What makes Suzuki Wagon R top the list of hatchbacks in Pakistan?

suzuki wagon r pakwheels ft

Pakistan has an ever-growing automobile industry. However, there is still a very little choice between locally manufactured cars. Pakistan has a huge demand for hatchbacks due to the affordability factor among people. Pak Suzuki introduced Wagon R back in 2014 for the first time in Pakistan. However, the new entrant did not receive much appreciation in the market initially. The VX variant was discontinued very early. Currently, Suzuki Wagon R comes in two variants, i.e. VXR and VXL (top of the line). Wagon R comes with a fuel efficient K10B engine. After almost four years of its production, Pak Suzuki finally decided to introduce some changes in 2018. A lot was expected from the new Wagon R, but it came out to be a “minor upgrade” which disappointed a lot of people. The only changes made by the manufacturer are:

  • Chrome tail garnish
  • 13” allow rims

There is still a lot of room for improvement in the car. But one thing that doesn’t bother Pak Suzuki is the number of units they are selling every passing month of the year. The numbers are increasing significantly, and it’s probably the top-selling car today.Suzuki-Wagon-R-(3)

Suzuki-Wagon-R-(4)

2011 Maruti_Suzuki Wagon R

What makes Wagon R top selling among hatchbacks? Who is its competitor in the market? We will find out in this article.

Suzuki Cultus

One of the competitors of Wagon R belongs to its own Suzuki family. The 2nd generation of Suzuki Cultus was launched in 2017. It comes with the same 1.0-litre K10B engine. It has a stylish outlook totally revamped from the last generation. Its aerodynamic design results in less friction against air and gives the car a strong sleek look. Wagon R is known as “tall boy” shape car due to its height. When compared to Wagon R, top of the line Cultus has ABS brakes, SRS Airbags, steering adjustment and power windows (all four) as prominent additional features. The black interior with silver lining gives the cabin a refreshing look. Both the cars share almost same cabin space. The VXL versions of Cultus and Suzuki Wagon R come with an ex-factory price tag of PKR 1,421,000 and PKR 1,194,000 respectively whereas the Suzuki Cultus Auto Gear Shift is priced at PKR 1,528,000 . Pak Suzuki has launched the automatic variant of Cultus as well.

Suzuki Cultus AGS 2018 PakWheels

FAW V2

FAW is the first Chinese state-owned automobile company to assemble cars locally in Pakistan. Faw V2 comes with a 1300 cc engine. The Chinese hatchback is considered as a competitor of Suzuki Wagon R in terms of price tag. Currently, it is assembled in a single VCT-i variant. It has a nice looking exterior, but the interior consists of a lot of plastic material which might give a relatively cheap look or feel at first sight. However, V2 is still equipped with more features than Wagon R regarding safety and comfort. It comes with SRS Airbags, electronically controlled windows, electronic power steering, high mounted brake light, ABS + EBD brakes and alloy rims. The ex-factory price of FAW V2 VCT-i is PKR 1,179,000.

Driven-FAW-V2-Pakwheels-Exterior (4)

Imported Hatchbacks

Over the past few years, imported cars from Japan have filled the void that local auto manufacturers have created in the result of long delivery times of the vehicle. People opt for imported cars not only because they are readily available in the market, but they also provide almost every modern-day features. Due to delivery periods of around 5-6 months, investors have jumped in to earn black money in the shape of a premium on cars. When we talk about their competition with the locally manufactured hatchbacks, following popular names come to our mind with a 660 cc engine capacity:

Without any doubt, these cars are equipped with unmatchable features as compared to local cars. A comparison with locally manufactured Suzuki Wagon R would not be a justice by any means. But imported cars are the only other choice in the market. These cars are equipped with multiple SRS airbags and adjustable steering wheel, various cup holders and console box, armrests and automatic climate control, push start, eco-mode, adjustable headrest and rearview camera, high mounted brake lamp and fog lights. The absence of these features in local cars makes imported hatchbacks first choice under the same price bracket. The build quality, safety features, comfort and outlook, outperform the local cars.

honda-n-wgn-custom

daihatsu-mira

Seventh Generation Suzuki Alto

daihatsu-move-custom-2012-9nissan_dayz_rider

 

The question arises here that why Wagon R with least number of features still leads the way? What makes it the first choice of people?

