Without doubt, Toyota Hilux is one of the most successful pickup truck in the world and has earned its reputation as a trusted and highly reliable commercial & recreational vehicle.
Like everywhere else, the Hilux has an unchallenged presence in Pakistan and is considered as a solitary champion in the pickup truck segment of our market. However in late 2018 a new entrant wanting a share of its pie emerged as Ghandhara Industries Limited introduced the Isuzu D-MAX range of pickup trucks to go against the Toyota Hilux variants.
Initially it was believed that the locally assembled Isuzu D-MAX will give a tough time to Toyota Hilux since not only it was well equipped but was considerably cheaper in terms of price compared to the Hilux. When launched, the D-MAX variants were priced from Rs 300,000 to up to Rs 700,000 cheaper than corresponding Hilux variants. By the end of FY2019-20 Isuzu D-MAX was able to attain a nearly 15% share of the pickup truck market against Toyota Hilux, but then things started to change drastically.
As of the first 6 months of this fiscal year 2020-21, Ghandhara has managed to sell just 141 units of D-MAX averaging only 23 units a month. The cumulative half-year sales of D-MAX are 4-times less than that of the lowest sales in a month of Toyoyta Hilux during this period, which were 486 units in July 2020. Compared to 141 units of D-MAX, the Hilux saw sales of 3,620 units during 1H-FY2020-21.
This resulted in D-MAX’s market share reducing from 15% to an appalling 3.9% as of December 2020. Sales of Toyota Hilux were doubled compared to the data from the corresponding period of previous fiscal year, whereas D-MAX suffered from a 46% reduction in sales while setting a new record of selling just 3 units in November 2020– the lowest in a month it ever achieved.
Data source: PAMA
The primary reason of this deplorable decline in sales for Isuzu D-MAX is the fact that its prices were revised by a much higher margin compared to Toyota Hilux. Initially it was up to Rs 700,000 cheaper than Hilux, however today the difference is a mere 60,000 rupees.
With D-MAX seemingly out of the race, there is no real threat for Toyota Hilux in far sight. But the recent plans of MG (Morris Garages) give us a hint that they might introduce the Extender pickup truck to compete against Toyota Hilux in Pakistan.
The MG Extender is originally a rebadged Maxus T70 pickup truck & comes in variety of configurations with 2.0 liter petrol or diesel powered engines under its hood. According to an MG official who confidently claimed that “We are going to spoil car consumers with options” and the fact that the company won’t just be sitting idle waiting for its plant to complete but will reportedly flood the market with CBU imports by the time its able to start local production.
The Extender pickup truck along with a range of other vehicles was also displayed during the ground breaking ceremony of MG’s plant earlier this year. The vehicle was teased with a ‘Coming Soon’ caption on company’s official Facebook page as well whereas Javed Afridi, the renowned businessman and a key figure behind MG cars in Pakistan has been actively teasing various MG vehicles on his social handles that the company might be planning to introduce in Pakistan during the course of time.
The Extender along with other MG vehicles was showcased during the ground breaking ceremony of MG’s plant
It will still take a year or two for the MG plant to become operational and we will have to wait to find out whether the Extender pickup truck will be there in company’s menu or not, but the local assembly will sure help the company to price the Extender competitively. However looking at the MG HS & ZS pricing, one can expect the Extender, even with the CBU units to be priced in a reasonable domain too.
Competing with Toyota Hilux which is selling at a monthly average of well above 600+ units seems a daunting task for the MG Extender, however with an average of 23 odd units a month, Ghandhara should be the one to get worried about the arrival of another contender in the segment. The Auto Policy 2016-21 did open doors for us to embrace some sort of variety in the automobile market; however it will still take some time for any newcomer to challenge the established players in true means.
The MG Extender
What’s important for MG is to offer quality products with good list of features & equipment against a reasonable amount of money. But if they engage in a race to increase prices sooner than they should, things for the Extender pickup truck won’t be too different than what happened to the D-MAX.