THIS refers to unfair trade practices of local car manufacturers in contravention of universally agreed code of automobile manufacturing business, thereby defying their legal, ethical and fair-trade responsibilities.

As per the code, all automobile manufacturers follow a standard operating procedure (SOP) of supplying and maintaining stocks of most parts with the dealership before the formal launch of any vehicle. However, the powerful cartel of car manufacturers does not bother to follow the SOPs, leaving the buyers in the lurch.

I purchased a new Honda City Aspire 2021 model bearing registration number BUJ-820 from an authorised dealership of the manufacturers in Karachi, but due to an accident the driving-side door glass and some parts got damaged.

The car, under insurance of Atlas group, was delivered to the same dealership from where the car was purchased on Sept 20. Since then, it has been there with the company unattended, as parts are not available either with the dealership or with the company. All this communication between me and the dealership has also been forwarded to the customer relations management of the car manufacturer, but to no avail.

I wonder in the present scenario where there are no parts available, what is the use of buying a locally-manufactured car worth over Rs3 million, while one can have comparatively cheaper imported cars that give more driving pleasure, provide improved metallurgy/durability, aesthetics and safety features.

On the other hand, the said manufacturer continues the booking and manufacturing of the new model with the same parts on a daily basis while claiming that these are not available for customers who have already purchased the same car.

The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) should conduct a thorough investigation into this unfair trade practice by the manufacturers who take advantage of all governmental benefits of tariffs and non-tariffs for providing vehicles and promise smooth, honest and fair after-sales services to the consumers, but actually act otherwise by not supplying parts to even their own dealerships, what to talk of open market, to the detriment of the buyers/consumers.

The competition authorities of various countries have already got such cases sorted out by implementing corrective measures in their respective industries in the larger interest of the consumers.

The national auto sector must also be made accountable for its unprofessional, exploitative and unfair trade practices.

The Ministry of Industries and Production and the CCP should put an end to exploitation by the car manufacturers, and save the customers from agony and distress.

Aamir Kabir

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2021



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