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Car sales show marginal growth

Updated January 11, 2019


Pakistan’s auto sector has been under spotlight as around 16 companies are expected to launch new vehicles within next two to three years.
Pakistan’s auto sector has been under spotlight as around 16 companies are expected to launch new vehicles within next two to three years.

KARACHI: The auto sector showed mixed trend registering a growth in car and bus sales while a decline in tractor, trucks and light commercial segments during first half of 2018-19.

According to data released by the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association, car sales in December 2018 increased to 16,141 units from 15,334 in November 2018. The increase in sales is against the trend since buyers usually hold their purchases in last month of the year for change of model year.

Total car sales in the six months of the fiscal year inched up to 104,038 units from 103,432 units in comparison to the same period last year despite multiple price hikes by assemblers on account of currency depreciation, interest rate hikes and increase in petroleum prices.

Restriction on non filers to purchase cars has not hit sales so far. However, assemblers also had sizeable booking received prior to the ban in July 2018. According to assemblers, a number of buyers had changed their status to filer from non filer during last six months.

For cars in 1,300cc and above category, total sales in the first six months of fiscal year soared to 52,243 units from 47,087 units during the same period last year. Toyota Corolla remained dominant in this segment with 27,950 units sold as against 25,325 followed by Honda Civic/City sales of 21,784 units versus 19,621 sold in the same period last year.

Suzuki Cultus and WagonR sales grew to 10,757 and 16,081 units from 9,501 and 14,141 units respectively.

Consumers have been reluctant to purchase Suzuki Mehran as total units sold during the period declined to 16,826 units from 22,219 units. The company has announced its plans to discontinue the highly-popular model by April this year.

Suzuki Bolan sales also remained subdued plunging to 8,131 from 10,484 units.

Slowdown in Hino, Master and Isuzu truck sales continued, dropping to 3,225 units in first half of current fiscal year from 4,252 units, while sale of buses from the same manufacturers surged to 546 from 310 units.

On the other hand, Honda BR-V sales plunged to 2,494 units from 5,159 units while Toyota Fortuner and Suzuki Ravi sales also declined to 1,253 and 8,853 units from 1,638 and 10,738 units respectively whereas Toyota Hilux sales rose to 3,428 units from 3,174 units.

The first half of current fiscal year ended on a negative note for tractor industry. Both assemblers halted production on account of annual shutdown in mid December 2018. Besides, thin buying from growers and farmers also cast shadow on tractor sales.

Fiat and Massey Ferguson sold 8,155 and 16,110 units in the first half against 12,061 and 20,154 units in same period last fiscal. In December 2018, Fiat and Massey Ferguson produced 885 and 825 units as compared to 1,300 and 2,638 units respectively in November 2018.

In the two-wheeler segment, Honda showed mixed trend as sales fell to 543,894 from 545,018 units while Suzuki and Yamaha sales rose to 11,864 and 12,947 from 10,442 and 10,354 units.

The United Auto Motorcycle, second largest bike assembler, also registered a jump in sales to 203,308 from 198,246 units. Whereas in three-wheeler segment, sales of Qingqi, Sazgar and Road Prince in the first half of fiscal year dropped to 11,121 units, 7,119 units and 5,090 units.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019