Year 2020 has been a year full of twists & surprises. The COVID-19 fiasco, the lockdowns, the economic standstill, plant shutdowns, zero automobile sales with fiscal year 2019-20 ending with a 53% plunge in sales.
Interestingly however, even then car prices in Pakistan kept increasing with local auto assemblers making revisions even during the lockdowns citing depreciation Rupee against the Dollar. Prices of local assembled cars have seen multiple revisions ever since the beginning of this calendar year and are being revised more frequently than a chameleon changes its colors. But since last few months, the Rupee is regaining its strength back reaching a 5-month high of Rs 161.82 ($1) in the open market, rendering a 4% improvement but instead of reducing prices, automakers including Pak Suzuki have increased the prices once again.
Besides all this, Pak Suzuki which is the largest auto assembler in Pakistan has been suffering from a 50% decline in sales & a streak of quarterly losses too. But 2020 will also be remembered as a year which saw discontinuation of not 1 but 3 products from Pak Suzuki’s portfolio which is something bizarre to say the least. Earlier this year the company discretely discontinued the Mega Carry pickup which was launched in December 2017 to compete among the commercial loading pickups. The Mega Carry failed miserably due to the product itself, which was a prime example of imprudent market assessment & ludicrous decision making at company’s end. The Mega Carry was bound to be discontinued this soon.
Mega Carry was a new definition of blandness and could have easily won the award of 2nd most stripped vehicle by Pak Suzuki after Bolan
Later in August, the Pak Suzuki officially announced to discontinue the 2nd generation Swift hatchback which had made its international debut back in 2004 and was introduced in Pakistan in 2010, the same year when it was replaced with a newer 3rd generation model in global markets. However as per the notification, the hatchback will continue to be sold till August 2021, so while the discontinuation has been announced the vehicle will stay with us as long as the company is able to clear out its inventory. Bear in mind the Suzuki Swift sells at an average of less than 225 units a month.
Now most recent is the departure of Ciaz sedan, which was introduced in February 2017 as CBU. Although the discontinuation has made into news just recently, we had already exclusively disclosed in April 2020 about Suzuki’s plans to pull the plugs off the Ciaz sedan in Pakistan. Suzuki Ciaz had all the potential to outdo the likes of 5th gen City if it was priced sensibly and had all the standard features on offer as available in other markets. Ironically the Ciaz offered in Pakistan was a stripped-down version missing out more than a dozen standard features & was specifically made to be sold in our market.
Plus the company was too focused on marketing its smaller cars– Celerio (Cultus) as well as new Alto 660cc but was never to serious in selling the Ciaz. If it was assembled locally, Pak Suzuki would have certainly been able to price it lower & if it was equipped with similar equipment as in other markets, the car had given some serious troubles to the Honda City and Toyota variants here.
Pak Suzuki hasn’t officially announced regarding replacement of any of these vehicles but it is believed that the 4th generation Swift will come as a replacement of 2nd gen model either towards the end of 2021 or early 2022. Funnily enough by that time, the 4th gen Swift will already be in its final year of production as the car made its world debut back in December 2016. Perhaps from the looks of it, Pak Suzuki is going to maintain is tradition of bringing the ‘new’ Swift once done from the rest of the world.