Japanese cars began to outnumber European rivals in our market from late 1960s & 70s primarily due to smaller & practical dimensions, fuel efficient engines, simple & robust engineering that meant peace of mind, reliability and easier maintenance. Brands such as Toyota, Datsun (Nissan), Mazda, Mitsubishi etc became household names replacing the Vauxhall, Renault, Fiat, Volkswagen and likes.
Later when local assemblers came into the picture, market became dominated largely by Suzuki, Toyota and Honda. And while Nissan and Mitsubishi kept making brief appearances after regular intervals, for example Ghandhara’s attempt to make way into the market with Nissan Sunny in late 90s and then again in mid 2000s along with Dewan Mushtaq’s cameo with the Lancer, Galant & Pajero, the one Japanese automaker that hasn’t been on the scene again is Mazda.
There were a good number of Mazda models which were extremely popular in Pakistan in 70s & 80s such as the Mazda 1500 Luce, Familia 1300, 808, 323, 626 and 929 etc. However when import restrictions of the 90s came into effect, they simply vanished from the scene. Though one can see some rare Mazda models among used Japanese imports these days such as the JDM Axela (Mazda3 sedan) and other cars such as RX-8, Carol & Scrum etc. Still considering the sort of options Mazda has to offer in other markets today, makes us wonder why the Japanese automaker hasn’t been here in the first place and no other local group have made an attempt to partner with them to bring an array of quality Mazda cars here.
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Mazda which has a rich 102 years history is ranked as 17th largest automaker in the world in terms of vehicle production, compared to Toyota (no.1), Honda (no.7) and Suzuki (no.11). However they do have a strong foothold in various markets including the right-hand drive ones such as Malaysia, Thailand and Australia. Recently the company has given a notable refresh to its Mazda2 B-segment car that’s available in both hatchback as well as sedan forms and competes against the likes of Toyota Yaris and Honda City.
It comes available in 1.3L and 1.5L engine options from Mazda’s SkyActiv stable with either 5-speed or 6-speed manual & 6-speed automatic transmission depending on market where its offered. Standard features on all 2022 Mazda2 models include LED headlights, dual airbags, ABS with EBD and BA, seatbelt reminders for all seats, cruise control, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless push-button start, blind-spot monitoring, dynamic stability control, G-Vectoring Control Plus, rear parking sensors, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, reversing camera, and Smart City Brake Support-Forward and Reverse with pedestrian detection.
Going up the lineup there is Mazda3 which also comes in both sedan and hatchback forms and competes against the likes of C-segment Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. The car has won an array of awards in key markets and is loved for its design, quality, features and drive comfort. Then there is Mazda6 to compete against Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
And then a good range of CX branded crossovers including the CX3, CX30, CX5, CX8 and CX9 as well as the BT-50 double cabin pickup truck. Mazda also has MX-5 performance car in its portfolio as well as an electric vehicle called the MX-30.
The auto policy allowed South Korean and several Chinese automakers to step in the market, however the likes of quality cars for the masses such as those from Mazda will always be missed. Do you think Mazda cars should make a proper comeback in Pakistan, share your thoughts in the comment sections below.
The current range of Mazda cars
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