Crossovers and SUVs are the fastest growing vehicle category in global automobile market, with sales constantly on the rise. In recent times the crossovers/ SUVs have become so popular that analysts believe they will soon overtake sedans (currently the most popular category) in terms of global sales volume.
Car buying options in our country remain very restricted and the market offerings mainly revolve around hatchbacks and sedans. However in recent years the SUVs in our market are becoming more & more popular and it looks as if the global SUV obsession is finally reaching here.
The Kia Sportage is enjoying handsome sales and has lately become the talk of the town with its rather catchy price tag coupled with good set of features & equipment on offer. Furthermore the introduction of Sportage Alpha with a price tag lower than that of Honda Civic Turbo has made it quite an attractive option for those spending nearly 4 million on expensive locally available sedans.
On the other hand, Hyundai-Nishat has recently introduced the Tucson SUV, Regal has already introduced the Glory 580 range of SUVs, Proton is in process of introducing the X70 SUV towards the end of this year, MG is gearing up to introduce a range of SUVs, FAW has indicated to launch the T77 SUV, whereas reportedly Changan has an SUV in their pipeline as well which they will be introducing here before June 2021. Plus in order to cope up with the competition, Indus Motor Company (IMC) will also be introducing the Corolla Cross in Pakistan.
Kia-Lucky, which is already benefiting from the success of Sportage will be bringing more SUVs to stamp its dominance in the segment. As per reports the company will be introducing 4 more vehicles by June 2021 to reap the benefits of automotive policy 2016-21, among which 2-3 are going to be SUVs. These are likely going to be the Sorento, as well as Seltos or Sonet (tentative). Kia may also come up with SUVs in EV segment (as a separate 4-wheeler SUV policy is in the development process) which might open doors for electrified Niro SUV.
And since Lucky Motors is not affiliated to Kia only, it can launch cars of other brands too. Reportedly the company is in talks with 2-3 European manufacturers and may launch one European SUV by June 2021. It was already reported last year that the company is in talks with Peugeot to introduce the European range of vehicles here.
According to JS Global capital research analyst Ahmed Lakhani:
“I think it shows that the rich are becoming richer. They have the buying power and they are buying. There is not a significant demand for low price vehicles that may help companies earn on volumes. The low-end passenger cars’ data doesn’t represent the actual population. The lowest price of a reliable brand is well above the Rs 1 million mark. The low-priced 70cc bikes actually represent our population, their sales are increasing every year.”
As evident from the fact that we are now in the final year of auto policy, automakers here have remained focused on premium priced segments. There is barely anything offered in the conventional sedan or hatchback segment perhaps due to the fact that profit margins there are wafer thin and automakers are contended to get ample returns with introduction of SUVs.
In a market where ordinary 1.0L hatchbacks have already crossed 2 million price bracket, entry level sedans are touching 3 million range, and the likes of Corolla and Civic are already in the territory of 4 million, the well equipped SUVs in similar price range does sound juicy, however from the looks of it, the large number of population will remain dependent on 2-wheelers as the cheapest mass produced car available today is the 660cc Alto VX which against a price tag of PKR 1.2 million, doesn’t even have an AC on offer.
Do you think the upcoming onslaught of SUVs will topple the craze of conventional sedans in Pakistan? 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