We often talk about the lack of options we use to have when it comes to buying an automobile (4-wheelers) in Pakistan. Back in the days of old (say 1970s & 80s) there was literally a lot to choose from, and there was surprisingly even more when you go back to the 1950s & 60s.
However since the dawn of 1990s, import restrictions were imposed to bring the local auto industry on its feet and the market became largely dominated by 3 Japanese players (Suzuki, Toyota & Honda) offering a limited range of products in such a way that they never rivaled each other in terms of price of segment. Though during the last 25 years or so, various other automakers stepped in to tap our market, but were quick to vanish from the scene due to one reason or another.
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Today, although few newcomers have started to operate in the country but ironically there is literally very little for the mass consumers. Some variety existed due to the presence of used JDM imports, however even those have been curbed to give more confidence to the local assemblers.
I got a chance to explore an old hard drive of mine in which some data related to automobile prices in previous decade was saved. And to my surprise we did had a lot of variety in the not-so-distant-past too, which looks like a blessing considering the limited and outrageously expensive options we have today.
Related: Free Market and the Import of CBUs
Car buying options for the masses during the Musharraf regime without a definite auto policy were much more diverse compared to what it is today. In the name of competition, newcomers today which enjoy various incentives have mostly introduced super-expensive crossovers & SUVs well beyond the reach of masses while primarily targeting the elite class, ensuring thick profits in least number of units sold without the need to generate volumes.
Below were the cars available to us during the previous decade, whereas mentioned prices are from mid 2006. With a strong economy, Rupee-Dollar parity in check and vast array of automobiles for consumers rather than handful for elites, makes that era look like a dream to most of us today. And with the influx of JDMs, the purchasing options for car buyers were enormous. Let’s have a look at the vast variety of options we had some 15/16 years ago:
Adam Motors was offering a range of locally assembled vehicles in its lineup including the entry-level Revo hatchback which was available in 800cc and 1050cc versions, Zabardast pickup in 2- and 3-ton configurations and Zabardast Jeep 4×4.
|REVO 800 CC PETROL||Rs. 279,000|
|REVO 800 CC PETROL PLUS (CNG)||Rs. 309,000|
|REVO 800 CC PETROL A/C||Rs. 325,000|
|REVO 1050 CC PETROL||Rs. 379,000|
|REVO 1050 CC PETROL PLUS (CNG)||Rs. 414,000|
|REVO 1050 CC PETROL A/C||Rs. 419,000|
|REVO 1050 CC PETROL PLUS A/C (CNG)||Rs. 449,000|
|ZABARDAST ECONO 2 TON 2600 CC||Rs. 495,000|
|ZABARDAST SUPER 3 TON 3200 CC||Rs. 539,000|
|ZABARDAST JEEP 4X4 2800 CC A/C||Rs. 940,000|
Karakoram Motors introduced the 800cc Chery QQ hatchback in 2005 as CBU which was later assembled locally as well. Though their website showed couple of more vehicles including the Chery FlagCloud sedan and Tiggo SUV but they were actually never launched.
|CHERRY 0.8L BASIC||Rs. 461,000|
|CHERRY 0.8L COMFORTABLE||Rs. 489,000|
Nexus Automobiles was dealing in Chevrolet vehicles, which were mostly CBU imported. However utilizing Ghandhara’s assembly plant they also assembled the 1000cc Joy hatchback locally. Other than local assembled Joy, their lineup consisted of 1600cc Optra saloon, 800cc Exclusive while Aveo sedan was introduced towards December 2006 and Spark hatchback in mid 2008.
|OPTRA 1600 CC (Semi Loaded)||Rs. 1,175,000|
|OPTRA L 1600 CC||Rs. 1,269,000|
|JOY MANUAL||Rs. 585,000|
|LS EXCLUSIVE||Rs. 555,000|
|AVEO 1500 CC MT||Rs. 899,000|
|AVEO 1500 CC AT||Rs. 999,000|
The 1700cc Fiat Uno diesel hatchback was assembled in Pakistan by Raja Motor Company between 2001 and 2004. Although its production was stopped in 2004, the car was available for sale at various dealerships till 2008.
|UNO PLUS||Rs. 649,000|
|UNO DELUXE||Rs. 664,000|
Dewan Mushtaq Motors was selling a range of Mitsubishi vehicles as CBU. Along with the Lancer which was the most popular product in their lineup & was available in 2 engine options, the company offered Galant, Pajero and L300 van as well.
