and starts making production plus providing good after sale service + Parts Availability,

    Best of Luck for your New Ride (Allah Naseeb Karey)

  3. Nicely written. Hope you see more of your writing soon :slight_smile:

    Good luck with the car.

  4. Sir nouman, nice to see a lively review as usual. Sir hope u can drive upto parade lane to test your new car.

  5. A very well written article, specially market facts and consumer feeling are depicted very nicely.

    An out of context request: Can you suggest me good books for reading as I am very much delighted by the quality of the article.

    Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

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