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AdBuzz LeadThe ambitious Auto Industry Development Plan, adoption of Euro II emission standards, trade negotiations with India and the phenomenon of used car imports; clearly it has been an eventful year for the auto industry. However, it is the sales reports from the year that reveal the most about perceptions of locally manufactured cars in the industry.

December’s statistics haven’t been compiled yet, but according to the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association, Pakistan’s bestselling car since 2008 is the Toyota Corolla. It comes in three versions, the Xli, Gli and Altis, each offering significant differences in transmission (automatic/manual) and engine size (1.3-1.8 litres), with price levels that appeal to consumers in the middle-upper income strata. Other reasons for its success are Toyota’s reputation for safety as well as tremendous resale value (often retaining 65% of its original cost). Price range for a new Corolla: Rs 1.5-2.2 million.

Providing stiff competition is the most successful car in Pakistan’s auto history, the Suzuki Mehran. A first generation Alto, it was re-branded after its launch in 1989 and is still manufactured in the same form. A low retail price (although now exorbitantly expensive to some), low maintenance costs, easily available parts and reasonable resale value have led sales for the better part of the last decade; it is the second highest selling car in 2012 and in close contention to becoming the best selling car of the year. Price range for a new Mehran: Rs 575,000-632,000.

With the Suzuki Alto and Daihatsu Cuore decommissioned, the only other option for buyers in the 800-1,000cc category is the Suzuki Cultus. A 1,000cc car, the Cultus is considerably more expensive compared to a Mehran and although its durability is just as unquestioned, it does not retain a comparable a resale value. The Cultus is currently the third bestselling car of the outgoing year, but whereas the top two cars have market shares inching towards 30%, the Cultus only commands 8.2%. Price for a new Cultus: Rs 985,000.

– Shayan Shakeel
Information provided by PAMA, Atlas Honda, Indus Motors and Pak-Suzuki.

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The Dawn National Weekend Advertiser on December 30, 2012.