|LANCER 1.3 GL||Rs. 839,000|
|LANCER 1.3 GLX M/T||Rs. 899,000|
|LANCER 1.3 GLX A/T||Rs. 939,000|
|LANCER 1.6 GLX M/T||Rs. 999,000|
|LANCER 1.6 GLX M/T S/R||Rs. 1,019,000|
|LANCER 1.6 GLX A/T||Rs. 1,079,000|
|LANCER 1.6 GLX A/T S/R||Rs. 1,099,000|
|GALANT M/T 2.O CC||Rs. 2,299,000|
|GALANT A/T 2.O CC||Rs. 2,349,000|
|GALANT DIESEL M/T 2.O CC||Rs. 2,499,000|
|GALANT VR 2500 CC||Rs. 2,699,000|
|GALANT VR 2500 CC||Rs. 2,799,000|
|GALANT VR SPORT 2500 CC||Rs. 2,899,000|
|PAJERO GLS M/T D 2800 CC||Rs. 3,949,000|
|PAJERO GLS A/T D 2800 CC||Rs. 4,399,000|
|PAJERO GLS A/T LTD 2800 CC||Rs. 4,499,000|
|PAJERO GLS A/T V6 P 3800 CC||Rs. 5,349,000|
|PAJERO GLS A/T V6 LTD P APP 3800 CC||Rs. 5,399,000|
|L300 (L)||Rs. 1,149,000|
|L300 (DX)||Rs. 1,499,000|
Ghandhara Nissan was also offering a range of products and they did assembled the Sunny later on as well. Their lineup consisted of Sunny in two engine capacities, Cefiro saloon, Xtrail and Patrol SUV.
|SUNNY EX M/T 1300 CC||Rs. 1,125,000|
|SUNNY EX M/T 1300 CC (CNG)||Rs. 1,149,000|
|SUNNY EX A/T 1300 CC||Rs. 1,185,000|
|SUNNY EX M/T 1600 CC||Rs. 1,289,000|
|SUNNY EX M/T 1600 CC (CNG)||Rs. 1,315,000|
|SUNNY EX A/T 1600 CC||Rs. 1,360,000|
|SUNNY EX A/T 1600 CC (CNG)||Rs. 1,390,000|
|SUNNY S.SALOON A/T 1600 CC||Rs. 1,480,000|
|CEFIRO V-6 A/T 2300 CC||Rs. 2,795,000|
|XTRAIL LE.6F DIESEL M/T 2200 CC||Rs. 2,695,000|
|XTRAIL SLX DIESEL M/T 2200 CC||Rs. 3,170,000|
|XTRAIL LE.5F PETROL M/T 2500 CC||Rs. 2,480,000|
|XTRAIL LE PETROL A/T 2500 CC||Rs. 2,512,000|
|XTRAIL SLX PETROL A/T 2500 CC||Rs. 2,840,000|
|PATROL M/T TD 42 DIESEL||Rs. 5,015,000|
Kia partnered with Dewan group was taking its last breaths in those days. Although their known cars such as Classic & Spectra etc were discontinued, they introduced a range of imported vehicles in 2006 including the 1st gen Picanto, Rio sedan as well as new Sportage before they packed up.
|PICANTO EX M/T (1.1L)||Rs. 759,000|
|PICANTO EX A/T (1.1L)||Rs. 839,000|
|RIO EX M/T (1.4L)||Rs. 999,000|
|SPORTAGE LX M/T (2.0L 4×4)||Rs. 2,099,000|
|SPORTAGE LX A/T (2.0L 4×4)||Rs. 2,249,000|
|SPORTAGE EX A/T (2.0L 4×4)||Rs. 2,499,000|
Hyundai also had enjoyed some good times in previous decade. Their lineup consisted of the 1000cc Santro as well as the hot selling Shehzore pickup. Other than that they were also offering Terracan, Sonata as well as Coupe sports as CBU during the previous decade.
|Santro EXEC||Rs. 639,000|
|Santro EXEC GV CNG||Rs. 689,000|
|Santro Club||Rs. 559,000|
|Santro Club-GV CNG||Rs. 609,000|
|Santro Club-GV SE – FIFA Special Edition||Rs. 629,000|
|Shehzore Pickup H-100||Rs. 649,000|
|Shehzore Pickup H-100 (Deckles)||Rs. 629,000|
|Terracan (M/T) 2.9L CRDI||Rs. 2,749,000|
|Terracan (A/T) 2.9L CRDI||Rs. 2,949,000|
|Sonata (M/T) 2.4L DOHC||Rs. 1,899,000|
|Sonata (A/T) 2.4L DOHC||Rs. 1,999,000|
|Coupe (M/T) 2.0L DOHC||Rs. 2,399,000|
|Coupe (A/T) 2.0L DOHC||Rs. 2,499,000|
Proton partnered with Royal Automobiles marked their entry in Pakistan in 2006. Their offering consisted of a mix of old and new products including the Gen2 sporty hatchback with 2 different engine options, Saga sedan, Wira sedan and the Impian saloon.
