KARACHI: Car sales during July and August nosedived by massive 41.3 per cent to 20,094 units compared to 34,264 during the corresponding months last year.

In August, total car sales lowered to 9,126 units versus 15,389 in the same month last year.

Major auto assemblers including Honda Atlas Cars Limited (HACL) scaled down production for ten days in July. Similarly, the Indus Motor Company (IMC), during the same month, also shut down its plants for eight days amid sluggish demand on account of rising prices, high interest rates, unsold inventory, slow down in fresh booking and imposition of federal excise duty in the range of 2.5 per cent to 7.5pc on various engine capacities.

Moreover, car sales during August remained subdued because of Eidul Azha holidays, whereas discontinuation of the Suzuki Mehran model also took its toll on the overall auto sales.

As per figures of Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA), Honda Civic/City sales saw the largest plunge to 2,558 units in July and August, from 8,078 units last year followed by Suzuki Swift sales, which dropped to 338 units from 839.

Toyota Corolla sales also drastically dropped to 3,708 from 8,770 units.

Suzuki Cultus and WagonR also suffered major setback with sales of 2,497 and 1,488 units versus 3,041 and 5,222 units in 2MFY18 respectively.

Arrival of Suzuki Alto 660cc, whose sales stood at 8,019 units in July-August, took away much of the market share of Suzuki WagonR. However, sales of Alto model declined to 3,435 units in August from 4,585 units in July.

PAMA figures showed that the last two months also saw steep fall in sales of Suzuki Bolan to 703 units from 2,559 units.

Sales of trucks, which were already under pressure since FY19 due to slowdown in economic activities, further came down to 648 units in the two months under review from 1,199 units while bus sales also trended lower to 160 from 217 units.

Sales of light commercial vehicles (LCVs), Vans and Jeeps also remained in the red in the last two months. Toyota Fortuner, Honda BR-V, Suzuki Ravi, Toyota Hilux and JAC sales went down to 162, 450, 1,162, 716 and 107 units as compared to 424, 864, 2,162, 1,292 and 130 units respectively.

Surprisingly, sales of Fiat tractors recovered to 2,426 units from 1,865 while Massey Ferguson sales declined to 3,166 units as against 5,986 units.

An analyst at BMA Capital, while maintaining a neutral stance on the auto sector, said the current aggressive decline in automobile sales may taper off in 2HFY20 and forecast the industry to register a drop of 15pc YoY in FY20.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2019