Crash and burn: You won't believe the number of cars sold in Pakistan in April

  • Pakistan sold fewer cars in April than many major Indian cities sell each day.
Demand for, and sales of, passenger vehicles in Pakistan has come down to drastically low levels. (File photo used for representational purpose) (AFP)
Demand for, and sales of, passenger vehicles in Pakistan has come down to drastically low levels. (File photo used for representational purpose)

There is the proverbial bloodbath in the Pakistan auto industry and the colour of danger is only gaining a deeper shade of Red. While sales across segments have been tumbling, the slide is only steeper withing the passenger vehicle segment. In the month of April, just 2,844 units were sold as against 18,626 in April of 2022.

The sales data for cars in Pakistan were revealed by Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) and widely reported in local press. The mammoth 84 per cent dip in sales has increased the decibels of alarm bells which have anyway been ringing quite loud over the past several months. For reference, India - the world's third-largest vehicle market - saw sales of 3.31 lakh units in April.

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But while pitting the Pakistani auto industry and market against its counterparts in India would be an Apple to Apricot comparison, the alarmingly low sales figure is a big worry for not just manufacturers here but the economy as well.

Dwindling demand in doldrums

One big - and obvious - factor for embarrassing sales in recent months has been a steady decline in demand from people at large. Demand has taken a big hit from multi-pronged factors like climbing interest rates, escalating end cost to customers, overall inflation and rising fuel prices. These factors have especially impacted the entry-level car segments which features vehicles that are 1,000cc or under. PAMA data reveals that last month, just 276 units in the 1000cc segment were sold with otherwise popular models like Suzuki Alto, WagonR and Cultus (Celerio in India) taking the biggest hits. The slightly more well-off - those looking for vehicles above 1,300 cc - also snubbed new purchase decisions with only 1,585 units sold last month vis-a-vis 9,189 units sold in April of 2022.

The pain is widespread

It is not just that the passenger vehicle segment is staring down the barell. The entire automotive industry in the country is on crutches. Sales of buses, trucks and tractors have also nearly decimated. Data for two and three-wheeler sales were not available but by all indications, these would have fallen as well because overall auto-financing figures have come down dramatically.

(With inputs from The News, Pakistan)

First Published Date: 19 May 2023, 12:44 PM IST

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