|SAGA 1.3L||Rs. 649,000|
|SAGA 1.3L CNG||Rs. 679,000|
|WIRA 1.5L||Rs. 729,000|
|WIRA 1.5L CNG||Rs. 769,000|
|GEN2 1.3L MT||Rs. 849,000|
|GEN2 1.3L MT CNG||Rs. 889,000|
|GEN2 1.3L AT||Rs. 898,000|
|GEN2 1.6L MT||Rs. 949,000|
|GEN2 1.6L MT CNG||Rs. 999,000|
|IMPIAN 1.6L MT||Rs. 1,049,000|
|IMPIAN 1.6L AT||Rs. 1,125,000|
SsangYong vehicles were also available in the market as CBU with Rexton SUV, Stavic van and Chairman saloon among the offerings.
|REXTON RX-270 DIESEL M/T||Rs. 2,730,000|
|REXTON RX-270 DIESEL A/T||Rs. 3,065,000|
|REXTON RX-270 DIESEL (Top of the Line)||Rs. 3,445,000|
|REXTON RX-320 PETROL (Top of the Line)||Rs. 3,225,000|
|CHAIRMAN CM 400S GASOLINE A/T||Rs. 3,875,000|
|CHAIRMAN CM 500S GASOLINE A/T||Rs. 4,375,000|
|CHAIRMAN CM 600S GASOLINE A/T||Rs. 5,375,000|
|STAVIC 2WD STANDARD M/T||Rs. 1,825,000|
|STAVIC 2WD FULL OPTION M/T||Rs. 2,295,000|
|STAVIC 4WD FULL OPTION M/T||Rs. 2,440,000|
|STAVIC 4WD FULL OPTION A/T||Rs. 2,670,000|
Now back to the regular options. Pak Suzuki’s list below would look like never-ending. Partly because of so many trims they used to offer back then compared to a very few today, as well as the availability of both Baleno and Liana sedan in that year (2006). While Liana was introduced as CBU import in 2005, the Baleno was still in production whereas locally assembled Liana started to roll off the assembly lines in Q1, 2006.
|MEHRAN LE||Rs. 331,000|
|MEHRAN LE (CNG)||Rs. 361,000|
|MEHRAN VX||Rs. 315,000|
|MEHRAN VX (CNG)||Rs. 345,000|
|MEHRAN VXR||Rs. 360,000|
|MEHRAN VXR (CNG)||Rs. 390,000|
|ALTO VX||Rs. 419,000|
|ALTO VXR||Rs. 464,000|
|ALTO VX (CNG)||Rs. 454,000|
|ALTO VXR (CNG)||Rs. 499,000|
|CULTUS VX||Rs. 504,000|
|CULTUS VXR||Rs. 555,000|
|CULTUS VXR (CNG)||Rs. 590,000|
|CULTUS VXL||Rs. 604,000|
|BALENO JXR||Rs. 749,000|
|BALENO JXR (CNG)||Rs. 789,000|
|BALENO JXL||Rs. 809,000|
|BALENO JXL (CNG)||Rs. 849,000|
|BOLAN A/C||Rs. 427,000|
|BOLAN STD||Rs. 367,000|
|BOLAN GL (CNG)||Rs. 461,000|
|BOLAN STD (CNG)||Rs. 404,000|
|RAVI PICKUP STD||Rs. 312,000|
|RAVI STD (CNG)||Rs. 344,000|
|POTOHAR STD||Rs. 618,000|
|POTOHAR A/C||Rs. 678,000|
|LIANA 1.6 M/T (IMPORTED)||Rs. 1,215,000|
|LIANA 1.6 A/T (IMPORTED)||Rs. 1,315,000|
|LIANA 1.3 RXI M/T||Rs. 794,000|
|LIANA 1.3 RXI M/T (CNG)||Rs. 849,000|
|LIANA LXI 1.3L M/T||Rs. 859,000|
|LIANA LXI 1.3L M/T SPORT||Rs. 899,000|
|LIANA 1.6L EMINENT||Rs. 929,000|
|VITARA M/T||Rs. 2,350,000|
|VITARA A/T||Rs. 2,450,000|
|APV M/T||Rs. 1,029,000|
|JIMNY M/T||Rs. 1,040,000|
|JIMNY A/T||Rs. 1,120,000|
Honda’s product lineup also looked quite impressive back then. Year 2006 also witnessed quite a few developments including the launch of City facelift, the introduction of City Vtec Steermatic, as well as the introduction of 8th gen Civic. Before July 2006, the 7th gen Civic was available with 2 engine options as well.
