We have been getting a lot of requests from our readers to cover small Chinese cars that are comparable to the cheapest option in Pakistan, which is the Suzuki Mehran, concerning pricing and specs. While there are a few new options introduced by our auto assemblers recently such as the Fortuner and Toyota Prius, Kizashi by Suzuki and the HRV by Honda, the vehicle is way out of the reach of a typical buyer and cater to a very limited sector of consumers.
Even if you plan to get a used imported JDM you still have to spend a million to buy one. Unfortunately, Mehran remains the only option of a buyer with a limited budget and considering price at which it is available, it’s not at all justified to go for one. People are now realizing the worth of their money, and it’s understandable why they don’t want to spend some 750 thousand rupees on a 26-year-old car that used to cost just 90 thousand rupees when it was new!
Due to this reason, Chinese cars always give people hope that they can get some modern yet cheaper vehicles in a decent amount of money. We have emphasized it several times that the Chinese cars being made today are miles ahead in quality compared to the ones that appeared in our market in the previous decade. The Chinese vehicles are getting better year after year and have started to become recognized globally.
A lot of 660cc Japanese Kei cars are being imported to our country recently; however, don’t expect that stuff from China. You won’t find such smaller engines in Chinese vehicles because China wants to lessen its dependence on conventional fuel and encourage the development of Hybrids and Electric Vehicles instead. There are several Chinese companies that manufacture EVs and Hybrids in China, more than any country of the world and the number of available options can be counted in dozens.
It won’t make sense to publish those cars here since our infrastructure is far from accommodating Electric Vehicles, so let’s leave it there. We have shortlisted a few options that are available for less than 1 million PKR (after straight conversion). Import duties play an important role in pricing the vehicles, but they can be in a similar range if assembled here. We look forward to our government to encourage automakers including the Chinese, to operate here and generate competition in the automobile sector.
The BYD F0 is a copy of Toyota Aygo and comes with a 1.0-liter engine that produces 67hp and is available in manual as well as AMT (Automated Manual Transmission). BYD claims that the fuel consumption of F0 is around 22 km per liter. Price stars from 37,900 yuan (5.9 lac PKR) to up to 47,900 yuan (7.5 lac PKR).
Changan BenBen Mini
Changan, who is also the joint venture partner of Suzuki in China, managed to get the technology of the 7th generation Alto and developed their own super mini car, the BenBen Mini. The BenBen Mini is equipped with a DOHC 1.0-liter engine, which produces 70 horses and meets the Euro IV emission standards. Available in manual as well as IMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission) the BenBen Mini is priced from 36,900 yuan (5.7 lac PKR) to 49,900 yuan (7.8 lac PKR).
Panda comes with a 1.0-liter engine and with a 5-star crash test rating is considered among the safest Chinese hatchbacks. Panda also known as Geely LC is exported to several parts of the world. Price starts from 36,900 yuan (5.7 lac PKR) to 42,900 yuan (6.7 lac PKR).
JAC J2 Yueyue
Jac J2 also known as Yueyue comes with a 1-liter engine with 68bhp, and Euro IV emission levels. With a good reputation in export markets, the J2 Yueyue is priced at 38,800 yuan (6.0 lac PKR) to 41,800 yuan (6.5 lac PKR).
While we still see QQ cars that entered our market in 2005, the QQ in China looks totally different. Available in both manual and AMT transmission the price of QQ starts from 37,900 yuan (5.9 lac PKR) to 50,900 yuan (7.9 lac PKR).
Recently launched in the Chinese market by Brilliance Motors who manufacture BMW vehicles in China, this car was aimed to compete with Chery QQ. Power comes from a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine with 88hp, mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Price starts from 39,800 yuan (6.2 lac PKR) and ends at 45,800 yuan (7.1 lac PKR).
Zotye Z100 is the cheapest car available in China; it is powered by a 1.0 four-cylinder engine with 56hp, mated to a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. Price starts from just 30,000 yuan (4.7 lac PKR) to 35,000 yuan (5.4 lac PKR). Zotye once showed interest in setting up a joint-venture in Pakistan as well.
Rather than offering vehicles exceeding a price tag of 3 million, our automakers should focus on offering more affordable cars within the reach of masses. The second part of this series will cover Chinese sedans that are available within 1 million price range, stay tuned.