In Pakistan, used vehicles have remained incredibly popular. This is due to the fact that many people find new automobile prices to be beyond their affordability range, a problem that has only gotten worse since the Big 3 assemblers entered the market in the early 1990s.
Since new vehicles are never available for immediate deliveries, regardless of how popular or unpopular the model is, many people gravitate towards slightly used vehicles. In addition, assemblers initially advertise a low price as bait to lure buyers, but then purposefully delay deliveries while making significant price hikes that must be borne by the unlucky customer.
Related: Used Cars Never Depreciate in Pakistan
All around the world, vehicles are retired off the road before they turn 10 years old. However, in Pakistan, vehicles even 20 years or older can sell for a very decent amount. This is also because Pakistan never really had any laws governing emissions or safety, and amusingly, often imported cars that are 15 years old are safer and more well-equipped than the “new” ones currently available on the market.
With that said, let us look back at vehicles that sustained their resale value for over 20 years in our market. Some of these models even continued to be popular among used car buyers for more than 25 years, and many of them are still in use today, running strong, even though they are more than 30 years old.
5th gen Toyota Corolla E80
The 5th gen Toyota Corolla E80 was one of the most well-liked automobiles to ever be seen in Pakistan. It was adored for its straightforward elegance, spacious interior, simplicity of upkeep and easy availability of replacement parts, and workhorse-like performance. Many people called this shape “Chiyassi (meaning 86)” referring to the year of the most popular facelift iteration of this model.
Although the successor 6th gen Toyota Corolla started to appear in our market in late 1987, the Chiyassi kept appearing in Pakistan as a refurbished vehicle for several years to come. Even in around the year 2011/12 (after more than 25 years) the car was high in demand in the used car market before time started to take its toll on this car and it started fading away from our roads. But still today, you may come across a well-kept Corolla E80 in our market.
Daihatsu Charade G11
Daihatsu Charade was like the Vitz of 1980s. Undoubtedly the most popular and loved hatchback that we had here, which was available in several iterations including base, hi-roof, turbo, petrol, diesel, 2-door, 4-door, sunroof, multiple color interiors, and whatnot. But the most popular ones were the G11 series model available between 1983 and 1986, with both pre-facelift and facelift among the most well-liked models in Pakistan.
In the 1990s when Pak Suzuki introduced the locally assembled Khyber, many people would still prefer Charade over it due to a number of reasons including build quality, better features & equipment, and far superior performance. Charade G11 also retained its high resale value in our market for over 20 years but its popularity began to fade off in the mid-2000s when the flurry of used imported JDM cars began to dominate our roads.
This was one of the first passenger cars that Suzuki assembled in Pakistan. Back in 1982 when the vehicle began rolling off the assembly lines, it was priced at just around Rs 43,000 which was three times less than the 1000cc hatchbacks of that era. Initially known as the Suzuki 800 (round headlights/ black interior), and later called the Suzuki FX (square headlights/ beige interior), it provided many people with an opportunity to fulfill their dream of buying a brand-new car.
Today the FX is more than 35 years old but holds a very strong resale value in the used car market. It is still considered a top choice for those with limited purchasing power who want to have an efficient four-wheeler at a reasonable price. Despite all these years, the Suzuki FX is still performing strongly in the used car market with easy spare parts availability and low cost of maintenance. However, it is a significant compromise in terms of interior space when compared to other vehicles.
While Pak Suzuki only recently discontinued the Mehran in 2019, it was originally the 2nd generation Alto and an actual successor of Suzuki FX (1st gen Alto) that first appeared in the mid-1980s and was introduced here in 1988 as a replacement for Suzuki FX. Initially, it was offered as an import with an “Alto” badge, while locally assembled versions began rolling off the assembly likes in 1991 and the car was renamed “Mehran”.
Those early 90s Mehran models are now more than 30 years old but no one can recognize those since whatever cosmetic upgrades Pak Suzuki offered during the course of 3 decades was a bolt-on fit on the older models. Known as the cheapest car you can buy and maintain in this day and age, the Mehran still holds a very decent value in the used car market.
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What’s even more interesting is that one can literally buy an old dead busted one (from the 90s), and install everything new in it including the engine, suspension, bodywork/ paint, bumpers & lights, seats & upholstery, tires, electrical harnesses, etc, and can still save money when compared to buying a relatively newer model (2010+) from the market.
Browsing classified websites will reveal that the Suzuki Mehran models from the 1990s are being asked for around Rs 350,000 whereas the most recent ones (2018/19) bear a price tag of up to Rs 1,700,000 in the used car market.
The Margalla was Suzuki’s most popular sedan in Pakistan, and none of its replacements, such as the Baleno, Liana, or even the Ciaz, were able to match its sales figures. It first appeared in 1990 as a Swift sedan powered by a 1.0L engine, but later in 1991 the locally assembled one with a 1.3L engine began rolling off the Pak Suzuki assembly lines in Karachi and the car was given a new name— Margalla.
Related: Remembering Suzuki Margalla- Pak Suzuki’s Most Successful Sedan
The reason for Margalla’s success is obvious. It was a spacious, nice-looking car, easy to maintain, and spare parts availability was never an issue. Even today most parts are easily available as Pak Suzuki “introduced” its hatchback version (Cultus) two years after the Margalla was discontinued in 1998 and kept selling it (Cultus) until 2017. Most of the body parts, engine, cooling & exhaust, and suspension components, are shared between the two.
Another important factor was its simpler engineering and trouble-free compatibility with CNG, while later Suzuki sedans like the Baleno and Liana were packed with electronic and technological wizardry that local mechanics and technicians found difficult to handle. Despite being discontinued for more than 25 years, there is still a very decent demand for Suzuki Margalla in the used car market.
7th gen E100 Corolla Indus
The last one on the list of most desirable used cars is undoubtedly the 7th gen Toyota Corolla aka Indus Corolla. Why this name? Well, in 1993 the 7th generation was the first Corolla model to roll off the Indus Motors assembly lines. So the easiest way to distinguish between the imported and local ones was the use of the word ‘Indus’. As time progressed the word got attached to this generation of locally made Corolla models and interestingly even when all the rest of the generations till today are assembled by the same Indus Motor Company, only the 7th gen is termed as Indus Corolla.
Related: 7th Generation Corolla E100- The Most Popular Corolla in Pakistan
It still holds the title of being the longest-produced (assembled) Corolla model in Pakistan the tenure of which spanned for 9 years (between 1993 and 2002), though the current one on sale is here for more than 8 years already. Due to simpler maintenance, a robust engine, and a very elegant shape that was inspired by the award-winning Lexus ES300, the 7th-gen Corolla ruled the hearts of many in Pakistan.
Now nearing 30 years of its life (if we consider the foremost models) the Indus Corolla is still a very popular car in the used car market, with many imported versions reached here after it was discontinued by IMC in our country. Available in several variants and engine & transmission options, the price of the Indus Corolla in the used car market stands as high as up to Rs 23.0 lac for a well-kept model, at least if the ads published on the used-car classified websites are to be believed. Still, as far as the performance is concerned, there is no second opinion about having an Indus Corolla in your garage, maybe even as an everyday car.
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