Desire to own cars
ACCORDING to a report, an average 200 cars are registered every day in the capital. The total number of cars registered in Islamabad, a city of less than a million inhabitants, by March 2006 stood at an astounding figure of 215,500 -— one of the highest per capita in the world. While 17,639 cars were registered in 2003, the figure went up to 23,805 in 2004. The year 2005 witnessed registration of another 33,311 cars.
The country has achieved unprecedented phenomenal growth of passenger cars during the past few years. This growth will continue in the future as the government has freely allowed, since August last year, the import of new and second-hand cars. Pakistan is indeed a lucrative market not only for local car assemblers but also for car manufacturers abroad. Last year as many as 23,149 motor vehicles were imported and luxury cars had a significant share in the total import of 14,347 cars. The list of luxury cars and jeeps included 2,625 Toyota land cruisers, 1,274 Mercedes Benz, 799 Honda Accord, 552 Chevrolet 1600 cc, 286 BMW, 144 Mitsubishi Pajero, 77 Nissan Patrol and 30 Land Rovers.
To meet the ever increasing demand for luxury cars among Pakistani consumers, Mercedes Benz is setting up a car assembly plant in Karachi, while Porsche has opened a sales office in Lahore.
Other European car producers, such as Renault and Black Cab, are establishing plants in Karachi that will start production by early next year. Recently Rolls Royce announced its marketing network in Pakistan by releasing a full-page colour advertisement in national newspapers.
The massive import of cars and other vehicles is a major factor for having a record trade deficit of $8.62 billion during nine months of the current fiscal year.