Suzuki Mehran is Still a Viable Budget-Friendly Small Car for the Masses

It’s been more than 4 years since the Suzuki Mehran, the entry-level 800cc hatchback (originally a 2nd-gen Suzuki Alto) was discontinued in Pakistan after a stretchy 30-year production run. It was replaced by the 660cc 8th generation Alto as Pak Suzuki’s cheapest hatchback option in the country.

Since its launch, the Alto has broken multiple sales records, including some set by Mehran. However, the price of cars in Pakistan has increased dramatically over the past couple of years, making even the entry-level Suzuki Alto unaffordable for most people.

When Mehran was discontinued in 2019, it was priced at PKR 7.99 lac for VX, and PKR 8.8 lac for the VXR variant, however a VX limited edition (with AC) was introduced a few months before the discontinuation which was priced at PKR 8.25 lac. Compared to this, the Alto when launched was priced at PKR 9.99 lac for VX, PKR 11.01 lac for VXR, and PKR 12.95 lac for the VXL variant.

Today, the price of the top-spec Alto VXL AGS is a whopping PKR 29.35 lac while even the barebone VX variant costs PKR 22.51 lac, not to mention the Alto VX comes without AC, alloy wheels, wheel caps, power windows/mirrors, matching door handles/ side mirrors & cd player as well as deprived of the safety features including ABS and airbags.

Related: The Outrageously Priced Suzuki Alto in Pakistan

While Prince Pearl is there as a cheap entry-level hatchback, its limited production capacity and limited nationwide presence make it a rather impractical option for the masses across the country, still it’s a good buy in its price & has a lot to offer albeit with a rather compromised quality. United Bravo was another option that went out of the race due to its limited availability and subpar quality. Due to this, for individuals seeking an economical mode of transportation, a used Suzuki Mehran still remains a very viable option.

If you are able to get a used Suzuki Mehran in immaculate condition, the price can range between PKR 12.0 lac to PKR 14.0 lac (can vary depending on the city). However, since the car was produced between 1989 and 2019, that too without any significant change whatsoever, you can even get an older model at a fairly lower price without the need to worry about spares because everything of a newer model is literally a bolt-on fit to the older model.

Related: Comprehensive Guide: Buying a Used Car in Pakistan

You can buy, say a 2002 model and slap the bumper, headlights, and tail lights of a new Mehran without requiring any alterations. Plus the engine, suspension, and everything related to the interior & functionality of the car remain unchanged so maintaining Mehran is probably the easiest among any car available in the market. The only significant change it underwent was the fuel-injection system which was introduced with Mehran EFi in 2012, when Pakistan officially mandated Euro-2 standards.

Access to the spares is also not a problem at all, as parts are widely available throughout the country at dirt-cheap prices. The major drawback of Mehran is of course its lack of safety equipment, as it has no airbags, no ABS, etc, and its compromised body shell that lacks any crumple zones or side beams whatsoever. So god forbid, in the event of a collision, Mehran (alongside Ravi & Bolan) remains one of the most vulnerable vehicles out there.

Related: Rising Difference in Motorcycle & Car Prices & the Need to Fill the Gap

Back when Mehran was available as a brand new car, the price difference between it and an entry-level 70cc motorcycle was hardly around Rs 250,000. Today, that price difference has stretched to over Rs 20.0 lac, so one can imagine how difficult it is for someone willing to transition from a 2-wheeler to an entry-level 4-wheeler. Hence the popularity & demand of Suzuki Mehran in the used car market remains high.

It’s a matter of concern for the government to give access to affordable mobility solutions to the masses with Pakistan’s vehicle ownership ratio being the lowest in the region, that too, in the absence of proper public transport. A 2022 Gallup Survey found that 93% of Pakistanis said they did not own a car; most of those who said this were living in rural regions (95%) than in urban areas (87%).

Related: Demand for Motorcycles and the New Auto Policy for Safer Cars

For this, modern, safer, and fuel-efficient cars need to be introduced catering to the masses which will eventually generate healthy competition and will help the country achieve volumetric sales & production, something that is lacking in a protectionist market where a handful of players offer a handful of options, where output always remains lower than the production capacity, and where over-expensive vehicles for a few elites are preferred over reasonably-priced quality cars for the masses.

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