For so many years, sedan market in Pakistan looked more like a coin with two faces. Buyers in the subcompact category could go for either Honda City or Toyota Corolla & those wanting a bigger car in compact sedan category could opt for Civic or Corolla Altis. Thankfully however, in recent years buyers got the luxury to choose from new & multiple options and all of a sudden the sedan market started to have a lot of flavors.
Toyota introduced the Yaris sedan as a replacement of 1300cc Corolla variants, so Toyota now has two sedans instead of just one- Yaris and Corolla, both with two engine options each. Changan introduced the Alsvin subcompact sedan which has started to make its presence felt, due to impressive design & rich features & equipment against a reasonable price tag compared to the competition. Then Hyundai introduced the Elantra sedan in the league of Civic Oriel & Corolla Altis, and most recently launched the latest generation Sonata which goes against the likes of imported Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
Proton also launched the Saga sedan, but with local production & deliveries yet to commence, it can only compete on papers. However the Saga is expected to become available towards the end of this year. MG is also in process of introducing its sedans, and has already imported MG5 and MG6 for trials & tests. Now Honda has just launched the 6th gen City in Pakistan after a stretchy 12-years tenure of the 5th gen model, and although its a globally discontinued car, its being considered a blessing.
Pak Suzuki too, launched the Ciaz sedan in Pakistan as a CBU import back in February 2017 marking their comeback in the sedan segment after the miserable demise of Liana. There were a lot of hopes that Suzuki might regain good share in sedan market which they lost ever since Margalla went out of production in late 90s. However the Ciaz failed to create any impact in the market and despite being a capable product, was discontinued last year without creating any troubles for its rivals whatsoever.
There were various reasons attributed towards Suzuki Ciaz being unable to attract the buyers despite being a Suzuki badged product. First is the fact that it missed out more than a dozen features that were available with Ciaz in other markets, it looked as if it was a bare version specifically made to be sold in Pakistan. Secondly in absence of features & equipment it was considered expensive compared to the hot-selling Corolla & City, do keep in mind the price of Suzuki Ciaz was increased by Rs 150,000 within a month of its launch.
Throughout its lifespan in Pakistan (2017-2020), Ciaz remained gracing the showroom floors while it had all the potential to achieve decent success in our market, ironically however Pak Suzuki was never too serious in making it a true success. Performance wise, it was certainly not a bad car at all. In fact the Ciaz offered the best in class 2,650 mm wheelbase (100 mm more than 5th gen City) resulting in a spacious interior, a rather impressive drive, decent looks and a fuel efficient 1.4L K14B engine under its hood.
The Ciaz has done quite well in regional markets as far as sales performance is concerned, however now more than 7 years in production, sales of Ciaz in competition driven markets has started to suffer. Although the Ciaz facelift is there to the rescue which after India and Thailand, has now been introduced in Philippines recently and is keeping Suzuki alive in the sedan rumble.
Considering the sort of competition we have here in our market, the Ciaz can still be considered a worthy addition if Pak Suzuki plans to re-introduce it as a locally assembled product. And they can even resurrect the popular Margalla nameplate to market the new Ciaz facelift in Pakistan. But since Suzuki is too happy with their unchallenged position in hatchback & small car segment, perhaps we might not be able to see the likes of locally assembled Ciaz sedan or new breed of Suzuki crossovers & MPVs in Pakistan.
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