In March 1979, exactly 44 years ago the 7th generation Suzuki Carry ST90 series arrived. But who would have imagined this vehicle would continue to be sold as “new” for the next four decades? True, despite now being 44 years old, the 7th generation Carry in pickup and minivan iterations known as Ravi and Bolan respectively, continues to be sold in Pakistan.
The 44-year-old duo, in all their nothingness, are priced at a hefty PKR 17.68 lac for Ravi and PKR 18.52 lac for Bolan. Apart from a fuel-injected engine and some fairly minor cosmetic changes to the front end, the Carry (Ravi & Bolan) in Pakistan remains almost entirely unchanged. Not to mention that in Japan, the 7th generation Carry was already replaced by the 8th generation model in 1985.
Even more astonishing is when you know how many features Pak Suzuki removed from this invention, while the built quality is to die for– quite literally. When you look at the original (Japanese) Suzuki Carry, which was introduced in 1979, you can see why. It was far better built and better equipped than anything produced by Pak Suzuki today.
The Japanese-assembled 1979 Suzuki Carry had better seats, better upholstery, a beige interior, floor carpeting, chrome door handles, chrome linings, a key lock at the passenger side door, fan/ heater, radio cassette player with telescopic whip antenna, back wiper and rear windscreen defrosters, and other features that have been stripped from the local-assembled Bolan. Pak Suzuki, ironically, is still “assembling” the duo and has yet to be capable of producing one locally after more than 4 decades.
In the case of the Suzuki Carry, Pak Suzuki during all these years has only achieved 71% localization, and since the parent company no longer manufactures parts for this vintage model, the majority of the components are reportedly sourced from small vendors in China, most of which can even be easily ordered from alibaba.com.
And when we look at the prices of those things, for example, the F8A engine for around $700, the shocks & dampers for $11.5, the brake cylinder for $3, the clutch plate for $5, the steering rack for $6.5 and even dashboard for less than $10. If you add up the cost of all the key components the ST-90 would still cost around $900 or less which converts into PKR 2.55 lac. Most of these items if ordered in bulk will cost even less. This could also imply that Pak Suzuki is charging us a hefty PKR 1.5 million just to put together these parts.
Then vs Now- Bipasha Basu
One of the better ways to comprehend the 7th generation Suzuki Carry’s age is to have a look at those things which came into existence in 1979, such as the popular Bollywood diva Bipasha Basu who was born in 1979 too. Looking at her picture from the past & comparing that with today’s, one may realize how time can take its toll. She has grown from an infant to a teenager, to a rising star & now 44 years ‘old’ and is probably at the twilight of her career, however, the Carry duo in Pakistan is still called ‘brand new’.
It was reported that Pak Suzuki will finally replace the 4 decades-old Bolan with the new Every minivan since the government hinted to impose the WP29 safety standards which in addition to a number of other things, mandated the inclusion of dual airbags in every locally assembled vehicle. Bold claims were made by the government, stating that starting in June 2022, automobiles that do not meet these standards will not be permitted to be sold.
Related: Shortlisted WP29 Regulations Yet to be Implemented
However one of the core problems with the local auto industry where it stands today is the lack of regulatory measures by the government and initiatives which steer the industry toward progress. Just like there is no focus on uplifting the emission standards even when we stand 20+ years behind the rest of the world, upgrading the locally available fuel, curbing the on-money, or ‘fixing’ the car prices as it claimed, the government again went into hibernation without any followup on its words whatsoever.
Suzuki Every along with XL7 and Wagon R displayed at PAPS 2022
There were reports regarding the company introducing the Every minivan as a replacement for Bolan. Pak Suzuki even displayed the Every minivan at the 2022 Pakistan Auto Show (PAPS) in Lahore. However, given the lack of regulatory implementation, the company postponed its plans to launch Suzuki Every. Furthermore, insiders suggest that the company has no plans to introduce Every as a replacement for Bolan until 2024, implying that the 4-decade-old Bolan and its pickup iteration (Ravi) would be around for a few more years.
By 2024 the 7th gen Carry duo will be 45 years old, but the way things are going Pak Suzuki might consider dragging the Ravi & Bolan for another few years to mark the 50th anniversary of this specimen. With a dedicated insignia celebrating 5 decades of “assembly” slapped on the Bolan & Ravi may fetch the company PKR 2.0 million or more– no pun intended.
Related: Lack of Creature Comfort in Local Assembled Commercial Vehicles
The Carry is currently in its 11th generation which was unveiled at the 27th Indonesia International Motor Show in the year 2019. It was reported that the new Carry will be exported to nearly 100 countries across the globe. Nobody knows how long Pak Suzuki will continue to sell the 7th generation Carry, but only time will tell whether Pakistan is one of the lucky 100 markets where the 11th generation Suzuki Carry will be released. Only time will tell whether this will finally happen in our grandchildren’s era.
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