The ongoing economic crisis has posed even deeper challenges for the local auto sector which has been heavily dependent on imports ever since its inception.
From the beginning of the current fiscal year, assemblers have been observing non-production days (NPDs) as a result of challenges in getting Letters of Credit (LCs) approved as the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is only prioritizing essential imports. As a result, auto assemblers are experiencing a serious shortage of CKD parts and other inventories on hand.
Related: These Cars in India are Cheaper than Alto- the Cheapest Car in Pakistan
This has already severely impacted the sales of locally assembled automobiles which are down by about 52% already. But Pak Suzuki, Pakistan’s largest automaker that deals solely in the production of small automobiles, is suffering the brunt of this situation the most. Pak Suzuki, which has a market share of more than 50%, has had the most number of NPDs and the greatest fall in sales when compared to other assemblers. While Suzuki Alto, which is the bestselling car in Pakistan is the one feeling the most pressure.
In the calendar year 2022, Pak Suzuki sold 66,427 units of Alto which is the highest-ever figure the company has ever achieved in terms of sales of an individual model. Sales of Alto alone made up 53% of total sales by Pak Suzuki which saw 125,947 units leaving the showroom floors in 2022. It is pertinent to mention that in 7 out of 12 months of 2022, Alto sales stood higher than the highest-ever monthly sales achieved by Suzuki Mehran, which was previously Suzuki’s and Pakistan’s highest-selling car.
Related: Alto and Corolla Emerged as Bestselling Cars of 2022 in Pakistan
The situation since the beginning of the year 2023 is bleak, to say the least. During the first two months of this year, Pak Suzuki managed to sell only 588 units of Alto– 44 in January and 544 in February. Compared to this, the company sold 3,864 units of Alto in January 2022 and 7,175 units in February 2022. This renders that in comparison to the 11,039 units sold in the first two months of the previous calendar year, the 588 units of Alto in the corresponding period of this year are down by a deplorable 95%.
The sales situation of other Suzuki vehicles is miserable too, but not as bad as the Alto. The below sales chart (based on data released by PAMA) will give an idea.
|Jan 2022||Feb 2022||Total 2M-2022||Jan 2023||Feb 2023||Total 2M-2023|
(Swift is not included since there was no production in Jan & Feb 2022 as the current generation was launched on 24th Feb last year)
While YoY sales of Alto as of the first 2 months of this calendar year are down by 95%, that of Bolan shows a decline of 68%, Ravi sales are reduced by 71%, Cultus by 78%, and Wagon R sales fell by 76%.
Related: 1 Year of New Suzuki Swift in Pakistan
Pakistan remains mired in a balance-of-payments crisis, while the SBP head had stated that import restrictions will be relaxed once the International Monetary Fund (IMF) review was completed. Yet, the IMF negotiations with the government currently look to be in disarray, so there may not be a chance for the import restrictions to be lifted very soon. This indicates that Pak Suzuki and the entire car industry will continue to be shrouded in uncertainty.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com