The 5th generation Honda City that was introduced in Pakistan back in January 2009 has just entered its 12th year of production in our country– the longest span for any locally assembled Honda model.
Throughout this period the car has remained largely unchanged however it has received innumerable minor cosmetic modifications which Honda labels as facelift. This should not confuse you with those true facelifts Honda used to offer back in the days of old.
For international markets, Honda unveiled the all new 7th gen City in Thailand in November 2019 which has made the local assembled City two generations behind the international models. Not only this, in this day and age the local 5th gen Honda City remains the most under-equipped car in our market. The now 11 year old model comes without a single airbag in its entire range and is priced from PKR 23.09 lac for the 1.3L base model all the way up to PKR 27.19 lac for the flagship 1.5L Aspire version.
Having made its debut in Thailand, the all new City is headed for Malaysia and India where camouflaged test mules are undergoing testing already and the imminent launch is expected within the first half of this year. This will be followed by the launch in other Asian markets as well as Oceania; however whether the all new City will reach Pakistan this year remains unknown.
If we look back, Pakistan was one of the first markets to have received the Honda City generations of the past. The Honda City SX8 that was launched in Pakistan in January 1997 had made its debut some 8 months ago in April 1996. Then the 4th generation City (iDSI) made its world debut at the Bangkok International Motor Show in November 2002 and was introduced in Pakistan after 9 months in August 2003. The 5th generation City (iVTEC) was unveiled in Thailand in September 2008 and was launched just 4 months later in January 2009. From there on, since Suzuki Liana was out of the race already and the City had literally no competition in the segment, Honda dragged the 5th gen for a prolonged period of time and continues with this generation even today despite the fact that it was already replaced by 6th generation elsewhere in 2014.
However in recent times, things aren’t going too well for Honda Atlas. The company is experiencing dismal sales ever since the beginning of this fiscal year. Due to thousands of unsold stocks, the company also observed non-production days and had to keep its plant shut for 108 days out of 184 days in the second half of the previous year.
Furthermore the City is expected to face stiff competition in shape of upcoming new rivals– the Toyota Yaris and Proton Saga sedans, both of which will likely be introduced towards the mid of this year and are expected to take away a lot from City’s market share.
Whether Honda is going to introduce yet another facelift to the aging City to tackle the impending competition, or they will consider launching the all new City in Pakistan? We will have to wait to find out. However since Pakistan is known as a paradise for globally retired models, we may as well expect Honda Atlas to introduce the out-gone 6th generation City in our country.
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