Woefully prolonged delivery periods is nothing new for the auto consumers of Pakistan. It has been like this ever since the local assembling of automobiles started in the country during the 90s, and is the root cause behind the existence of on-money/ premium culture in the market.
People do have a very short-term memory, they tend to forget things very quickly. Many people think the delays are there due to the supply chain disruption after COVID-19, but ask anyone who has bought a new local assembled car in Pakistan during the last 25 years or so. The untimely deliveries were always there, but since at that time internet & auto portals of Pakistan were in their infancy and social media was almost non-existent, the miseries of common consumers never made it to the mainstream media.
I remember in 2006 when I was planning to buy a new Daihatsu Cuore, the wait time at that time was more than 11 months with dealerships blatantly asking Rs 100,000 premium for instant deliveries. The delivery time of Corolla diesel which was a hot-selling car of its time was also more than 8 months. A year ago in 2005, Honda City iDSI bought by a close relative of mine was charged 70,000 above the invoice price. The same year a Kia Classic which was considered an out-of-market car & was nearing the end of this production due to Dewan’s downfall was being asked for up to a 65,000 premium by its authorized dealerships.
Even before the pandemic, auto industry was witnessing a drastic slowdown with assemblers observing non-production days in large numbers. Back then it was reported that assemblers have thousands of piled up stocks of unsold units at their disposal, following which COVID-19 occurred with economic activities coming to a complete halt. Surprisingly when the situation restored, even the thousands of unsold units were never able to play their part in reducing the demand-supply gap.
Fast forward today, the delivery time continue to be like this. While dramatization of various strict measures to curb the menace of premium/ on-money continues, no concrete measure has been taken to eliminate the investors/ hoarders out of the equation or ensuring efficient production capacity utilization to do the least.
According to a sales manager at Honda dealership, the delivery time for 11th gen Civic is around 10 months, which means if you get it booked today you will get the delivery of new Civic in April next year. The waiting period of Honda City’s 1.2 and City 1.5 Aspire (automatic) is around 4 months, while the least in-demand City’s 1.5 standard variant and BR-V’s delivery period is 1 month. The salesperson said that on-money on Civic’s prompt delivery is Rs 600,000 while for the City the premium stands at Rs 150,000.
The delivery period of Suzuki Alto which is the highest selling car of the country, is around 6 months. That of Wagon R and Cultus, it is around 3 months. The new Swift also has a 4 months delivery period whereas up to Rs 200,000 on-money is being charged on instant deliveries of Suzuki cars. According to an official representing a Toyota dealership, delivery span of Toyota Corolla is up to 8 months whereas waiting time for Yaris is up to 3 months. He also said the on-money on Corolla is around Rs 600,000 whereas for Yaris it is around Rs 300,000.
The situation for automakers other than Big 3 isn’t much different either. Delivery time of local assembled Hyundai cars including Tucson and Elantra is up to 3 months, whereas that of Sonata is around 2 months. For LMC, the Kia Sportage has a delivery time of up to 6 months whereas Picanto is up to 10 months. Meanwhile the marketing disasters Kia Sorento, Stonic as well as Peugeot 2008 are available with ready deliveries.
In case of Changan, the Alsvin has a delivery lag of nearly 3 months whereas the newly launched Oshan X7 has a waiting period of up to 7 months. There is an endless wait in case of Proton where customers who booked the units more than a year ago are still waiting for the deliveries however according to various Proton customers, the available units are being sold against a hefty premium.
It is perhaps of no use hoping that the menace of premium/ on-money and the efficient delays in deliveries will come to an end. However there is one thing the consumers can do, that is to decide not to pay any amount on top of the invoice price no matter how much late the delivery gets. Perhaps this is the only way the number of investors/ hoarders can be reduced from the equation.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com