The automobile industry of Pakistan has witnessed a rapid change in recent years. This year and the last particularly has seen an influx of new models of varying prices. In 2019, KIA Motors returned to Pakistan with the launch of their car “KIA SPORTAGE”. The car was highly appreciated by the locals as it was the only compact SUV available in the price high-end sedans. The company saw a rapid increase in sales of the car. In competition to KIA, HYUNDAI (a Korean company) and MG ( a British brand) entered the market with their cars with similar price ranges. But all these cars were in the bracket of 45-60 lacs, which is way out of the reach of a middle-class Pakistani. In recent years, we saw a very high increase in car prices due to the economic situation of Pakistan where the decline in the value of rupees has greatly decreased the purchasing power of an average individual. With more and more cars getting out of range for a middle-class individual, thus created a void in the automobile market for mid-range sedans.
With the skyrocketing price of the corolla, Toyota decided to launch a smaller sedan with a low price range in Pakistan. On 19th March 2020, Toyota announced to launch Toyota Yaris, a 1300CC car with 98 horsepower and 123 Nm of torque, with the price of PKR 2.349 million. The prices were increased to 2.6 million in the name of adjustment and devaluation of the rupee. The car was able to grab considerable attention at the start, gave tough competition to Honda City, Civic. In one year only, it was the second best-selling car in the local market (the first was Alto). Its sales were better than the sales of Civic and City combined. The car was launched with great variety of 10 colors from wildfire red, blue, gray, attitude black, pearl white, phantom brown and silver metallic. Toyota has a great brand value in the market and is in the market for years, people trust it greatly with their money and time.
To fill the void of the mid-range cars in the industry, a new Chinese company named Changan entered the market with its car name “Alsvin”, a 1300CC with 95 horsepower and 145 NM of torque with three different variants. The price range was 2.1 million rupees for manual transition and PKR 2.6 million for 1500cc automatic. The company received a great response on its launch with more than 20,000 applications for the registration of the car. The comfort and handling of the car are great with good safety features. The car has dual airbags with ABS brakes. The interior of the car is one of the plus points of this car with the very elegant ivory-beige interior with black dashboard and 7-inches touch-sensitive infotainment screen, leather seats.
After the release of two mid-range cars, a Malaysian brand named “Proton” with its official launch on 4th April 2021 entered the market with its car “Saga”, a 1300cc with 95 horsepower and 120 Nm of torque with the price of PKR 2.2 million. This is the cheapest car in this range of mid-sedans. The local production of the car is started in June. The car has not yet grabbed much of the market yet, but things can get better in the upcoming days. Although the car is equipped with the latest features such as electronic brake distribution, electronic stability control, hill and brake assist but the interior of the car is quite old-fashioned especially when compared to its competition. The Saga comes with a 5-year warranty period or 150000km, whichever comes first. It has several variants and they range from 19.75 lakh to 24.25 lakh.
The previous car available within this price range lacked basic safety features such as airbags and electronic stability control. People are welcoming these new cars because of the features they are offering. With increasing competition in the market, people now have more options to choose from. But these new companies still have to establish themselves in the market. In this regard, Toyota has an edge over them, with the availability of parts in the market and resale value. But the other two have a lot of great and new features to offer. The buyer is the one to decide whether they want to trust the new ones and give them a chance or continue with the ones already in the market.