KARACHI: The first half of 2019-20 proved highly disappointing for the entire auto sector as car sales plunged by 43.2 per cent to 59,097 units, from 104,038 in same period last year.
Similarly, sales of trucks tumbled by 47.6pc to 1,691 units, buses by 31.7pc to 373, 52.5pc in jeeps to 1,779, 47.6pc in pickups to 6,634, 12pc in two/three wheelers to 799,820 and 38pc in tractors to 15,219.
However, December 2019 witnessed some recovery in car sales as they jumped 17.16pc month-on-month to 9,987 units, from 8,524 in preceding November but it could not arrest a big fall in overall car sales in 1HFY20. Even on a yearly basis, car volumes recorded a massive decrease of 38.1pc as compared to 16,141 units in same month of 2018.
According to data from the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (Pama), Suzuki Wagon R continued to face a lethargic sales trend, depicting a 72pc drop to 4,546 units in IHFY20 while Honda Civic/City suffered second biggest fall of 68pc to 6,919 while Bolan sales were down 66pc to 2,790.
In 1,300cc and above segment, Honda Civic/City, Suzuki Swift and Toyota Corolla registered 68pc, 55pc and 58pc plunge to 6,919 units, 1,136 and 11,742 in the last six months of 2019-20, as against IHFY19.
Suzuki Cultus 1,000cc sales stood 33pc lower at 6,609 units while Alto 660cc finished IHFY20 with 23,658.
One of the reasons of slowdown in sales were high car prices as assemblers passed on the impact of federal excise duty of 2.5-7.5pc and additional customs duty on imports of parts, while steep interest rate of 13.25pc further hurt the already ailing sector.
However, the rupee had strengthened its position in the last seven months as one dollar was trading at Rs164 in June 2019 as against current rate of Rs155.
Among heavy vehicles, sale of trucks (Hinopak, Master and Isuzu) came down to 1,691 units from 3,225 units while bus sales (Hinopak, Master and Isuzu) stood at 373, as against 546 in same period last year.
In light commercial vehicles, vans and jeeps category, Toyota Fortuner, Honda BR-V, Suzuki Ravi, Toyota Hilux and JAC sales plummeted to 552 units, 1,227, 4,262, 1,881 and 227 from 1,253, 2,494, 8,853, 3,428 and 376, respectively.
In farm machinery, Fiat, Massey Ferguson and Orient IMT tractor sales stood down at 5,881, 9,228 and 110 units as against 8,155, 16,110 and 218 units.
Meanwhile, sale of Honda and Suzuki bikes declined to 515,173 and 10,865 units from 543,894 and 11,864 while Yamaha bike sales only edged lower to 12,913 versus 12,947 units. Road Prince and United Auto Motorcycle sales dipped to 63,612 and 169,578 units as compared to 91,034 and 203,308.
As for the three-wheelers, Qingqi, Sazgar, Road Prince and United sales were 5,759, 4,792, 4,372 and 3,084 units in IHFY20 versus 11,121, 7,119, 5,090 and 6,277 in same period last year.
Amid claims of over 92pc localisation, bike assemblers raised prices multiple times in 2019 blaming rising cost of imported parts owing to the rupee depreciation against the dollar.
Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2020