In modern era, automobile models are generally developed for a period of 6 years. During which usually after 3 years, a mid-life refresh also called as facelift is introduced to keep the model fresh & updated before the new generation replaces it.
However in a small market like Pakistan, only a few automobiles are introduced in accordance to the global 6-years life span. In most cases, cars one introduced are dragged for several years without any significant change and in some cases; the prolonged production period has even gone past a decade.
Let’s have a look at cars that are being assembled in our country for more than 10 years. Although few among the list below have been discontinued already, some continues to sell today all thanks to absence of competition.
Suzuki Ravi/ Bolan (40+ years)
Global lifespan: 1979-1985
In Pakistan: 1979-present
The Suzuki Bolan and its pickup counterpart the Ravi are the oldest vehicles currently in production in Pakistan, courtesy Pak Suzuki. Bolan is actually the seventh generation of Suzuki Carry ST-90 model that was produced internationally between 1979 and 1985. By 1985 it was replaced by the eight generation DA-71 Carry, however in Pakistan Pak Suzuki still assembles the ST-90 Carry aka Bolan, which in 2019 has completed 40 years of its life. During all these years, Bolan as well as Ravi is yet to receive any improvement and remain the same as they were in the 1970s.
Suzuki Mehran (30 years)
Global lifespan: 1984-1988
In Pakistan: 1989-2019
Year 2019 holds a significant place in Pakistan automobile industry as Pak Suzuki officially discontinued the 2nd gen Alto called as Mehran in Pakistan. Suzuki produced this car between 1984 and 1988 however it was introduced in Pakistan in 1989 as a replacement of the first generation Alto (the Suzuki FX). Mehran after completing 30 years in our market has been recently replaced by the 8th gen Alto 660cc.
Suzuki Cultus MK-II (17 years)
Global lifespan: 1988-1996
In Pakistan: 2000-2017
The Suzuki Cultus MK-II was launched in year 2000 as a replacement of MK-I Suzuki Khyber and continued to sell for 17 years without any significant improvement apart from a fuel injected engine in 2007. Funnily enough the Cultus is a hatchback version of the already discontinued Margalla sedan which Pak Suzuki used to sell between 1991 & 1998. The MK-II Cultus was replaced by the Celerio hatchback in 2017.
Suzuki Alto (12 years)
Global lifespan: 1998-2004
In Pakistan: 2000-2012
The 5th gen Alto in Pakistan was launched in 2000 and continued till 2012. Pak Suzuki eventually had to discontinue the Alto when Euro-II emission standard was imposed by our government. Apart from headlights & tail lights, the Alto available in a single trim remained unchanged throughout the period of 12 years.
Daihatsu Cuore (12 years)
Global lifespan: 1994-1998
In Pakistan: 2000-2012
Daihatsu Cuore was launched in year 2000 by Indus Motors and continued towards 2012. It was the only local assembled small car of its time that came with an automatic transmission option. Cuore was another car which couldn’t keep up with the emission regulations and was discontinued after an unchanged 12 year production period.
Honda City 5th gen (10+ years)
Global lifespan: 2008-2013
In Pakistan: 2009-present
The 5th gen Honda City was launched globally in 2008 and got replaced with the newer 6th generation City in late 2013. Honda Atlas introduced this generation in Pakistan January 2009 and on 31st January 2019, the 5th generation Honda City has completed 10 years of its life in our country and has officially entered its 11th year of production, the longest for any Honda model in Pakistan.
Suzuki Swift (10 years)
Global lifespan: 2004-2010
In Pakistan: 2010-present
The Swift offered in our market was launched globally back in 2004 and was replaced by a newer generation model in 2010. That was when Pak Suzuki decided to launch the 2nd gen Swift here and since 2010 it continues to sell without any change and some dismal sales figures. Internationally, the Swift is currently in its 4th generation that was introduced back in December 2016. Pak Suzuki Swift is nearing 10 years of an unchanged production run in our country.
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In addition there were cars that were produced for just under a decade (9 years) including 7th gen Toyota Corolla, Suzuki Khyber and Suzuki Liana. It is imperative to mention that these vehicles enjoyed a prolonged period because of the absence of competition in our market.
The government should ensure strong check & balance and must define outlines within which automakers should be able to phase out the obsolete and offer quality products in Pakistan under a competition-driven environment. Also it is high time for consumers to prioritize quality & safety equipment when opting for cars rather than paying outrageous amounts just for the sake of looks & resale.