BAIC in Pakistan- Hit or Miss?

After the Auto Policy 2016–21, Sazgar Autos, a division of Sazgar Engineering Works Limited (SEWL), which is most renowned for producing three-wheelers in Pakistan, ventured into the four-wheel market. The company, which enjoys a commanding market share in the three-wheeler segment and exports its rickshaws to various countries, partnered with two major Chinese automakers to expand into the four-wheel domain.

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These include BAIC (Beijing Auto Industry Corporation) and Haval of GWM (Great Wall Motors). It was recently revealed that Sazgar is enjoying miraculous profits with its Haval venture, so much that it has even eclipsed its success with the 3-wheelers, however, the company hasn’t been able to do the same with BAIC, the one with which it was the first to engage.

Related: Sazgar’s Story Tells Exactly Why Every Automaker Wants to Launch SUVs

When BAIC test mules first started to show up on our roads in mid-2019, it caught the attention of consumers who were anticipating to welcome mass-market sedans, hatchbacks & affordable crossovers from a newcomer. Sazgar debuted at the 2020 edition of PAPS (Pakistan Auto Show) with a bang having shown a range of vehicles including the D20 hatchback, X25 crossover, and BJ40 Plus SUV.

Later in 2020, Ali Hameed, the Director of Marketing at Sazgar-BAIC while talking to a local media outlet revealed that the company will introduce the BAIC D20 in both sedan and hatchback guises, along with the X25 crossover and BJ40 Plus SUV. Ali Hameed while hinting at their price range said BAIC vehicles due to their lower price tag and appreciable quality & features would give a tough time to the existing competition.

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But now when we are about to enter 2024, apart from BJ40 Plus SUV no other BAIC vehicle has been introduced in Pakistan. The BJ40 entered trial production in April 2021 and was formally launched towards the end of the same year. Back then however, before the launch of BJ40, the company posted a promotional video on its social handles that showed that the production of the X25 crossover, D20 hatchback, and D20 sedan alongside the BJ40 Plus was already underway.

Interestingly observing the PAMA data reveals to us that the company produced 18 units of BAIC D20 in FY21-22 and sold 14 of them. Similarly, 12 units of BAIC X25 were produced in FY21-22 out of which 11 are marked as sold. Since then there has been no production of these vehicles. More interestingly, in May 2021 the company even launched a pre-booking page on its official website, but it was taken down hardly a day after we published an article about it.

There is no official word from Sazgar regarding the future of the BAIC D20 and X25 in Pakistan, although the official website still shows the D20 and X25 alongside the BJ40 as available models. However, even the lone surviving BJ40 Plus model isn’t doing great in terms of sales, even though Sazgar’s pricier Haval SUVs are doing wonders for the company. In FY21-22 Sazgar sold 442 units of BJ40 which went down by a deplorable 62% the following year to just 169 units in FY22-23.

So far during the first 4 months of the current fiscal year, only 24 units of BJ40 Plus have been sold so far, compared to 49 units sold in the same period of the previous fiscal year. More importantly, the company hasn’t produced a single unit so far in this fiscal year and is only selling the already assembled ones lying unsold at its disposal. The SUV is priced at PKR 1 crore 19.95 lac and has miserably failed to grab the attention of consumers, with its target market being true off-roaders.

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So what is the future of BAIC in Pakistan? The brand has been around for almost 3 years now and while Haval already made a huge impact within just 2 years of its presence, Sazgar just hasn’t been able to replicate that with the BAIC vehicles. What do you think is the reason behind BAIC’s lackluster performance in our market, do share your input in the comment section below.

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