The sales of locally produced cars in last financial year broke all previous records and went into double digits. The sales score rose to 17pc (sedans and hatchbacks) in FY2015-16 compared to FY2014-15. That is no doubt a great news. But similarly, the imports of used cars in these twelve months have seen some astonishing rise as well.
According to recently released numbers, around 53,600 units of used cars were imported in twelve months of FY2015-16. Whereas only 32,100 units of used car were imported in FY2014-15. That is an increase of almost 67pc compared to the figure of imported cars in FY2014-15. According to an estimate, Pakistani auto consumers spent roughly Rs75bn on imported vehicles. The brunt Pakistani exchequer is bearing in the result of these imports is colossal.
Senior Vice Chairman Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) Mashood Ali Khan said in a statement to the press that it’s high time that Pakistan starts to focus and invest in its auto industry. He said we are a nation of 200 million where 55pc of the population is under the age of 30 years. The money that was spent on the imports could have been enough to establish two Honda Atlas-sized plants in Pakistan. The imports of used cars are not going to provide job opportunities to the skilled and unskilled youth of Pakistan. He remarked,
“Import of used cars can never serve this objective,”
But on the other hand, the importers of used cars have their side of the story saying that current Pakistani automakers are not doing their job well enough. They provide limited options in high prices and the quality of products in never up to the standard.
That, although, can be argued as the reality, but the fact that imports hurt our federal reserves cannot be denied. The import of used cars was a short-term fix, but now that fix has turned into a trouble of its own kind. The new auto policy only recently has been approved. It is crucial for our auto industry and for Pakistan on the whole that the policy works in exact the way it was intended at the launch.