Toyota Yaris, the newest addition to the Indus Motor Company (IMC) lineup was unfortunate to have seen its launch event washed out due to COVID-19 pandemic followed by lockdowns which brought car sales to a complete halt. Since August however, thanks to the revival in economic activities, sales of locally assembled vehicles have started to regain momentum.
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Now after the end of first financial quarter (July-September 2020), the Yaris has emerged as the second bestselling car in Pakistan behind Pak Suzuki Alto. The subcompact sedan which came as a replacement of entry level Toyota Corolla variants saw 6,009 units sold during Q1, 2020.
Also interesting is the fact that Toyota Yaris in the month of September outsold Honda City & Civic combined, with 2,421 units against 2,293 units of the Honda duo, according to the data released by PAMA (Pakistan Automobiles Manufacturers Association). Bear in mind Honda Atlas since 2014, has been shy to reveal individual sales stats of both City & Civic and is the only automaker to present combined figures of two very different cars.
Despite multiple price revisions within just 7 months which have seen the prices of Toyota Yaris variants increased by Rs 190,000; the popularity of the sedan seems pretty much unaffected. This can be attributed towards the lack of available options since the only other choice in the segment is Honda City, which despite reaching close to Rs 3,000,000 is a 12-years old car now and two generations behind its global model. Honda City also remains one of the most under-equipped vehicles assembled in Pakistan without a single airbag on offer even in its priciest flagship 1.5L Aspire trim.
Compared to this the Toyota Yaris is well equipped and despite the fact that we have received a pre-facelift model while the rest of the markets have already started to get the Yaris facelift, it remains something ‘new’ and unseen for auto consumers in Pakistan. Plus having 2 engines & 2 transmission options and 6 different variants to choose from, the Yaris effectively caters to a diverse variety of consumers.
Whether Yaris is going to maintain its supremacy over its Honda rival(s) in coming months we will have to wait to find out. However a couple of more new options are expected to be introduced in the market including the Changan Alsvin and Proton Saga which will likely take some chunk of Toyota Yaris buyers away.
Furthermore Honda Atlas is reportedly working on to finally bid a farewell to the 5th gen City which will enter its 13th year of production in Pakistan in January 2021. The sedan which made its debut in Thailand in September 2008 was introduced in Pakistan in January 2009, just 4 months after its reveal but has been around since then. And apart from some futile cosmetic enhancements, it has remained almost entirely unchanged. Although the company is yet to make an official announcement, there are varying reports regarding the arrival of the out-gone 6th gen City as a replacement whereas some sources claim it will be the latest 7th generation model.
Market having more options will certainly be more fruitful for the auto consumers, but it will be equally challenging for IMC to keep Toyota Yaris attractive in presence of new rivals. Right now it does have the advantage of entering the segment ahead of the competition and while having an added gain of Toyota badge upfront, is being trusted by a good majority of people.
Yaris came as a replacement of 1.3L Corolla variants which made up the bulk of Corolla sales and helped the vehicle to remain as the bestselling car in Pakistan for over a decade. Now the responsibility is on Toyota Yaris & from the looks of it, the car seems to be filling the gap quite efficiently.
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