Honda Atlas has given yet another update to the 9 year old 5th generation City after several days of hype created on social media. Do note that hardly 3 months ago, Atlas had already introduced few cosmetic changes to the aging sedan.
It is saddening to see Atlas Honda, once the pioneers to introduce and most frequent to update their models in Pakistan, now following the footsteps of Pak Suzuki.
Honda Atlas- Once the Pioneers
The first City launched in Pakistan was the 3rd gen SX8 which was introduced in January 1997 and was updated with a facelift three years later in January 2000. 3 years later in August 2003 the new 4th gen City iDSI was launched, and was updated with a facelift in 2006, maintaining the 3 year cycle. While on 31st January 2009 the City iDSI was replaced with the 5th gen City iVTEC.
Related: The City Has Become Honda’s Cultus
Since then Honda lost its tradition to be pioneers in updating their models in Pakistan. The 5th gen City facelift that was supposed to launch in 2012 arrived in 2014 and continues to sell here with worthless updates despite in its 9th year of production in our country. It is the longest production period for any locally assembled Honda model.
Lack of Competition
Ever since the City arrived in our market, it was up against some sort of competition in different times, particularly against a Suzuki rival, be it Margalla, Baleno or the Liana. However after 2009, the Liana was already out of the competition as it was selling around a dozen units a month and hence there was no real threat for the 5th gen Honda City.
The production of Liana came to an end in 2013-14 after which the entry-level sedan playground was left entirely for City. Honda therefore are busy cashing the lack of competition as the 9 year old options remains the only choice for the consumers and have no other choice but to buy the 5th gen City.
Oligopoly is defined as the market condition that exists when there are few sellers, and as a result of which they can greatly influence price and other market factors. The 3 companies dominating the Pakistani automobile sector caters only to a particular sector of the market, thus safeguarding each other’s interests. To read more about the oligopoly in our market, click here.
Related: The Oligopoly Redefined..
Since Indus Motors have raised the prices on all Corolla variants with the launch of the 2017 facelift, this has created some space for Atlas Honda to bring the prices up. Although just three months ago the City has received an upgrade, the current improvements offered just seem to be another way to justify a price increase.
Delaying the 6th gen Launch
Honda launched the 10th gen Civic in 2016 and now it was Toyota’s turn in 2017 to throw the Corolla facelift in the market. Thanks to oligopoly, Atlas Honda will now wait for the Corolla facelift craze to dampen, after which they might bring the 6th generation City here by 2018. Internationally, the 6th gen City was launched back in 2013 and has already received a true facelift earlier this year.
2017 Honda City Facelift Prices
|1.3L MT||PKR 1,549,000|
|1.3L PT||PKR 1,689,000|
|1.5L MT||PKR 1,599,000|
|1.5L PT||PKR 1,739,000|
|Aspire 1.5L MT||PKR 1,729,000|
|Aspire 1.5L PT||PKR 1,869,000|
Pakistan currently is the only country in the world where the 5th gen City is still being sold. By dragging the 5th gen City with worthless updates, Atlas Honda is following the footsteps of Pak Suzuki, thus tarnishing their own image which might create problems for the company in future. But as long as the City sells well, we might not be able to see the 6th gen City in our market anytime soon.
Let us know your opinion regarding the 2017 Honda City facelift.
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