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Suzuki launches automatic Cultus in Pakistan

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News Desk |

Suzuki’s Pakistan franchise Pak Suzuki Motors has launched the automatic transmission variant (Cultus VXL) of the 2017 Cultus, the former version with manual transmission having been launched seven months prior. The automatic gear transmission (AGS) version has been quoted at Rs. 1.528 million. The low-end manual transmission variant, the Cultus VXR, is priced at Rs. 1.25 million.

The Cultus VXL, which has a few add-ons but also consists of a manual transmission, is priced at Rs. 1.391 million, the basic upgrades being the wheel type, power windows and air braking system. Suzuki also launched other products in an event in Islamabad — the Mega Carry, a 1,500cc commercial vehicle, and motorcycles, GR150 and GSXR600.

Indus Motor, the makers of Toyota Corolla, lagged behind peers, posting an increase of 28% year-on-year as it continued to face capacity constraints.

Analysts are of the opinion that this launch after a significant gap depicts the fact that Suzuki is confident about the rising market share for its latest brainchild. The vehicle, which is internationally recognized as Celerio but has been rebranded for the Pakistani market, has managed a reasonable response in its first few months, according to sources.

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The launch comes at a time when Pakistan’s auto sector is seeing the entry of new assemblers/manufacturers on the nudge of an open auto policy. The boost in the auto production sector also comes from hefty import duties levied on used cars, which has given local players an advantage.

Additionally, to counter a rising trade deficit, Pakistan also levied regulatory duty on luxury items including vehicles. Last month, the government enhanced the regulatory duty by up to 350% on 356 essential and luxury goods to control the growing import bill. The duty also impacted used and new car imports, bringing all such imports to a standstill.

New car companies are setting up their plants in Pakistan after the new five-year auto policy 2016-21. Renault, a French car manufacturing company, is expected to start assembling cars in Pakistan by 2018.

Analysts are of the opinion that this could help local car assemblers because a large number of consumers are likely to revert to locally produced cars. Out of the three local car assemblers, Pak Suzuki is the only company that produces vehicles below 1,300cc in Pakistan and is believed to be best suited to take over that market. According to statistics, up to 80% used cars of Pakistan’s imports fall in the category of small cars that have an engine capacity of 1,000cc or less.

This was also fuelled by the rising business of online cab services in Pakistan such as Uber and Careem, which have hired thousands of cars, mostly under 1000cc capacity, for their services. Also, due to better macroeconomic numbers and better car financing opportunities, local car sales have been growing steadily for the past few years.

Read more: New entrants may reinvigorate Pakistani car market

Moreover, new car companies are setting up their plants in Pakistan after the new five-year auto policy 2016-21. Renault, a French car manufacturing company, is expected to start assembling cars in Pakistan by 2018. The government had been wooing foreign car makers like Renault and Nissan with generous import duties earlier this year.

After approval of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s economic policy and vision, Special Assistant to the PM and Chairman of the Board of Investment (BoI) Miftah Ismail held meetings with stakeholders in Pakistan and foreign companies in the automobile sector all through 2016 and in June this year, three foreign companies achieved approval from the Board of Investment and Revenue to set up manufacturing operations by 2018.

The vehicle, which is internationally recognized as Celerio but has been rebranded for the Pakistani market, has managed a reasonable response in its first few months, according to sources.

In October 2017, locally assembled automobile sales, including jeeps and light commercial vehicles, jumped to 23,341 units, the highest in any month, up 46% compared with 15,988 units in the same month of previous year, depicted data released by the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA).

Read more: Volkswagen to spend $40 billion on electric cars

For Pak Suzuki, sales for Jul-Oct FY18 were up 36% year-on-year to 46,941 units. Sales of Honda Atlas Cars stood at 4,506 units in October, rebounding 31% month-on-month (50% year-on-year) after production last month was affected by extended holidays.

Honda’s Jul-Oct sales grew 55% to 17,110 units in the wake of success of new models Honda Civic, BRV and the recently revamped City. Indus Motor, the makers of Toyota Corolla, lagged behind peers, posting an increase of 28% year-on-year as it continued to face capacity constraints. The higher year-on-year growth was attributed to the production issues faced in the previous year. Indus Motor’s sales for Jul-Oct were up by 10%.


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