Lately a lot has been written on Suzuki Mehran which has been in production for nearly 3 decades in Pakistan. Pak Suzuki in a span of nearly 28 years is yet unable to offer any improvements to the vehicle apart from a fuel injected engine.
Mehran still comes with a very basic leaf-spring suspension, it lacks fundamental safety equipment of the modern era, with no collision protections, no airbags, no ABS brakes, it still comes without a 5-speed transmission while automatic transmission has always remained a dream.
Jiangnan TT, the Chinese equivalent of Suzuki Mehran, as reported by CarSpiritPK back in May 2016 is the cheapest car available in China. The TT boasts a totally redesigned dashboard, 4 spoke steering wheel, cup holders, digital odometer, an Mp3 player with USB input, an Efi engine, front & rear seat-belts, collapsible steering column, ABS brakes, proper rear suspension with springs & dampers, alloy wheels, proper retract side mirrors etc. All this is available for just under 20,000 yuan which roughly converts into PKR 2.5 lac. And when we compare it with the local Mehran VXR for an outrageous PKR 7.73 lac which offers none of the features present in a TT mentioned above, only makes us curse ourselves.
The all-electric version of the Jiangnan TT, called as the T-11 was recently launched in China. Like its gasoline-powered sibling it is the cheapest electric car available in the country. Due to strict emission standards in China, the gasoline engine TT was mostly sold in rural & sub-urban regions, now however this is expected to change, thanks to the T-11 electric version.
The T-11 is available for 105,000 yuan which converts into PKR 15.3 lac & comes with a 5 years/ 100,000km warranty (whichever occurs first). Equipped with a 18kWh battery pack, the maximum range for the T-11 is 160 km in full charge. It takes up to 7 hours to fully charge the vehicle. Do note that Jiangnan Autos is a wholly owned subsidiary of Zotye Auto, the clone specialists.
It would have been better if Pak Suzuki was able to make periodic improvements to Mehran such as the ones mentioned above, in order to justify the high price tag of a historic vehicle. Sadly the local Mehran doesn’t even come close to the options offered by its Chinese counterpart & yet it cost nearly 3 times more. Perhaps the only thing which will help us either see an improved Suzuki Mehran, or its replacement is ‘competition’.