In response to an acute shortage of raw materials, Pak Suzuki Motor Company (PSMC) has once again announced the suspension of its motorcycle production. This marks the third production halt in the current fiscal year, underscoring the challenges faced by Pakistan’s automotive industry.

According to a report by The News, the automobile manufacturer formally communicated its decision through a notice to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). The production halt will extend for 12 days, commencing on September 1 and concluding on September 12, 2023. This move follows previous shutdowns from August 18 to 31 and from July 31 to August 15, 2023, due to inventory constraints, as reported by the company’s secretary.

It’s worth noting that while production may be on hold, regular operations will persist at the vehicle manufacturing plant, as clarified in the bourse filing.

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Pak Suzuki’s ongoing struggle with raw material shortages can be traced back to July of the preceding year, primarily resulting from challenges in importing essential components. The nation’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves have further exacerbated these import disruptions.

Sunny Kumar, an analyst at Topline Securities, provided insight into the impact of these disruptions: “PSMC produced 19,293 units with capacity utilisation of 26% in 1H2023 compared to 76,325 units produced with capacity utilisation of 102% in 1H2022.”

In a glimmer of hope, the company’s management anticipates an economic rebound in FY24, driven by an upturn in agriculture output and eased import restrictions, with expected improvements in manufacturing and construction activities.

Pak Suzuki’s predicament is not unique, as other prominent automakers such as Honda Atlas and Indus Motor Company, the local manufacturer of Toyota vehicles, have also faced repeated production stoppages due to raw material shortages. This scarcity has had a cascading effect, impacting the automobile parts industry and causing intermittent production halts.

In a related development, Agriauto Industries Limited, a prominent automotive parts manufacturer, has announced a partial plant closure in September due to decreased production. Furthermore, Agriauto Stamping Company Pvt. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, will also undergo a partial shutdown during the same period, as confirmed by the company secretary.

The announcement of Pak Suzuki’s latest production halt has raised concerns among employees, stakeholders, and the general public. The motorcycle plant, a significant division within the company, plays a pivotal role in employment generation in the country.

This situation has far-reaching implications, as experts anticipate that the closure will not only impact the company’s workforce but also reverberate through the broader economy. An industry observer emphasised the need for coordinated efforts between stakeholders and government bodies to address the root causes of raw material shortages and prevent further disruptions in Pakistan’s automotive sector.