Honda launched the all new 2020 City sedan in Thailand on the 25th of November. This makes the City nameplate enter its 7th generation (call it 5th gen in terms of sedan version ever since it was resurrected in 1996).
Pakistan has always been among the prime markets to have received the City sedan between 1997 and 2009. The first City SX8 was introduced in Pakistan in January 1997– hardly 8 months after its production began in Ayutthaya, Thailand in April 1996. Pakistan was also one of the first markets to receive its facelift in January 2000.
Similarly the 4th generation iDSI made its debut in November 2002 and reached Pakistan in August 2003– 9 months after its debut. The facelift arrived in international markets in September 2005 and was introduced in Pakistan in January 2006– only 4 months after it was unveiled.
Then the 5th gen City was unveiled in Thailand in September 2008 and hardly 4 months later was introduced in Pakistan in January 2009. However back then nobody knew this particular model will become Honda’s Mehran as the company skipped the 6th gen model altogether and is still producing the 5th gen for more than 10 years now.
In other markets, the 5th gen City received a facelift in 2011 and was replaced by the 6th gen model in 2013, which after completing its 6 years tenure has been replaced by the all new 7th gen City sedan.
Related: Honda and Facelifts- Then & Now
The 5th gen City in Pakistan has received the most number of facelifts. Even in 2017, Honda Atlas released two facelifts and then 2 more in the next 18 months. And by facelifts we don’t mean thorough facelifts like the 3rd gen SX8 or the 4th gen iSDI, in fact these are just minor grille, light or wheel design changes and addition of notorious shark fin antennas. The 5th gen City sedan continues to be sold despite having been in production since 2009, the longest period for any locally assembled Honda model.
One of the core reasons behind a stretchy period of the 5th gen City is the absence of competition. Ever since the City arrived in our market, it was up against some sort of rivalry in different times, be it Margalla, Baleno or the Liana. However after 2009, since the Liana was already out of the race & was selling around just a dozen units a month, there was no real threat for the 5th gen Honda City in Pakistan.
Now that the 7th gen has made its debut, Honda having skipped the 6th gen altogether might consider introducing the new City here. However considering the economic circumstances, and the way the company is facing hard times clearing its stocks, it seems quite difficult. Furthermore since they are already selling an 11 year old model (without a single airbag) priced from PKR 23.09 lac, the new model (if introduced) will definitely be priced even higher. Although not to mention, the 2020 Honda City in Thailand with all the improvements comes cheaper than the 6th gen model it replaced.
Do you think Honda Atlas should consider introducing the all new 2020 City in Pakistan or continue with the 5th gen Facelift x Facelift2 x Facelift4? Let us know with your comments.
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