The current economic situation, along with successive price increases, has resulted in absurdly high pricing for new cars in Pakistan. Within the first 4 months of this calendar year alone, prices of new cars were increased by up to 5 times which means before you probably need to get your hair cut, a new price hike is likely to be announced. This may appear to be a joke, but this is really how things have actually been.
We have already done a piece on the steeply rising prices of Suzuki Alto– the largest selling car in Pakistan as well as Honda Civic which is now the costliest sedan in the country that has already breached the Rs 1 crore price barrier. It’s time to have a look at Toyota Corolla– the most successful sedan in Pakistan.
Related: The Outrageously Priced Suzuki Alto in Pakistan
Indus Motor Company (IMC), the assemblers of Toyota cars in Pakistan introduced the 11th generation Toyota Corolla back in July 2014 starting with the Altis and flagship Altis Grande variants. And while the world moved on to the 12th generation Corolla model in November 2018, IMC decided to keep minting the 11th gen which has now entered its 9th year of production (assembling) in the country. This makes Pakistan the only country where the 11th-gen Corolla is on sale with the 12th-gen TNGA model yet to be introduced. (South Africa is the only exception where Corolla Quest (11th gen) is sold alongside the new 12th gen Corolla hybrid).
When launched in July 2014 the flagship Corolla Altis Grande had a price tag of PKR 22.99 lac with $1 valued at around Rs 101 in the open market. Then in August 2017, IMC introduced the first Corolla facelift which saw the price of Altis Grande reach PKR 25.49 lac. By that time $1 was equal to around Rs 110.
Related: Perks of Buying a Honda Civic in Pakistan?
Then by mid-2020, the price of top-spec Grande (Altis X iterations introduced) was hiked to PKR 38.99 lac at a time when $1 was hovering around Rs 160. And today the flagship Toyota Corolla Altis X Grande is available for PKR 77.99 lac with $1 valuing around Rs 285.
Interestingly if we observe, the currency since 2014 (when $1= Rs 101) has depreciated by 185% ($1= Rs 285+/-) as of April 2023. However, the price trajectory of Corolla Altis Grande shows a whopping 240% increase. Yes, there were a few govt taxes & duties added during the course of these 9 years but a 55% difference compared to forex fluctuations raise a lot of questions.
Related: The Truth Behind Record-Breaking Suzuki Sales
When launched in 2014, IMC claimed that the Corolla is made having 60% localization using 760 localized parts. Over the course of time, the localization level has been increased to up to 68% but the car remains more than 200% vulnerable to exchange rates, why? Then the deletion program, as per which local assemblers were supposed to substitute imported parts with local ones, gradually, over a period of time. If Corolla boasts a 68% localization, then ideally only 32% of it should be impacted by forex fluctuations and not 240%, no?
Apart from bumpers & few cosmetic enhancements, the 11th gen Corolla has technically remained unchanged for almost a decade. With no new investments made to the aging assembly line, the company was perhaps in a much better position to absorb the price impacts, no? And what benefit it sees in dragging a globally obsolete model, the price of which has now reached almost Rs 8 million?
Like Alto and Civic and perhaps any other car in the market, the price of the brand-new Toyota Corolla has greatly impacted the used ones on sale in the market. People can be seen asking up to Rs 55.0 lac for a 2014 model of Altis Grande which originally used to cost just PKR 22.99 lac when launched in 2014. Those having the 2017 facelift are demanding up to Rs 62.5 lac for the model which was originally priced at PKR 25.49 lac in 2017.
But it remains true that when you go to the real market to buy a used automobile, prices aren’t that high. Instead, it’s usually the online marketplaces run by the dealers themselves that are to blame for such exorbitant prices of used cars. We believe people will stop taking these portals seriously if realistic pricing is not offered.
Related: 13th-Gen Toyota Corolla Imagined
Despite being almost a decade old, and with its highest-selling 1.3L variants discontinued in favor of the Toyota Yaris, the Corolla Altis is still the bestselling model in IMC’s local lineup as Yaris continues to struggle in presence of 6th gen Honda City and Changan Alsvin after performing well in the market during its first couple of years.
In the first quarter of the calendar year (Jan-March 2023), IMC managed to sell 1,118 units of Yaris while it sold 2,811 units of the Corolla Altis. This means the sales of the nearly decade-old Corolla stood 151% higher than the relatively new & less expensive Yaris sedan.
And it’s quite understandable why IMC would want to continue to drag the globally obsolete Corolla model in Pakistan, perhaps the profits it generates can never be matched by the 12th gen Corolla. Do share your thoughts on the Toyota Corolla’s price increase trajectory in the country using the comments section below.
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