Back in the 90s Suzuki Margalla was the apple of the eye for most of the automobile buyers. It was successful because of its decent shape, rather easy hassle-free maintenance, spacious interior and the presence of a boot which made it all in all a very practical option against a very nominal price tag which was a little more than the hatchbacks of that era, and was way below than other 1300cc sedans.
Although hatchbacks outnumber sedans in our market due to lower price and ease of maintenance, the practicality of the latter can never be questioned. However of late, sedans kept getting bigger and bigger not to mention the price tag which crept out of the reach of many.
Today an entry level sedan on our market which is a 12 year old 5th gen Honda City that misses out the basics such as airbags cost as high as PKR 23.09 lac. Sadly after Margalla, no other sedan could see the sort of success Margalla enjoyed in its peak time. Though early models of Honda City were very popular due to their performance, comfort & value for money, one can argue that they were never so cheaper to maintain as Margalla.
Indus Motor Company is currently in process of introducing the Yaris sedan in Pakistan which will replace the 1300cc Corolla variants in our country. Although the company is yet to disclose official prices, according to our sources it will start at PKR 23.5 lac. This means if someone is willing to buy an entry level sedan, he is bound to spend at least Rs 2.3 million to get a decent car.
However we do have another option in the process of making an entry in our market. Malaysian automaker Proton in collaboration with their local partner Al-Haj Automotive is in process of introducing Saga sedan in Pakistan. According to previously shared information, the Proton Saga will be introduced towards the mid of this year.
The Saga to be launched here will be the new & improved facelift model that was launched in Malaysian market last year and received overwhelming response. Saga also stood on top of the Proton sales chart in 2019 with 38,144 units sold, and played a key role in helping the company post more than 100,000 unit sales– the first time Proton achieved the feat since 2015.
While all eyes are on the Yaris sedan, the Saga may well be an underdog. It has looks that are decent but not too contemporary or outlandish. It offers a decent space, a good level of safety & equipment and has received a number of improvements with the facelift engineered by Geely.
During the last year, local automakers have pushed the prices of hatchbacks close to 2.0 million. However if Al-Haj is able to price the Saga lower than upcoming Toyota Yaris, it can become an attractive option and can create problems not only for the Yaris but for the hatchbacks such as Cultus & Picanto as well. Who knows, it will go on to become the Margalla of this era…
What do you think should be the ideal price of Proton Saga in Pakistan; let us know with your comments.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com