Hyundai having teamed up with Nishat Group marked its re-entry in Pakistan after the Auto Policy 2016-21 was announced. Groundbreaking of Hyundai’s vehicle assembly plant at Faisalabad’s M-3 Industrial City took place in December 2017 and within a couple of years the company was able to begin its local operations.
Hyundai saw a very good reception during its earlier stint in Pakistan with Dewan Group between 1999 and 2007/08. Cars like the Hyundai Santro hatchback and Shehzore 1-ton commercial pickup became the talk of the town before the local partner stumbled into miseries. Dewan acquired Pakland Cement in 2004 for Rs 1.1 billion in cash soon after which it started to post losses cascading into problems for the entire group in just 24 months, eventually resulting in Hyundai’s abrupt exit from the market.
Now with a mix of new & obsolete cars in its new chapter, Hyundai-Nishat has emerged as the best performer in the automotive landscape of Pakistan despite a dreadful market slowdown. Among the locally assembled options, the company sells the Sonata D-segment sedan and Santa Fe SUV among its up-to-date offerings whereas sells the previous generations of Elantra, and Tucson in our market. It also sells the Porter commercial pickup which is doing fairly well among the competition.
Although Hyundai has been doing good in terms of sales, it still lacks a presence in the hatchback and B-segment sedan market. And while the company has already said it has no plans for the introduction of a small hatchback, such as the new i10 or the Santro, one can still expect it to introduce the Verna sedan that is considered a capable rival of Honda City and Toyota Yaris.
Verna is sold in various markets across the globe using different names such as Accent, and Solaris. Early this year, Verna’s newest 6th-generation model—which is more in line with its larger Elantra sibling—was introduced in India earlier this year. The car has been a popular choice in our neighboring country and is considered the second bestselling sedan in its segment.
But considering the sort of competition we have, even the previous 5th-generation Verna can do wonders for Hyundai-Nishat should the company consider bringing it here, as it’s relatively easier (as well as preferable) for any automaker to introduce a globally discontinued model in Pakistan.
Plus the 5th-gen Hyundai Verna has decent looks, a rich list of features & equipment, and a relatively downsized 1.4L engine that produces 100 hp of power and 134Nm of torque and comes paired with either a 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic, or 7-speed DCT gearbox options.
Among sedans, the C-segment Hyundai Elantra in Pakistan comes with a 1.6L engine (GL variant) that is priced at PKR 63.99 lac while the 2.0L GLS variant is available for PKR 69.30 lac. Whereas B-segment rivals, such as Honda City is priced between PKR 46.99 lac and PKR 58.49 lac, while Toyota Yaris is priced between PKR 43.99 lac and PKR 58.49 lac. So a Hyundai Verna priced in the league of PKR 45.0 lac to PKR 55.0 lac will be a preferable option for sedan buyers. Not to mention, both City and Yaris in Pakistan are previous-generation models.
In India, the new 6th generation Verna is priced from INR 10.89 lac which converts into PKR 36.99 lac as per today’s exchange rate (1 INR= 3.40 PKR). So there is definitely room for the previous generation Hyundai Verna to be introduced in Pakistan in the aforementioned price bracket.
The Verna does have all the bells & whistles it takes to become a success in the Pakistani market. If priced competitively, it can surely help Hyundai-Nishat gain a good share of the B-segment sedan market. Do you think the company should consider introducing the 6th-gen Verna in our country, let us know with your comments.
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