LAHORE: Officials of a South Korean car maker expect the present gloom in the automotive market to lift by start of the next financial year.

Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of its first 2.6cc light commercial vehicle on Monday, Hyundai-Nishat Motors General Manager (sales and marketing) Ibad Jamal said the car sales had dropped by 24 per cent in the first 10 months of 2019.

“But this decline in sales is not ‘huge’ in view of the overall economic slowdown in the country and steep devaluation of the currency,” he added.

Car assemblers saw their sales decline 56pc in October from a year ago – the largest monthly dip in more than a decade. Cumulatively, car sales have plunged 46pc in the first four months of 2019-20.

The Korean manufacturer plans to roll out a locally assembled LCV and three-passenger cars, including a SUV, of 1,000cc and above by June 2021. The first rollout of its commercial vehicle is expected in January.

Hyundai had collaborated with the Nishat Group in 2017 to set up its plant near Faisalabad with an initial investment of $150 million to produce 15,000 units a year, taking advantage of fiscal and other incentives introduced by the government in the Auto Industry Development Policy 2016-21.

The company plans a further investment of more than $230m to enhance its production capacity to 30,000 units per annum by 2023.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2019