Should We Begin Importing Second-Hand Cars from India?

In the past few years, car prices in Pakistan have really spiraled out of control, and things have gotten even worse, with prices of new cars increasing by 5 times in just the first 3 months of this calendar year.

The impact of astronomical price increases has also affected the prices of used cars in the market. While the majority can no longer afford brand-new cars, the middle class (or salaried class) is now having difficulty even affording a used car. Battling with inflation, shrinking purchase power, and added burden in utilities & other taxes, the cost of used cars (less than 5 years old) in Pakistan has multiplied by 3 times within the last 12 months. Those between 5-10 years of usage are now double the price compared to the previous year. While 10+ years old cars are generally selling with a sizeable increase in price compared to that from last year.

We have been importing used Japanese cars (JDMs) on a regular basis for a very long time. Every few years, the import is halted because the local auto industry sees these “used cars” as a threat, but then a change in government & decision-makers opens the door for these used JDMs again. However, one would believe there is a significant opportunity that hasn’t been tapped yet, especially after considering the costs of cars sold across the border, particularly used cars.

Related: Nearly 17 Cars to Discontinue in India in 2023

In India, due to stricter & constantly updating emission & safety regulations, you cannot use a car that’s 15 years old. No matter how good the condition of your vehicle is, once it’s more than 15 years old it’s either scrapped or is usable only in third-tier cities or rural areas in India. So the closer the car gets to its 15-year age, the cheaper it becomes.

retired girl

However, because no such regulation exists in Pakistan, as assemblers may even launch globally discontinued models under the guise of “new,” these used Indian cars, instead of being discarded or scrapped, can be refurbished and sent to Pakistan, which not only vouch for an ideal business opportunity but will also help bring prices (of used cars) in our country significantly down.

Related: These Cars in India are Cheaper than Alto- the Cheapest Car of Pakistan

Yes, there is a huge variety of cars in India most of which are not available in Pakistan, but there is a good number of those which are common between the two countries, for example, Toyota Fortuner, Toyota Yaris & Corolla (certain models), Suzuki Celerio (Cultus), Wagon R, Mehran (Maruti 800), Suzuki Swift, Suzuki Ciaz, Honda City, Civic (certain models), Honda BR-V, Hyundai Elantra, Tucson, and Isuzu D-Max to name a few.

Price comparison of used Honda Civic Reborn: here vs there

To get an idea of the prices of used cars in India, you can get a 2008 Honda Civic Reborn for around INR 125,000 which converts to around PKR 430,000. Whereas the same model in Pakistan is being asked for around PKR 30 lac which is almost 7 times the converted price of the Indian Civic.

Related: Why Pakistan Usually Get Globally-Retired Cars?

Even older vehicles may sell for less than INR 100,000, and the converted price is astounding considering the sort of vehicle that can be purchased at this price. The screenshots below will help you understand what I’m talking about. The secondhand car market in Pakistan offers comparable vehicles for close to an 8–10 fold increase in price.

Just a glimpse of the prices of used cars in India

And it’s not just the case with older cars. Take Toyota Yaris for example, the 2018 model in India cost around INR 6.9 lac in the used car market there. Over here, the 2020/21 models are being asked for around PKR 58.0 lac which is way more than the converted price of the Indian Yaris which will hardly be around PKR 27.0 lac. Not to mention even the base model of the Indian Yaris came equipped with 7 airbags and for half the money, the Yaris in India have plenty of bells & whistles such as projector headlamps, roof-mounted AC vents, TPMS, etc which are missing even from the most expensive Yaris Ativ X variants here.

Price comparison of used Toyota Yaris: here vs there

Although trade between the two nations is suspended, we have occasionally been happy to import onions and tomatoes from India. So why not cars, if it works to bring the unchecked automobile prices in our country under control? I am aware that many people might disagree with me, but if rival nations like China and India, Japan and China, and the United States & Japan who were bombed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, can all trade and Vietnam despite being attacked can do trade with the United States, then why can’t India and Pakistan do the same? I would be very interested in hearing your opinion on this.

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