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KARACHI: Pak-Suzuki Motor Company Limited (PSMCL) has hinted at discontinuation of Suzuki Alto 1,000cc production from the middle of this year.

Earlier, the Indus Motor Company (IMC), the assemblers of Toyota Corolla and Daihatsu cars, had announced suspension in production of Cuore 800cc car from March.

Production and sale of Cuore slowed in the last five months amid news about suspension of production. In July-November 2011, a total of 1,865 and 1,723 units were produced and sold, respectively, as compared to 2,708 and 2,648 units in the same period of 2010.

A vendor of Cuore said that the company had already given zero schedules for parts delivery for the month of April 2012.

The main reason attributed by vendors of these vehicles is non- availability of its engine in Japan while the Pakistan government is already looking forward for implementing Euro-II emission standards from July 1, 2012 in the locally assembled cars for better environment.

Vendors, who asked not be named, said that the PSMCL management had conveyed their message to vendors a few months back at a vendor coordination meeting that it can take parts and accessories supplies till May 2012 only.

They said that the PSMCL had not given any hint about introduction of new 1,000cc model in place of Alto.

When vendors asked that in case government extends its decision of imposing Euro-II fuel emission standards for six months to one year, the PSMCL management said actually Japan was no more producing Alto engine.

They added that Alto engine was only available in India, but so far the government did not allow any free trade with the neighboring country.

A 50-member trade delegation of Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) is going to India from Jan 7 to 12 to attend an Auto Expo New Delhi.

Vendors said that the PSMCL is actively working to make Mehran, Bolan and pick-up Euro-II compliant.

With the discontinuation of Alto and Cuore, a vacuum would be created in the market for 800-1,000cc version of models and the situation may push up extra demand for 800cc Suzuki Mehran.

Alto has remained a hot selling car in 1,000cc segment over the years.

Its production and sales in July-November 2011 stood slightly higher at 5,370 and 5,953 units as compared to 5,165 and 4,950 units in the corresponding period of 2010.

A spokesperson for PSMCL, Shafiq Ahmed Shaikh, told Dawn that so far the management had not taken any firm decision to discontinue Alto production. However, the management has reduced procurement of CNG version parts from its local vendors in view of government decision on ban on CNG kits and cylinders.