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KARACHI: Auto sales in the country charged on in December, as total car sales jumped to 103,432 units in July-Dec 2017 as compared to 85,901 units in same period last year, a rise of 20 per cent.

Suzuki led the pack with its 1000cc range, which saw the fastest growth of more than 60pc. Honda came in second with 19,621 as against 16,571 units last year followed by Toyota which saw a slight decline in sales going to 25,325 units versus 25,768 last year.

According to an analyst at Topline Securities, local car assemblers (including LCVs, Vans and Jeeps) managed to sell 19,237 units in December 2017, up 20pc year-on-year and down 9pc sequentially as year-end is a leaner period for auto sales.

He said the change in import procedure as well as demand from online ride hailing services has contributed to strong sales in outgoing month.

Toyota Fortuner sales swelled to 1,638 from 205 units. Suzuki Ravi and Hilux sold 10,738 and 3,171 as against 8,894 and 2,533 units. Honda BRV sales stood at 5,159 units in July-Dec 2017.

In tractors sales of Fiat and Massey Ferguson surged to 12,061 and 20,154 from 7,471 and 13,056 units.

Total truck sales climbed to 4,252 from 3,304 while bus sales fell to 310 from 577 units.

Honda vehicle sales are going strong due to success of new models Civic/BRVand recently revamped City. He said Toyota continued to face capacity constraints, though 1HFY18 units sales are up 6pc year-on-year.

Motorcycle/3-wheeler sales for December 2017 have grown by 9pc year-on-year, due to rising disposable income of lower middle class, while 1HFY18 sales are up 19pc, he said.

Robust sales of locally assembled automobiles provided a contrast with lacklustre imports of used and new cars.

“Only old shipment of used cars are arriving while fresh imports have almost come to a standstill,” All Pakistan Motor Dealers Association Chairman H.M. Shahzad said blaming the amendment in import policy order which has made mandatory for the car sender to pay duty and taxes in US dollar on new and used cars under three schemes.

The auto sector is poised to see a large influx of new investment under the Auto­motive Development Policy 2016–21 that has incentivised greenfield investment in the sector.

According to some reports, close to $800 million is set to pour into the sector in the near future as Kia, Hyundai, Renault and Volkswagen are aiming to start production by 2019.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2018