When you sell a car worth well over a million rupees, it is but only a courtesy to the buyers to include basic pre-modern stuff such as the power windows, SRS Airbag, and ABS. These latter two items constitute the most basic of the (safety) features available in cars. Especially when you’re selling econoboxes which have no purpose, no soul and no energy to offer, except to take the passenger from point A to point B, you should make up through other means rather than just rely on the fact that there is no one but us in the market; we are the supreme leader in hatchbacks; we will win.
Just 20 units of Wagon R were produced in December 2014 down from 714 produced previously in July the same year, Suzuki is controlling their inventory because obviously, the previously produced stock is becoming a hard sell. 20 units speak a lot about how Pakistanis buy vehicles these days. Times have changed for the good now. I think the buyers have taken the tagline of Wagon R “Be Practical” to heart and have literally become practical in their buying decisions.
“We believe the sharp decline in Wagon R sales is the result of the increased import of small used cars in the country,” Pak Suzuki spokesperson said firmly. “Our plans, investments have all been disrupted by the import of used cars.
“We have been requesting the government to control the import of used cars. Otherwise, the local industry will continue to feel the brunt,” he said.
There is a product life of a car, which is why a generation of vehicle never lives beyond 7-8 years during which time, companies are undertaking various design, research and development activities to produce the next best seller in the mass produced vehicle segment, except Pak Suzuki, which does not. It is just an assembler, which assembles vehicles and not actually produce them, however, things are changing as Pak Suzuki races to catch up with the new trend within the buyers, who now make informed decisions and buy the imported Toyota Vitz, Daihatsu Mira, Toyota Passo, et cetera instead of the tin cans produced by Pak Suzuki.
Toyota Indus Motors has also announced that it wants the piece of this category, they have repositioned their only car Corolla and will phase out the base-model-still-no-power-window XLi to make room for the Vios and Vitz in Pakistan. It’s happening, and the people and informed buyers are behind it.
Even the Honda Civic has taken a hit. Its production and sale are also decreasing gradually from 755 units produced and 631 units sold in July 2013 to just 292 produced and 173 sold in July 2014. This new 9th generation Honda Civic hasn’t been a successful model and Honda even went with an emergency facelift just one year after the current generation was introduced.
So here’s hoping that Pakistani automakers would get ahead of the game of imported cars and introduce them here before the importers bring it. And as far as we remember, car importers also brought the Wagon R in Pakistan before Pak Suzuki, it didn’t even fare so well at the time.