With a handful of options in the market and the alleged cartelization in the auto sector, the sedan market for long has been like a coin with 2 faces– Toyota and Honda. Ever since the departure of Suzuki Liana the playfield has been left open for Honda and Toyota to enjoy, which in return never introduce smaller cars (hatchbacks) in Pakistan despite having some exceptionally successful smaller vehicles offered in regional markets.
The Auto Policy 2016-21 opened up doors for new entrants which saw addition of new options in the market, however those options have largely remained targeted towards those with strong purchase power, wandering way out of the reach of mass market buyers.
The 4 Honda & Toyota sedans that are assembled locally
There are currently 4 sedans available in the market, 2 each by Toyota & Honda in subcompact and compact category. Honda City and the newly introduced Toyota Yaris are among the entry level subcompact sedans whereas the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla Altis range is there to cater the compact sedan segment. Now in the last year of Auto Policy 2016-21, we are finally about to witness some new additions among the sedans and it looks as if the Japanese dominance in this segment is finally coming to an end.
Al-Haj Automotive having teamed up with Malaysian automaker Proton is all set to introduce the 1.3L Saga sedan. Under the hood, the Proton Saga for Pakistan instead of the regular 1,332cc unit will have a specifically slightly downsized 1,299cc engine to gain tax benefits and will have 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission options on offer. It will primarily compete against the 1.3L Honda City and Toyota Yaris variants.
Master Motors having joined hands with Chinese auto giant Changan will be introducing the 1.5L Alsvin sedan. It will compete against the likes of 1.5L Honda City Aspire and Toyota Yaris AtivX variants with 5-speed manual and 5-speed automatic transmission options.
Kia-Lucky is well on course to introduce the Cerato sedan in Pakistan that will have a 1.6 liter engine under the hood with 6-speed manual & 6-speed automatic transmission options. The Cerato will ideally go against the 1.6L Toyota Corolla Altis variants but with a supposedly lower price tag will create problems for Corolla Altis Grande & Honda Civic as well.
Hyundai-Nishat is in process of launching the Elantra sedan that will ideally take on the likes of Honda Civic and Corolla Altis variants. The Pakistan-bound Hyundai Elantra will likely have a 1.6 liter engine under its hood mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
These 4 sedans, all of which are non-Japanese in origin will be introduced either towards the end of this year or early next year while the local assembling will commence before June 2021 which is when the current auto policy is going to expire. These new sedans are expected to create a stir in the market and are believed to be priced lower while offering more value for money compared to the existing options. Do you think the newcomers will ultimately end the Japanese monopoly in the sedan segment? 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