There was a time when Pakistan had all sorts of cars running on our roads; from American to Scandinavian to European. The 50s, 60s, and 70s were quite colorful years for both cars and the country as well. You had a wide variety of choice available at your disposal, and things were better.
Now, however, not so much. With the passage of time, American and European cars started to disappear and Japanese began to get traction. Now all we have are Japanese manufacturers. From mid-eighties to early-nineties, Japanese had started to tighten their vice on Pakistani auto sector. And by 1995, three companies that were actively making cars in Pakistan were Toyota Indus Motors, Honda Atlas Motors and Pak Suzuki. Hyundai and Kia tried to make it here but due to some, unfortunately, reasons, couldn’t survive and packed their bags and left.
Toyota has made a boatload of money here in Pakistan. Their Corolla cars sell like anything, and they can’t keep up with the demand. You have to wait for something like four months if you go out and book a car today. Honda Civic although not as popular as Corolla but has seen some success as well albeit last six months have not been as great as it was previously. But considering new Civic will be launched in Pakistan by the second half of this year, you can see some boost there as well.
The point I am trying to make here is that our auto market doesn’t have much to offer. The sales of locally made cars have been great. In fact, we sold 66pc more cars in the first six months of this fiscal year (15-16) when we compare the sales of cars in the first half of last fiscal year (14-15). From July 15 to December 15, 111720 units of cars were sold compared to July 14 to December 14. Things are going well for them, and it’s a great news for Pakistan’s economy as well.
But my beef with all of this is that our auto sector has become a two-horse race. And the horse named Toyota is going to win every single time. And this is true, especially in the sedan segment. No point talking about hatchbacks because it’s all Pak Suzuki and nothing can kill that thing. At least sedan market is a two horse race. Hatchbacks and smaller cars are a one ass race, and it’s gonna win no matter what. But thank heavens for the imports for reducing the impact of Suzuki although imports are not a good thing for Pakistani foreign reserves as such. So let’s just stick to sedans for now.
From the beginning, and by beginning I mean the early 1990s, Toyota had made sure to capture our industry. Honda got a little bit late and couldn’t jump Toyota. Honda Atlas started producing Civic cars in 1994-95. That was a great time for any automaker to set its business in Pakistan and take the biggest possible market chunk with them. The Europeans and Americans had lost interest after not so successful previous terms. Our auto sector was there for taking.
And that then hurt a common Pakistani auto consumer in a way that it limited the available options. Indus Motors ran their, what is also known as ‘Indus-shape Corolla’ for a decade or some. It’s assembling started at the start of the 1990s and remained in production till 2000-01. But thankfully Honda Atlas were not as lazy, and they had introduced three generations in that time (1995, 1996-2000, 2001-onwards).
But that opportunistic move by Japanese has made us bet on just two horses every single time a new model is released. There are no more competitors. Suzuki had its Margalla, but let us be honest, anyone who could buy a Corolla or Civic wasn’t gonna buy a Margalla. That Margalla morphed into Baleno, and it was the same case. Kia launched Spectra, but it was more close to Baleno than Civic or Corolla. Honda City is although can be categorized as a competitor to base model Corolla nowadays.
Also Read: Used Car Review – 2001 Suzuki Baleno
Otherwise, it has always been Corolla vs. Civic mostly or any other irrelevant car for the briefest moment. Corolla is like a star of a cheap B-grade film and all others just come to dance behind Corolla for an item song and are then replaced with new models with every generation.
Corolla never saw any actual competition in Pakistan. Toyota has ruled our auto sector. The horse that is going to win every single time is named Corolla. Others just come for a ride and then fade away in the dust.