Pak Suzuki’s obsolete lineup saw a massive overhaul after the Auto Policy 2016-21 took effect. The company in addition to a few other improvements had to discontinue the aging MK-II Cultus after a stretchy 17 years period of assembling, not to mention the vehicle was already an obsolete model when launched in 2000 with its roots extending back to the late 1980s.
Funnily enough, it was nothing but a hatchback version of the Margalla sedan which the company sold here between 1991 and 1998. So the MK-II Cultus hatchback was “introduced” here two years after the sedan variant was officially retired in favor of the then-newer Suzuki Baleno sedan.
But to capitalize on the success of the Cultus moniker, the company chose to launch the Celerio hatchback as a replacement but renamed it Cultus. The decision worked well, as the Celerio (a completely new vehicle for the Pakistani market) saw enormous success right from the start, in contrast to how Pak Suzuki previously battled with the introduction of the Swift hatchback, and the Wagon R, both of which experienced a dreadful time leaving the showroom floors.
When launched in Pakistan in February 2017, with PKR valued at Rs 105 against a Dollar, the Cultus VXR variant was priced at PKR 12.5 lac while the VXL variant was available for PKR 13.91 lac. Later in December 2017, the company introduced the AGS variant priced at PKR 15.28 lac. By that time, the Rupee had slipped to Rs 110 against the Dollar.
Pak Suzuki though, was already 3 years late to introduce this car in Pakistan as originally this 2nd generation Celerio debuted in India in 2014 and received a facelift in October 2017.
Related: Sparing Swift, Entire Pak Suzuki Lineup Consists of Obsolete Cars
In its 6 years of lifespan in Pakistan, the Cultus has contributed with healthy sales in Pak Suzuki’s charts. It has been the second bestselling car behind Suzuki Alto in the company’s product portfolio. Its best-ever figures in a fiscal year were in FY21-22 (after the pandemic) when 23,169 units were sold outpacing its previous best of 22,763 units recorded in FY18-19. Its average sales remained 38% higher than the MK-II Cultus which itself was known as a handsome selling car in Pak Suzuki’s lineup.
But the ongoing fiscal year has brought many challenges to our import-dependent auto industry, especially in the wake of the restrictions on CKD imports imposed by the government in order to curtail the outflow of foreign reserves. Just like any other assembler, Pak Suzuki has been hit hard and the result is evident in Cultus sales too.
Related: Obsolete Suzuki Wagon R Nearing a Decade in Pakistan
In the first 9 months of this fiscal year, only 6,233 units of Cultus have been sold as opposed to 17,686 units sold in the same period of the previous fiscal year. This is already a deplorable 65% decline with no improvement in sight as Pak Suzuki continues to observe the most number of non-production days (NPDs) compared to any other assembler, due to a lack of inventory in hand.
During all these years, the Cultus (Celerio) in Pakistan has received no improvement or upgrade despite the fact that a newer generation model was introduced in India in November 2021. But the thing that has constantly kept changing over the course of time is its price. Today, the Cultus is available for a whopping PKR 37.18 lac for the VXR variant, PKR 40.84 lac for the VXL, and PKR 43.66 lac for the AGS variant.
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|Cultus VXR||Rs 12.5 lac||Rs 37.18 lac|
|Cultus VXL||Rs 13.91 lac||Rs 40.84 lac|
|Cultus AGS||Rs 15.28 lac||Rs 43.66 lac|
|1$||Rs 105+/-||Rs 285+/-|
When launched in 2017, the PKR was valued at Rs 105, today it’s dangling around Rs 285+/- against a single Dollar. So for roughly a 171% depreciation in the currency, the price of Cultus saw an increase of up to 198% for VXR, 194% for VXL, and a 186% increase for the AGS variant. Such an exorbitant increase nullifies the company’s claims of having achieved 51% localization in the case of Cultus (which hasn’t been enhanced yet), as the impact of forex fluctuations is always transferred by more than 100% onto the customers.
Pak Suzuki recently declared its biggest-ever quarterly loss, which renders the troubling times the company is currently going through due to the import restrictions and rising operation costs. However, in these circumstances, it’s hard for us to expect a new model or even an upgrade to any of the locally assembled Suzuki cars in Pakistan including the Cultus.
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