The Demise of Diesel Cars In Pakistan

Diesels were quite a trend once. A decade or so ago, everyone was after a diesel car. Back in the school, I remember a friend going to Peshawar with his father for a diesel engine swap in his 1988 Toyota Corolla. Also, the infamous Corolla 2.0D Saloon was the hot favorite of everyone. Diesel was dirt cheap. I remember it being selling for Rs10/liter. A friend had a, what is known as ‘Indus shape,’ Corolla diesel. Six of us used to chip in and in Rs100 worth of diesel, we used to roam everywhere. 2012-13 was the last year when Toyota was offering diesel Corolla. But the sales had started to slow down few years before it dropped. The drop wasn’t a sudden step. It felt inevitable.

Also Read: Toyota To Kill Diesel Powered Cars In The Near Future

Diesel cars were celebrated and cherished. You might have seen those cheesy Toyota Corolla 2.0D print ads. But slowly the diesel started to lose it popularity. Makes one think what happened. Well here is what I think what happened. There were a few things that happened collectively, and some were gradual. But all led to the demise of diesel engine cars in Pakistan.


No more subsidy

First of all, the government was providing a huge subsidy on the diesel fuel. That is why the diesel was so cheap. The government took away all the subsidies on the diesel, and it suddenly shot up in price. The diesel was no more as economical as people thought it was. A diesel Corolla was known to do a north of 12 kilometers in a liter. Keeping the car running for half an hour with A/C running wasn’t an issue at all. Some claimed their Saloon to do as much as 15 km/l. And that too within the city driving. IMC claimed the car could do 800 km in a tank.

Fuel economy

The petrol cars started to become fuel economical. And I think Honda Civic and then later City has a lot to do with changing the perspective of a Pakistani auto consumer. Stories of pre-2000 Honda Civic Vti doing 15-16 km/l on long routes were common in those days. Also, petrol cars have always been much more refined compared to a mucky diesel car. Diesels make noise and vibrate and make smoke. Consumers just started to shift their preferences.

Diesel not so good

Our diesel is just so bad. By bad, I mean poor in quality. Only recently PSO was fined by OGRA for the poor quality of its diesel fuel. Some might remember it when imported Toyota Hilux Vigo with D4D engine started to pour in the Pakistani market; soon there were stories of the pickup blowing up its injectors due to the inferior diesel that we get in Pakistan. Those were expensive to replace. And when the government asked for Euro II compliance, there was no way an old 2C diesel in the Corolla was going to pass the test. Toyota Indus had to finally say goodbye to the diesel Corolla.


Fast and Furious much?!

Petrol cars are faster. It was like a revelation. I remember the days of Orkut where people used to debate furiously about how fast their Civic is. Personally, I think Honda Civic changed the Pakistani auto market in three ways. People realized a car could be fast. Let’s be honest diesels of that time weren’t that fast. Secondly, a petrol car can be fuel economical, and lastly, with its auto transmission, an auto car can be fun to drive. The 1.6 Gli Corolla was insanely fast, but not many realized it until Civic came into existence.

Honda Civic Prosmatic

These are just my two cents. Of course many would disagree. If you do, let us know in the comments section below. And if you like to add something more, please do so below. Let us know how you feel about diesel cars. Happy motoring!

Writing about cars and stuff.

  • Guest

    Indus had upgraded Corolla’s 2C with 2C-E, exact year I do not remember. 2C-E was more fuel efficient compared to 2C.

    Other diesel cars were Charade Diesel (CL10 engine) and Nissan Sunny B13 (CD17 engine), Nissan Sunny B14 (CD20 engine).

  • Danish Sohail

    I still have 2.od 2010 with 275000 on odometer and still going strong. It used to do about 18 with ac on highways and about 15 in cities. It’s a strong car and it still runs as it did when it was new. Diesel engines are good of you are interested in life long pay back from a car. Petrol engines can’t take this mush beating. Plus, it’s power machine. We took it everywhere from shogran till Kalam on icy roads and it did way better than its petrol counterpart.

  • schakil

    Very well written. Almost summed it up.

  • There were others. I recall Fiat Uno (1.7D engine) in cars and SUVs and minivans were plenty. Willys, Jeep Wrangler, Land Cruisers, Hilux, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi L300, Town Ace etc etc.

  • Guest

    Really…. My dad’s 2006 1.3 petrol corolla has 300,000+ kmon the odo and still the engine is smooth and has showed no signs of weakness… We havent done anything to it not an overhaul, nothing… its impressive considering we beat it a little sometimes (mostly me) and it still runs good… But we keep it maintained well…. On our SE Saloon 1.6 2004 we have 440,000 on the odo and just recently had to swap the engine… So i have to say diesel engines arent the only ones durable, infact i think petrol engines have a longer life. We used to own a 98 corolla 2.0D way back

  • Aref Ali

    I forgot to write about the Uno. Right after the article got published, I suddenly realized I forgot to write about it.

  • Aref Ali

    Hey thanks, man. Appreciate it.

  • Usman Haider Sheikh

    not matter how you drive, if you maintain it good it’ll last whether petrol or diesel. diesels in Pakistan don’t see proper maintenance or 2c has the potential to last more than 6 lac KM as it is NA and is never under load except when you don’t shift it properly. that said, I’ve seen a 2.0d with 4lac+ km which was opened for overhaul but the block, head and pistons were intact and just closed with new seals(not even ring change) and injection pump was tuned and it was good for another 2-3 lac km.