Car buying options in Pakistan became extremely restricted ever since the Big 3 came into picture in the early 90s. This happened due to the import restrictions that were placed to get the local industry stand on its feet.
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During all these years different automakers stepped into the scene but none was able to withstand and got soon faded into history due to various reasons. Lately the sedan market has been a musical chair between Toyota and Honda since Suzuki left the playfield exposed for the two ever since the demise of Liana whereas Ciaz despite being capable was never really pitted to compete against Toyota Corolla or Honda City.
Now in the last year of Auto Policy 2016-21 we are set to witness a new wave of competition in the sedan segment as everything that was offered by the new entrants before was targeted towards the elites. Two of these new sedan options are likely to be aimed towards mass market buyers including the Changan Alsvin and Proton Saga, spy shots of both these cars have appeared multiple times already whereas the launch is expected either towards the end of this year or early next year.
However the most crucial aspect which will determine the success of these cars in Pakistan is the price factor. Currently the newly introduced Toyota Yaris is priced from PKR 24.69 lac for the base 1.3L variant whereas the 5th gen Honda City 1.3L is available from PKR 24.49 lac. In order to attract buyers the 1.3L Proton Saga need to be priced lower than the above mentioned two, at least as far as the base variant is concerned.
We have seen in past that cars such as FAW V2 despite being well equipped and priced considerably lower than other available options find it harder to cut through the competition. However in addition to not-so-pleasing looks, V2’s key problem was the availability of only 1 variant & single transmission which won’t be the case with Al-Haj’s upcoming 1.3L Proton Saga sedan as it will reportedly come equipped with multiple variants & transmission options as evident from the recent spy shots where 1 test mule can be seen wearing 15” alloys whereas the other one had smaller 14” steel rims.
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As for Changan, the Alsvin sedan will likely have a 1.5 liter engine under its hood and is going to compete against the 1.5L City & its Aspire variant and Toyota Yaris AtivX the prices of which starts from PKR 25.29 lac, PKR 26.99 lac and PKR 27.89 lac respectively.
Today even the smaller 1.0L hatchbacks (Cultus AGS/ Picanto AT) are priced at PKR 2.0 million so one can’t really expect any new sedan to be priced lower than this, however if Alsvin and Saga are priced in the same league of Yaris and City then we believe it will be very difficult for these two to magnetize buyers in numbers decent enough to be able to consider a success.
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What do you think should be the ideal price of Proton Saga and Changan Alsvin sedans in Pakistan? 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