Despite high car prices, Pakistan’s auto sector has seen a growth of 98 per cent in March, selling about 7,201 units compared to 3,642 units sold in the previous month. The increase has provided a ray of hope to the auto sector, which has picked up some pace after several months.
However, car sales, including sales of non-Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) vehicles, plunged 68 per cent in March compared to the same month last year, due to non-production days and a decline in purchasing power.
The monthly growth is due to better volumetric sales of Pak Suzuki Motor Company (PSMC) and Indus Motors, which increased by 475 per cent and 6 per cent respectively on a month-on-month basis. Arif Habib Limited also stated that due to rising inflationary pressure, consumers have switched to affordable vehicles of below 1000cc, which increased by 423 per cent.
Despite the recent growth, fears of a slowdown still exist due to measures taken by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to curb imports, resulting in production limitations as auto assemblers require prior permission to import completely knocked-down (CKD) units and raw materials.
Sales of all other variants of cars, jeeps, tractors, pick-ups, three-wheelers and two-wheelers have also witnessed a year-on-year decline in March 2023, according to data released by PAMA a day earlier.
In the first nine months of fiscal year 2022-23, 85,776 units were sold, down 50 per cent from 172,612 units sold during the same period in FY22. Sales of 1300cc and above cars were recorded at 2,913 units, down 67 per cent compared to the same month of the previous year’s sales of 9,280 units. In March 2023, 1,000cc cars recorded sales of 964 units, including 475 units of Suzuki Cultus and 489 units of Suzuki WagonR, against 2,410 units in the same month last year.
Further breakdown of the data reveals that below 1000cc vehicles recorded a sale of 3,324 units, lower by 70 per cent than 11,109 units sold last year. Suzuki’s new Alto sold 2,542 units in March 2023 compared to 9,814 units in March 2022.
Buses and trucks saw a decrease to 308 units in March from 565 units in the same month last year, while sales of jeeps and pick-ups decreased to 2,150 units from 4,403 units sold during the same period last year. Sales of tractors dropped to 2,984 units from 5,651 units in March 2022, while sales of rickshaws and motorbikes also decreased to 84,307 units in March against 151,010 units in the same period last year.
PSMC recorded a jump of 475 per cent on a monthly basis to 5,628 units primarily due to the availability of CKD parts amid an easing of LC issues, while Indus Motors reported an increase of 6 per cent month-on-month to 1,912 units in March. However, Honda Car (HCAR) sales declined by 49 per cent month-on-month to 835 units in March due to the closure of the plant for 23 days on account of CKD issues.
Hyundai sales were down 34 per cent month-on-month, with Tucson down 46 per cent month-on-month to 380 units and Sonata down 40 per cent month-on-month to 118 units in the period under review.