People in Pakistan desire to keep a car which is easy to maintain almost everywhere. Maintenance cost is another factor that floats in the mind of everyone. Buying a car is not a problem, but the amount of money you are going to spend on it over the time you keep it is a real headache. Moreover, Pak Suzuki has 3S dealership available in almost all big cities where car maintenance can be carried out without any hassle. When it comes to choosing between Suzuki Cultus and Suzuki Wagon R, most of the people go for Wagon R because of the difference in price. With the same fuel average, build quality and maintenance cost people sacrifice the looks and few additional features in favour of Wagon R.

Faw V2 on the other hand, due to its 1300cc engine gives less fuel average as compared to Wagon R. Moreover, the build quality from the Chinese manufacturer as compared to Suzuki is arguably not competitive. The trust level in Suzuki also adds to the equation.

faw v2

Keeping in view all the salient features of imported hatchbacks, their maintenance cost is not cheap by any means. One cannot find its repair from every mechanic around the city. The spare parts are also much expensive as compared to locally manufactured Suzuki Wagon R. Not many people have the understanding of their auction sheets, so many dealers duplicate or hide them from customers. There are now even cases of auction sheet tempering. The odometer of most of the imported cars is tempered. Most of the cars imported in Pakistan are accidental and are refurbished in the local workshops. All of these factors add up to the reduced trust factor among the people when buying an imported car. Although they are equipped with modern day features but the majority of customers tend to go for a brand new car they can trust. Also, one cannot get the desired amount of money when looking to sell these imported cars.

suzuki-wagonr-front-view

Suzuki_Wagon-R-Interior

Ever since the ride-hailing companies like Careem and Uber have jumped into the Pakistani market, it has boosted the sales of Suzuki Wagon R significantly. Over 20,000 units of Wagon R have been sold over the last one year which makes around 75% YoY growth of the car. People have invested in ride-hailing companies with a number of cars. Over half of the popularity of Wagon R comes with this investment. A huge demand in the market has made its resale significantly high. People can keep this car for a couple of years and sell it in almost the same money they bought it for. Although the car is still overpriced but considering the current scenario of the automobile industry, it has made its inroads.

Verdict:

Summarizing the above discussion, Suzuki Wagon R comes out to be top selling and popular hatchback because of:

  • Comparatively low maintenance cost
  • Readily available spare parts
  • High resale value
  • Desired fuel economy
  • Ride-hailing companies
  • Affordable price tag
  • Available 3S dealership
  • Trust factor in the market

If you see any other reason that makes it a top choice among hatchbacks, do mention in the comments section below.


Ahmad Shehryar

Electrical engineer. Passionate about cars. Photographer.

Notable Replies

  1. Only reason is No competition and and alternative option, rest is all nonsense.

    Pak Suzuki Wagon R Sold in 2017: 22592

    Whereas people imported following units in 2017.

    Toyota Vitz – 8,680 units
    Daihatsu Mira – 6,091 units
    Toyota Aqua – 7,123 units
    Suzuki Every – 5,088 units
    Daihatsu Hijet – 3,367 units
    Suzuki Alto – 4,158 units
    Suzuki WagonR – 3,574 units

    Above figure clearly shows people like used, old, without known history JDM cars over shit produced by local manufacturers specially Pak Suzuki.

    Wagon R is selling due to Careem/Uber business as large number of them are on lease from banks, and we all know that its easier to get a brand new car with minimum down payment instead of old model imported car, for which you have to pay high down payment.

  2. Why is there always a hint by pakwheels team that they are being paid by Suzuki? :thinking:

  3. I am not a fan of what Suzuki offer in its automobiles. This article only reveals why is it so and the reason behind that is lack of competition which should be addressed. Thanks!

