Pakistan’s automobile market is dominated by 3 Japanese players, which sells a handful of vehicles since more than a couple of decades. While the prices of vehicles sold in Pakistan are higher than the comparative markets, the cars being sold are mostly labeled as obsolete, feature ripped and substandard, that too, in the absence of true competition.
Different automobile manufacturers including Chevrolet, Proton, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Kia, Hyundai, Chery & Geely came & went off the scene but none was able to survive against the Japanese Big 3 of our market. In the current scenario Al-Haj FAW is the only player in our market which sells passenger & commercial vehicles other than the Big 3.
FAW (First Automobile Works) is a state-owned Chinese auto giant and with over 50 years history, ranks among the top 4 Chinese auto manufacturers with an annual production of around 2.7 million units. Unlike previous Chinese companies which brought clone-cars in Pakistan, FAW offers us products which were developed using the technology acquired from their venture partners in China. In China FAW operates joint ventures with world’s leading auto manufacturers including Audi, GM (General Motors), Volkswagen, Toyota & Mazda.
Al-Haj FAW Motors (AHFM) which was incorporated as a Private Limited Company in October 2006, is doing reasonably well in the Pakistani market dominated by the Big 3. Started with two variants of heavy duty trucks, the company now has an impressive portfolio including 1.0L FAW Carrier, 1.0L XPV passenger van, 1.3L V2 hatchback, and 1.5L Sirius S80 MPV. The automaker is also dominating the truck market with a good range of heavy duty vehicles.
Unfortunately in the past, when Chinese automakers entered Pakistani market, they partnered with weaker groups without any long term plan. Most of these companies just opened up shops and sell CBUs without any major investment in the country, and when the times got tough they simply packed up and left leaving the customers in all sorts of troubles. In addition to this the products that were offered were inferior too which left a bad image on Chinese vehicles on the whole.
Unlike previous companies dealing with Chinese cars, Al-Haj FAW has injected more than 600 million into their plant. The investment is focused for a new paint shop, extended warehouse facilities and modern assembly line. The company started its operation in Pakistan with 7 acres land and is now proud to have an operating land of 27 acres. This shows the commitment of the company & is definitely not among those who come & leave.
FAW has recently started to operate state of the art Electro Deposition (ED) Plant which is the most advanced and environment friendly Water based coating method to be done on metal components. In this method, a combination of dip and spray ensures reach of paint at every corner of component having intrinsic shape as well. ED coating has become universal for a modern automotive paint shop and offers several advantages such as:
Fully automatic operation
Uniform coating and Better coverage in sharp corners & interior surfaces
Better chip and corrosion resistance
Nearly 100% paint utilization
Superior in anti-pollution, safety, health hazards
FAW is currently working on to introduce the local assembled version of the V2 hatchback and may introduce a sedan in their vehicle lineup. The expansion in their assembly plant and the implementation of the ED will ensure an increased production capacity and in wake of rising demand, will help FAW deliver a good number of vehicles in limited time. But the most important thing for us is to know that unlike previous Chinese companies which packed up & left, FAW is here to stay!
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