During the last few years car prices have witnessed a sharp incline in Pakistan and with successive revisions are rapidly going out of the reach of masses. This trend of rising car prices is also reflected in the used car market, the crazier the prices of a brand new car, the price tag of a used car is ever more lunatic.
However as always there are two sorts of mindsets that exist. Those people who will label new cars as expensive– which they truly are without doubt– and prefer opting for a used car in similar budget. Then there are those for whom there is nothing better than a brand new car with warranty which ensures peace of mind and a long term trouble-free ownership experience.
Related: New vs Old- What Do You Prefer?
Off course both theories have their own pros and cons so the decision to opt for a well equipped used car over an overpriced new one is always an interesting thing to conclude. For example a brand new Suzuki Alto VXL 660cc is available for PKR 16.33 lac, the on-road cost makes it close to PKR 1.7m. However in this price range a used car buyer can get the likes of well kept 10th gen Toyota Corolla 1.3 (2010-2013 models depending on city/ region), Honda City 2010/12 models, Honda Civic (8th gen) and even better equipped imported options such as Nissan Dayz 2016+, Daihatsu Mira 2014+, Toyota Vitz and Passo both 2010+ models and plenty of other options.
Off course in a new car you get warranty and peace of mind, but it remains a fact that local assembled ones are largely under-equipped plus the build quality & workmanship is yet to match the export standards. However in case of used (particularly the JDMs) you get a much better vehicle which comes rich in equipment, is safer and has modern fuel efficient engine under its hood, but it’s a compromise over sparingly available spares, relatively expensive maintenance, lack of warranty & after sales support and the fear of getting your hands on a tampered unit.
Same goes with other examples with Honda City and Toyota Yaris available between PKR 2.5 to 3.0 million, for Toyota Corolla you need to spend between PKR 3.3 to 4.0 million and up to PKR 4.7 million for Honda Civic Turbo. And with a price this high, one can always get a much better used vehicle– even including the luxury options.
There is another interesting aspect to this discussion. Not so long ago, a brand new Honda City 1.3 was available for PKR 15.49 lac (year 2017), which by 2019 had already reached PKR 2.3 million. Those who called the 1.5m City overpriced in 2017 had no choice but to buy the same car from used car market after 2 years of usage against PKR 2.0m since the brand new was available for a much higher price in just a couple of years.
Although Pakistan is the 6th most populous country in the world with a population nearing 211 million as of January 2019 but when it comes to automobile production, Pakistan pipettes out less than 2 lac units annually. Plus ironically new cars available in Pakistan are the most expensive in the region, yet outdated, under-spec, and are considered a compromise in quality & safety. For the sake of comparison, Thailand has a population of just 69 million, which is almost three times less than ours, but it rolls out 2 million vehicles annually. It is also considered a regional hub for automobile exports with phenomenal quality standards.
From the looks of it car prices will continue to creep up & there is no coming back. Unless there is a true competition in the market and a proper regulation over this sector things won’t change. Although Auto-Policy 2016-21 opened doors for various models to be launched in Pakistan but sadly it looks as if the country is becoming a dumping ground for old & obsolete with most automakers in process of introducing models which are done from the rest of the world. This goes to show the standards of our auto industry which should now open eyes of the decision makers to initiate bringing improvements in this sector in true manner.
So which school of though you belong to? Do you prefer buying the new or favor purchasing the used.
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