Recalling the Top Stories of 2023

2023 was a year nothing less than a nightmare for the local auto industry with dwindling sales, and production woes due to import restrictions imposed by the government, resulting in a series of plant shutdowns and non-production days.

On the plus side, despite back-to-back price hikes, the year saw a good number of new automobiles introduced into the market, mostly aimed at affluent consumers. Let’s take a look back at the major automotive stories of 2023.

6 Price Hikes Within the First 5 Months

Like the previous few years, 2023 will also be remembered as the year of price hikes. However, within the first 5 months of this calendar year, car prices were hiked as much as 6 times owing to depreciating PKR value against the US Dollar.

Non-Production Days

The second most common occurrence in the local car industry was the non-production days (NPDs) & plant shutdowns amid supply chain disruptions and import restrictions imposed by the government to save the outflow of precious forex reserves. Not only the leading names such as Suzuki, Toyota, and Honda have observed a long number of NPDs, but even the newcomers were no exception. The worst hit is undoubtedly Chery (Ghandhara), which has yet to resume its operations in the country after it announced to indefinitely extend plant shutdowns in May 2023.


The 2023 Pakistan Auto Show (PAPS) was perhaps the biggest motoring event of the year. Though organizers claimed over 150 companies were present, the exhibition was noted for being a lackluster activity. The majority present at the show were auto parts makers, small vendor companies, and a few motorcycle makers. Yes, symposiums were held, and industry pundits visited the show that spanned 3 days at the Expo Center in Karachi, but only Honda was there among automakers, and literally, no one else was present. Big names including Toyota, Suzuki, Hyundai, Kia, Changan, Peugeot, DFSK, BAIC, and Haval as well as heavy vehicle makers including Hino, and Yutong, decided not to participate in what is supposed to be the country’s biggest motoring show.

New Car Launches

Despite all the challenges, 2023 also saw many new cars launched in Pakistan. These include the locally assembled Haval Jolion at PKR 80.28 lac, MG ZS EV, and MG4 priced up to PKR 149.99 lac and PKR 129.90 lac respectively, Hyundai Santa Fe at up to PKR 146.99 lac, GiGi EV at PKR 46.5 lac, Seres3 EV at PKR 91.9 lac (price later reduced to PKR 83.9 lac), and Toyota Corolla Cross at up to PKR 98.49 lac.

Luxury Vehicles for the Elites Kept Pouring In

Despite import restrictions in the name of curtailing the outflow of precious foreign reserves, the rich & powerful people kept importing a large number of luxury vehicles worth millions of dollars.

EV Adoption Remains a Question Mark

Another year has gone by, and despite the government’s audacious statements made in recent years, the adoption of electric vehicles is still a long way off. Insanely high electricity costs and lack of infrastructure greatly repel the prospects of EVs becoming popular in the country, in addition to the fact that no reasonably priced EV with a practical driving range has been introduced in the market yet.

Related: Dilemma of Having an EV in Pakistan

The Gigi EV is supposedly a car for the masses, its outrageous price (almost twice as expensive as the 660cc Suzuki Alto) makes it a rather undesirable option. Another electric vehicle that garnered attention in previous years was the Rinco Aria, but it turned out to be just as unappealing as the Gigi, mainly due to its price, not readily available, non-existent dealerships & after-sales support, and less than adequate range.

Proton Woes

For Proton customers who have been waiting for their automobiles to be delivered for nearly three years, 2023 marked the end of another year without the sight of their cars. Bear in mind Proton X70 debuted in December 2020 before being formally launched in January 2021, followed by the introduction of the Proton Saga in April 2021. But a large majority of customers haven’t done anything but wait and hope for their cars to be delivered since then.

Related: Proton Affectees Appeal PM, CJ, and COAS to Intervene

Because of its incompetent local partner, the Malaysian brand continues to suffer embarrassment and irreparable damage to its reputation. The situation has deteriorated to the point where 5 major dealerships have cut ties with Proton in recent months. And, as a result of the never-ending uncertainties, more dealerships are preparing to say goodbye to Proton.

Proton bounce Alhaj

Reasons include a lack of concrete information on delivery dates for vehicles booked as far back as 2020, persistent price revisions despite late deliveries, and price revisions blatantly slapped even on those customers who made full payments & have been waiting for several months and more than a year or two to get their vehicles delivered. Moreover, those who have canceled their bookings are also facing problems getting their refunds as the cheques continue to bounce due to insufficient funds in the company’s accounts.

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