Around 55,000 vehicles (used and new) have been imported to Pakistan in the first ten months of the current fiscal year (FY15-16), according to the Chairman All Pakistan Motor Dealers Association H.M. Shahzad. According to the official numbers, around 40,000 cars were imported in all of the 2014-15 fiscal year. The figures were published in a BR report yesterday. The increase of imports amount to around 25pc, and there are still two months missing in the total data.
And when we talk about numbers of locally manufactured vehicles sold in this time frame, around 151,134 units were sold in the whole FY15 whereas around 152,229 units of cars have been sold in the first ten months of the FY16. It is evident that the number of locally assembled cars is far more than the imported cars. But what should be kept in mind is that if we look at the percentage increase, used cars are being imported at a greater rate than the local cars are being sold. Imported used car sales are more than a quarter of local sales. According to the report, in FY14-15, the monthly average of the used cars was 3,600 unit, and it jumped to 5,000 cars in the current fiscal year. On the other hand, the monthly average of local car sales ranges from 5000 to 8000 units (‘across different types of cars’). The imported used car market is not doubt upping its game.
Among the total number of imported used cars, 70pc of them are small cars (1000cc or below). Japanese kei cars (small cars with 660cc engines) have been in quite a demand lately. Especially during the time when fuel prices were high, the existing automakers had no substitute to compete with such fuel efficient cars. And considering these are automatic vehicles, such cars are a great city commuter where you spend most of your time either stuck in traffic, or in a start-stop traffic. Also, these small cars are available in a handful of variety. From Suzuki to Mazda, to Mitsubishi, you will find cars from almost every Japanese automaker. And these imported vehicles are filled with all sorts of features. Some of such features not available even in our top of the line Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla cars. Considering all this, no wonder the imported cars have gotten so much traction in our market.
All of this worries the local carmakers because they have potentially lost all these new customers. All those auto consumers that could have gone for either new or used locally made car went for a foreign vehicle. Even buying a used locally made car means staying with the circle. But our existing automakers must realize that simply blaming the government for letting the imports in is not going to solve anything. They failed to provide better vehicles and were adamant selling whatever decade’s old vehicles they had. Cars like Daihatsu Cuore and 1000cc Suzuki Alto died because their respective assemblers couldn’t come up with Euro2 compliant engines for the cars in 2012. Both cars had engines that their parent companies had stopped making. The only vehicle under 999cc category was Suzuki Mehran, which refused to die even then. And Mehran is, unfortunately, no match for any of the used imported vehicles.
But considering the government is contemplating to increase the fixed duties on imported vehicles, there is a chance that a common Pakistani auto consumer will once again be at the mercy of local auto assemblers.