Daihatsu is the oldest Japanese car manufacturer that was established in 1951 and has its roots that trace back as far as 1907. Toyota acquired a controlling 51% stake in Daihatsu in 1988, bringing the company under its influence. But in 2016 it purchased Daihatsu’s remaining assets, thus making Daihatsu a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation.
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Daihatsu is well-known for producing quality small cars. Its products are frequently praised for their dependability, affordability, and ease of maintenance, which makes them well-liked options for consumers on a tight budget and those seeking dependable transportation options, primarily in developing or emerging markets as well as its native market of Japan where it gives a cut-throat competition to its arch-rival Suzuki.
In Pakistan Indus Motor Company (IMC) sold various locally assembled as well as imported Daihatsu cars over the course of time, among which the Cuore hatchback was tremendously popular. However ever since the Cuore was discontinued (which happened when Pakistan officially shifted to Euro-2 in 2012 and Cuore was no longer able to comply with the standards), IMC has yet to introduce a replacement despite a vacuum of small cars in the market.
Daihatsu still has a very attractive portfolio of budget cars which are vastly popular in the Southeast Asian region. IMC only sells four locally assembled Toyota models here, Corolla, Yaris, Hilux, and Fortuner. But with Daihatsu’s attractive offerings, IMC can literally diversify its product portfolio here and cater to a high demand for small & affordable fuel-efficient cars in the market.
Let us have a look at some of the popular Daihatsu cars that IMC should consider introducing in Pakistan.
The Daihatsu Ayla hatchback is a sister model of Toyota Agya/ Wigo & Perodua Axia and differs only cosmetically while remaining technically & mechanically the same. It is offered with a 1.2L as well as a 1.0L engine option and comes loaded with a decent array of safety & creature comfort features.
The likes of Ayla can fill the gap of a quality 1.0L hatchback in Pakistan and can entice those who opt for a used JDM Vitz. The question is, will IMC do so?
Then comes the Sirion hatchback which is larger in dimensions than the Ayla and comes with a 1300cc engine. It is something that while being a hatchback, offers space that’s comparable to a sedan, but without a boot of course. If launched, the Daihatsu Sirion can be positioned as a worthy alternative to Suzuki Swift.
Daihatsu Rocky is a sister model of Toyota Raize which can be seen running on our roads already, thanks to used JDM imports. It comes with a fuel-efficient 1.0L turbo as well as a hybrid engine option.
In addition to remaining committed to launching an overly expensive Corolla Cross hybrid, IMC should also consider launching the likes of Daihatsu Rocky hybrid in Pakistan to cater to a wider range of consumers and achieve fuel savings & environmental benefits in a much more efficient manner.
Then comes the Daihatsu GranMax, which is an ideal substitute for Suzuki Carry (or say the obsolete Bolan & Ravi). Just like the Suzuki duo, the GranMax also comes in minivan and pickup variants and is powered by either a 1.2L engine or a more powerful 1.5L unit paired with 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmission options.
And lastly, the ever-so-familiar Daihatsu Mira (which is originally a Japanese domestic name for Cuore). We have earlier penned an article wanting IMC to resurrect the Cuore nameplate by launching the new Mira which is already available in the market as used JDM and has witnessed remarkable success. A new Daihatsu Cuore with a 660cc engine will be a perfect competitor to the Suzuki Alto in the entry-level hatchback market should IMC decide to embark on competition.
With the possibilities listed above, even the thought of these cars existing on the market is tantalizing. Unfortunately, the most established players always tend to avoid competition and would much rather see an oligopolist market.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com