The October sales figures were nothing short of a disappointment for local automakers, painting a bleak image of a beleaguered industry dealing with difficulties such as dwindling sales. However, if we analyze the PAMA (Pakistan Automobile Manufacturers Association) data, the production figures appear to be even more worrying than the sales figures.
As of the first 4 months of this fiscal year, Honda produced only 2,759 units of Civic & City combined. This is a whopping 57% lower than the 6,440 units of the two, the company produced in the same period of the previous fiscal year. On average, one can assume that just around 450 units of each of these models were produced in a month, or just 15 units a day.
A similar story for Toyota which sold 8,290 units of Corolla & Yairs (combined) in 4M-FY23 while the production numbers came down by 55% to just 3,713 units in 4M-FY24. Production of Hilux & Fortuner (combined) also saw a major dip with 4,283 units sold in the first 4 months of the previous fiscal year versus 1,571 units so far this year, rendering a 63% decline in production.
Elantra happens to be the worst-selling Hyundai in Pakistan. The company produced 1,015 units of the sedan in the discussed period last year, however with a 93% decline, the production numbers stood at an appalling 73 units. Moreover, Hyundai produced only 8 units of Elantra in October, and just 2 units in September, which is just disappointing, to say the least. Production of Hyundai Tucson came down from 2,977 units in the discussed period last year to 1,793 units so far this year, for a 41% reduction in production.
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Suzuki produced 3,804 units of Swift in the first 4 months of FY23, however this year during the same period the company produced only 1,703 units, down by 55%. Alto which is the bestselling car of the country suffered with a production decline too, with 13,497 units in the discussed period last year versus 9,344 units in the first 4 months of this fiscal year, bearing a 30% decline.
Moving down the charts, Suzuki Cultus saw 3,033 units produced in 4M-FY23 while only 478 units were rolled out so far this year, rendering an 84% decline in production. Wagon R too, suffered from similar miseries as 3,148 units of it were produced in 4M-FY23 compared to just 729 units so far this year for a 77% decline in production numbers. Similarly, Bolan (2,297 vs 543) and Ravi (1,522 vs 456) suffered from 76% and 70% reduction in production.
Lastly, BAIC BJ40 saw 68 units produced in 4M-FY23 but since the beginning of this fiscal year, not a single unit of BJ40 has been produced, raising a huge question mark on its future. Though the company managed to sell just 24 units in the first 4 months of this fiscal year with 13 units in July, 8 in August, 2 in September, and just 1 in October 2023.
In most cases, assemblers were able to sell way more units than the production numbers. For example, Toyota sold 796 units of Yaris & Corolla (combined) in October against just 482 units produced, and Suzuki sold 328 units of Cultus in October against just 173 units produced. In 4M-FY23 Cultus production stood at 478 units only but the company managed to sell 1,142 units, whereas Wagon R sales in 4M-FY23 were recorded at 1,160 units against just 729 units produced.
Likewise, Hyundai produced only 73 units of Elantra so far in this fiscal year but sold 321 units of the sedan in this period. This means assemblers have enough unsold inventory at their disposal, hence the lucrative “immediate delivery” schemes being offered these days are justified.
Lastly, the story of Honda HR-V & BR-V, the duo whose sales numbers are also presented as a combined figure, are both suffering from dismal sales. The company produced 1,201 units in 4M-FY23 but sold only 635 units. So far this year, 1,223 units of the two have been produced but only 730 units were sold. Both HR-V and BR-V saw zero units produced in the month of October, showing us just how bad their situation is. Honda may have enough unsold units of the two, which is why no units will be produced until the inventory is depleted.
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The testing period for the local auto industry is expected to continue as analysts anticipate car sales may remain dwindled will the first half of 2024. And with sales hitting rock bottom, production numbers will also go down in tandem. Whether they blame it on supply chain constraints or import restrictions, the fact is that the current economic situation has severely harmed the purchasing power of the masses, and even car financing will not allow white-collar people to purchase a brand-new vehicle. Things may not change unless the government takes strong steps to combat inflation and reduce the burden on the populace.
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