|CITY 1.3L M/T||Rs. 839,000|
|CITY 1.3L VARIO||Rs. 894,000|
|CITY 1.5L VTEC Steermatic||Rs. 1,029,000|
|CIVIC1.8L i-VTEC M/T||Rs. 1,329,000|
|CIVIC 1.8L i-VTEC P/T||Rs. 1,369,000|
|CIVIC 1.8L VTi Oriel M/T||Rs. 1,459,000|
|CIVIC 1.8L VTI VTi Oriel P/T||Rs. 1,499,000|
|ACCORD 2.4L iVTEC A/T||Rs. 2,399,000|
|CIVIC 1.5L EXI M/T||Rs. 10,02,000|
|CIVIC 1.5L EXI A/T||Rs. 10,42,000|
|CIVIC 1.6L VTI M/T||Rs. 11,47,000|
|CIVIC 1.6L VTI ORIEL M/T||Rs. 11,97,000|
|CIVIC 1.6L VTI P/T||Rs. 12,37,000|
|CIVIC 1.6L VTI ORIEL P/T||Rs. 12,87,000|
Indus Motor Company used to assemble the 800cc Cuore hatchback which was also the only small car to come equipped with an automatic transmission option.
|CUORE CX||Rs. 434,000|
|CUORE CX ECO (CNG )||Rs. 474,000|
|CUORE CX A/T||Rs. 464,000|
Indus Motor Company was selling the 9th gen Corolla back then, along with Camry, Hilux and Land Cruiser in their offerings. Toyota Corolla was available with 1300cc petrol and 2000cc diesel engines whereas the 1600cc SE Saloon was discontinued a year earlier in favor of the 1.8 liter Corolla Altis.
|COROLLA 1.3L XLI||Rs. 879,000|
|COROLLA 1.3L GLI||Rs. 969,000|
|ALTIS 1.8L M/T||Rs. 1,219,000|
|ALTIS 1.8L A/T||Rs. 1,309,000|
|COROLLA 2.OD||Rs. 1,039,000|
|COROLLA 2.OD SALOON||Rs. 1,279,000|
|HILUX 4X2 STD||Rs. 859,000|
|HILUX DELUXE||Rs. 799,000|
|HILUX 4×4||Rs. 834,000|
|CAMRY 2.4L A/T||Rs. 2,750,000|
|CAMRY 2.4L M/T||Rs. 2,499,000|
|LAND CRUISER PRADO 3.0L A/T||Rs. 4,950,000|
|LAND CRUISER PRADO 3.0L M/T||Rs. 4,650,000|
And this wasn’t the end, as there were more options in form of Gonow (Chinese Prado copy), Changan Kalaam/ Gilgit, Roma (FAW), Sogo and few other out of market options including the Geely CK sedan by SUS Motors which was introduced in 2007. And if we add what the used JDMs offered us back in those days, the list become rather inestimable.
Related: Local Assembled vs JDM- Which One You’ll Buy?
Popular JDMs included Toyota Corolla JDM (Assista/ Luxel), Premio, Allion, Mark X, Vitz, Duet, IST, Platz, Mitsubishi Minica, Pajero Mini, Lancer & Estate, Nissan March, Honda Life, Accord CL7/9, Daihatsu Mira, Suzuki Alto, Kei, Cervo, Lepo and much more.
At that time 1 Dollar was equal to 60.2 Rupees, so economy was also quite strong, backed by good purchase power of the masses as well as ease of financing options. If one was supposed to buy a small hatchback he was able to choose between Suzuki Mehran, Chery QQ, Daihatsu Cuore as well as Adam Revo. The 1000cc hatchbacks consisted of Hyundai Santro, Chevrolet Joy, Suzuki Cultus and Suzuki Alto.
Related: Understanding JDM, Imported & Local Assembled Cars
Similarly the entry-level sedan market had plenty of reasonably priced options such as Corolla XLI (PKR 8.79 lac), Honda City (PKR 8.39 lac), Mitsubishi Lancer GL (PKR 8.39 Lac), Liana RXI (PKR 7.94 lac), Proton Gen2 (PKR 8.49 lac) and Chevrolet Aveo 1500cc (PKR 8.9 lac) to name a few.
Back to this era…
Coming back to this era, car prices in Pakistan have crossed all limits of sanity with rapidly depreciating currency value, increased shipping and raw material costs and government’s inability to monitor or control the prices. Usually the impact of aforementioned reasons is transferred by more than 100% on to the consumers, despite the fact that the assemblers claim to have achieved up to 70% localization.
Related: Can’t Even Avail Auto Financing, Who’s Buying All These Cars?
Currently the assemblers are relaxed due to the pile up of advance bookings in their hands whose delivery time ranges between 2 to 9 months. However the second half of fiscal year 2022-23 is likely from when the local auto industry will begin to feel the heat as a 30 to 35% decline in sales is anticipated by the assemblers. Will the economic & political crisis of the country settle by that time, we will have to wait to find out. Want to share your thoughts, 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