The Corporate Malpractice of Fleecing Customers

Hyundai-Nishat launched their newest offering in Pakistani market– the Tucson compact SUV on the eve of 11th August in a fully digital launch event that was streamed over its official Facebook page. The vehicle was put on display across its nationwide dealerships on the 12th of August and then the very next day, that is 13th of August, the price of Tucson was increased by Rs 200,000 on both the available variants.

Related: Hyundai Tucson Price Increased by Rs 200,000

Interestingly those who got the vehicles booked on 12th of August on its original price, including those who paid full amount to get the deliveries were also impacted by the insane price hike. The agitated & anguished public response on social platforms was obvious since the price revision was effective from the 12th of August- the very first day of bookings while the company never disclosed how many units were entitled for ‘introductory prices’.

Customers’ reactions on Twitter

This isn’t the first time that we have seen a negative public reaction after a new car launch as such cases have occurred in the past also. The greater blame has to be put on customers themselves, who perhaps get too excited and treat ordinary cars like something from out of this world.

A look back at recent car launches in Pakistan should open up our eyes, but they won’t. According to the Auto Policy 2016-21, payment at the time of booking a vehicle should not be more than 50% of its total cost and the delivery of vehicles should be within two months. Also, the car assemblers will be bound to pay a price at Kibor plus 2% prevailing at the date of final delivery in case the delivery of cars to the consumers is delayed. Interestingly however, Indus Motor Company (IMC) initiated the bookings of Toyota Yaris sedan in March 2020 requiring 100% advanced payment while people still rushed to book the vehicle in large numbers.

In April 2019, Pak Suzuki unveiled the Alto 660cc at Pakistan Auto Show (PAPS 2019) without having the need to show its interior. All the display units at the show were locked and had black tinted windows so no one could tell exactly what sort of equipment was on offer. The company didn’t even reveal its features, available trims, equipment or even prices but still initiated the booking against a sum of Rs 500,000 and customers rushed to book the vehicle in innumerable numbers.

Related: Is It Game Over for Pak Suzuki Alto?

Then the prices of Alto were revised up to 3 times within the next 6 months and the company was allegedly demanding extra amount on the pre-booked units as reported by various customers. According to unofficial sources it took several months for the company to deliver the thousands of pre-booked units while the multiple price revisions helped the company secure a huge sum of profits.

Going further back into the past, Honda Atlas collected PKR 5 billion in form of pre-bookings of the 10th generation Civic in June 2016 without having to put the vehicle on display. Approximately 5,000 potential buyers booked the Civic X by depositing Rs 1 million (non-refundable) just after seeing its photo on the advertisement. And within just 2 months of its introduction in Pakistan, Civic orders were completely booked for year 2016. Later consumers were seen posting images and videos of the substandard built quality & complaining about the miserable fit & finish and lack of presence of basics such as insulations & trunk-lining etc in the most expensive Honda Civic model in Pakistan to date.

Related: Hyundai Tucson vs Kia Sportage in Pakistan

The above are only a few of the examples shared whereas such cases occur probably after majority of new cars launches in the country. And now again people are going through the same dilemma as they will have to pay the extra amount to the company.

Perhaps we as consumers, get too excited about new cars since all that we want is to show off. People are least concerned about the equipment or the quality of the cars which they buy spending a huge amount of money, majority don’t even test-drive the cars before making up their minds perhaps they don’t care about the money being spent either as all that is required is a glistering car which can portray a praiseworthy impression on the onlookers.

Related: Pakistan-Bound Hyundai Elantra and Tucson will be Obsolete Before Launch

The Tucson might be a new model for us but as per global standards it’s almost a 6-years old vehicle that made its debut at Geneva Motor Show back in March 2015. Now reaching the end of its production run, the next generation Tucson is likely to make its world debut later this month and will probably make the newly-launched Hyundai Tucson in Pakistan an obsolete model.

Current generation Hyundai Tucson made its debut at 2015 Geneva Motor Show

With the absence of check & balance on carmakers and the auto industry, the consumers will continue to be fleeced like this. Perhaps they need to be more vigilant about making new car bookings else get prepared to be scammed again in future.

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