  4. Buying Mehran over Wagon R would be even more worst decision!

  5. WOW! Where do I begin. Ok:

    1. Popularity: I live in Mardan. The order of the day here is resale. Resale is king. But even in an environment like this, the WagonR, is a rare sight. If what this article claims is true, the WagonR should be doing good here; but it is not. Even here the most preferred small cars are, imported WagonR, imported Alto, Nissan Dayz and Daihatsu Move ( Both very liked by the people) and the imported minivans such as the Every etc.
      The sales numbers for the Local WagonR might be good among the local cars but, over all, the people prefer the imported stuff.
      Its almost 1.26-1.3 mil for the VXL (all included; price, advance tax, shipping, own and registration). For around 1.2 mil you can get a very sorted imported car such as the MRWagon, WagonR, Dayz, Move, N WGN etc. Each much better than the local WagonR, with better safety equipment and options.

    2. FAW V2: "but the interior consists of a lot of plastic material which might give a relatively cheap look or feel at first sight". what are you on about friend? What does the interior of the local WagonR have? Leather and Metal? No, its the exact same cheap plastic. Granted, the design of the interior of the V2 is very dated and looks out of place by today's standards but that's just about it. I have sat in both and the quality of the WagonR is nothing to write home about. Its just as plastic as the V2. The colors are better compared to the V2, I'll give it that.
      If you read online or go to the FAW Wikipedia page, you will find out that they are JV partners with Toyota in china. They make Toyota cars, they got the designs/specs for the old 1.3 Vitz engine from Toyota which they make for the V2. It is a licensed product and not a cheap copy that most of the local car assembler propaganda will have you believe. As far as I know they have improved the engine as well. Where the vitz engine was around 86hp, the V2 is aroud 91hp, same power as the Suzuki swift.

    3. Maintenance Cost: I have a friend who recently had to replace the rear hatch of his 2009 Passo. He got the whole hatch with the wiper and motor, in white (the right color for him) for less than 4K. Anyone with parts knowledge will tell you, the parts for the imported cars are cheaper or the same cost as the local Suzuki stuff.
      But here-in, lies the hypocrisy. The article claims that the local cars have cheaper parts. If you buy from the 3S Dealerships, no, they don't. The dealer parts are prohibitively expensive. The cheaper parts are the "do number" "china mall" parts. Suzuki plays the cheap maintenance card well. It is good to mention on the marketing stuff, because, people get almost all their parts from the market and they tend to think of that when they read the marketing; but what it fails to mention is that if you go to a Suzuki dealer and you suggest fitting the cheaper parts from the open market, they quickly point out how those parts are dangerous and will damage the car. Only buy from dealers. even if realistically there is no difference between the two. Realistically there is not much of a difference in the cost of parts for me to justify wasting money on the local cars.
      And seriously, the mechanics can work on the engines of the local stuff with all the modern tech but they can't work on the imported cars. That claim is wrong on so many levels. Its simply more baseless propaganda from the local assemblers who are now on the back foot. If there is a complicated issue that the "cheeta" (mehran wala) mechanic cannot understand, local or imported WagonR, he won't be able to fix it. Its as simple as that.

    4. Risk in Buying Imported: Yes there is a risk that you might get a bum deal. But looking at the import numbers and the way the imported cars are selling, the risk is acceptable to the people. Besides, after so many years of buying imported, the people are getting wise to all the tricks.

    5. Buying Local New: Here I have seen yet another aspect of hypocrisy from the local assemblers. They always say to buy their stuff because its "japani", but if you buy the imported cars from Japan, they say the quality is not up to par and it will fail and is too fragile. What does that mean? Original Japani is not Japani enough for them?
      Buying new is the safe route to take. But I would recommend to change our ways and take a good long, honest look at the V2 and other Chinese or European cars for that matter. Articles such as these help convince me even more to give the China and/or European brands their fair chance. With the influx of new European and Chinese brands under the new auto policy, we must change our ways and part ways with the local assemblers' propaganda. Change is always difficult but it always opens new opportunities and new ways of doing things. Resales goes up when demand go up. The only way the other brands will see their fair share of good resale is for us to change our buying mentality.

    So sorry to disappoint you my friend but the local WagonR is not at the top of the spectrum, it more towards the a**-end of the spectrum.

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