If one reads the newspapers, watches the news, listens to our right wing media anchors and follows the proceedings in the courts, it seems that Pakistan is sliding on fast pacing downhill slope. On the other hand, there is consistency of healthy financial and operating data coming in which is good enough for the naysayers to scratch their heads and other things. On March 10, 2011, the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) released the monthly and 8 months of the current fiscal’s sales figures which has been published by some newspapers but chosen to be ignored by many others.
As per details available from the PAMA website the sales of automotives were as follows:
With all the propaganda taking place, and a financial crunch for our Banking industry which is plagued by high levels of non performing loans in the consumer sector, how are sales increasing? It is also important to note that prices of automotives remained high which has caused the government to allow import of used vehicles up to 5 years old compared to 3 years old previously! Is there any reason for this or is it yet another “Amreeki” and “Yahoodi sazish” that sales are on the higher side?
Automobile sales up 12%
By Irtiza Rizvi / Mobin Nasir
Published: March 11, 2011
Sales of locally assembled cars have continued to rise despite recent relaxations in limitations against imported cars, data shows.
Cumulative automobile sales, including cars, light commercial vehicles and pickups, touched 96,100 units in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, representing an increase of 11.8 per cent compared with the corresponding period of the preceding year.
According to data released by the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA), car sales touched 84,225 units, up by around 12 per cent when compared with the previous fiscal year, but sales went down nine per cent in February compared with January.
“Sales are normally lower in February because in January demand for new models is at its peak, as most people prefer to get the new models at the beginning of the year,” explained InvestCap auto sector analyst Abdul Azeem.
He pointed out that lower sales were mainly on account of a 20 per cent reduction in sales of Indus Motor, the manufacturers of Toyota, along with a fall of 13 per cent in sales of Honda.
While sales of 1,300cc cars edged down in February, production of smaller cars stepped up. Suzuki Alto production stood at 1,292 units compared to just 584 units in January. Similarly, production and sales of Daihatsu Cuore rose by close to 30 per cent each.
Local assemblers have put up strong resistance against the government’s decision to ease restrictions on imported cars. PAMA argued that the move will put in jeopardy the local car industry and threaten thousands of jobs, but so far car sales have not taken a significant hit despite the easy terms for foreign competition. However, there appears to be a general consensus among local assemblers that this scenario may change in coming months.
Industry analysts point out that the real threat will be faced by cars in the 1,300cc and above categories, while sales of smaller, more economical cars will not be affected as much.
Motorcycles and three-wheelers
Sales of motorcycles and three-wheelers were recorded at 526,509 units in the eight months, up from sales of 470,499 units in fiscal 2010. However, month-on-month sales showed a slight decline of six per cent to 66,914 units.
Hero motorcycles have clung to the top slot in terms of sales, followed closely by Suzuki and Habib. Dealers attribute the popularity of these brands to their relatively cheaper prices and widespread availability compared with competitors.
Sales continue to rise
Toyota Hilux continued to gain popularity, as both production and sales of the model posted successive increases in recent months. In February, 325 units of the pickup were sold.
When compared with average sales of just 81 units per month during the last fiscal year, it becomes apparent that the model is gaining significant patronage. “Another version of this pickup has been localised and now double-cabin is being manufactured in Pakistan,” said Indus Motor Marketing Director Reza Ansari. Citing the resultant lower price tag on the model, Ansari commented, “Part of the increase in sales for Hilux has been due to this version.” He added that Hilux has gained momentum, as appeal for the pickup has strengthened over time.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2011.