We have written extensively about the sale of obsolete & globally discontinued cars as “new” vehicles in Pakistan. The first name that springs to mind when you hear the word “obsolete” is indeed Pak Suzuki, but you might be surprised to learn that Kia sells just as many globally discontinued vehicles in Pakistan as Pak Suzuki.
In terms of percentage, as reported in our “Obsoletometer” article, both Pak Suzuki and Kia Lucky have 75% of obsolete cars in their lineup. In fact, 3 out of 4 Kia cars sold in Pakistan are globally retired models. The lone exception is the Kia Stonic, which is equivalent to what is available elsewhere in the world, albeit whether or not it lacks some features is a debatable subject.
Kia Stonic Pakistan TVC
Kia launched the obsolete second-generation Picanto hatchback in 2019, more than 2 years after the 3rd generation model debuted in global markets in 2017. The company again launched the 3rd generation Sorento in February 2021 a year after the debut of the 4th generation model.
Related: Pakistan is the Only Place Where Old Sportage is Still Assembled
Although the Sportage when launched in Pakistan in 2019 was parallel to the rest of the world, the South Korean automaker launched the 5th generation Sportage in June 2021 which is about to become 2 years old now. Pakistan now remains the only country where the obsolete 4th gen Kia Sportage is still being produced. In Pakistan as well as the rest of the world, the Sportage happens to be Kia’s best-selling model, but no one is certain when Kia will update its bestselling model with the most recent iteration in our country.
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Kia Lucky has experienced a sharp fall in sales as a result of the ongoing economic crisis, which has adversely affected the whole auto sector. As of the first quarter of this calendar year, the company has cumulatively sold only 2,122 units which is less than the single-month sales of Sportage in its prime. Still, the Sportage remains the bestselling model in Kia’s lineup followed by the Picanto hatchback which is the least expensive of the lot.
Related: Is Peugeot the Reason Behind Delay in New Kia Sportage Launch?
The Stonic, despite being the only new & up to date model in Kia’s local portfolio currently averages a deplorable 104 units a month. The sales average used to be around 400 units a month in its glory days. Despite being marketed as an “SUV for the city”, the Stonic being effectively a crossover version of the Kia Rio, it is just as roomy as a hatchback. And its price is the biggest hindrance because there are much better choices that are not only bigger but also have extensive inside space compared to the Stonic.
Powered by a 1.4L engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Stonic comes rich in features & equipment with 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, Hill-start assist, Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Isofix child seat anchorage, multi-function steering, 8-inch infotainment system with Apple Carplay/ Android Auto and Bluetooth Connectivity, power retract & heated side mirrors and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) as standard to name a few, but it misses out on driver assistance systems as offered in other developed markets. Still, when launched in November 2021, it was priced even higher than the flagship Toyota Corolla Altis X Grande.
Related: Kia Stonic Trying to Catch Up With Honda Civic Prices?
Since its introduction, you may have observed that our top auto portals have done their best to position the Stonic as a C-segment alternative to the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, despite the fact that it is simply recognized as a B-segment crossover elsewhere. The increasingly savvy auto buyers simply refused to accept the B-segment offering as a viable alternative to C-segment sedans simply because they were made to read about it online. Consequently, the marketing exercise backfired.
After receiving multiple revisions, (though the company has somewhat retained the prices compared to the Big 3), the Stonic is currently priced at PKR 53.5 lac for the EX and PKR 59.3 lac for the flagship EX+ variant. But with a sales average of just around 100 units a month, the company needs to do a really hard job to push the Stonic– the only up-to-date model in the lineup– into the success zone, which considering the current economic scenario seems a challenge in itself.
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