March saw a 98% surge in auto sales.

KARACHI: Notwithstanding high automobile costs, Pakistan’s auto industry saw a 98% increase in sales in March — from 3,642 units sold the month before to 7,201 units (passenger cars), a glimmer of light in the struggling auto industry that has recently gathered steam.

Nevertheless, due to non-production days and a drop in purchasing power, car sales—including sales of non-PAMA (Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association) vehicles—fell 68% in March compared to 22,799 units in the corresponding month of the previous year.

Better volumetric sales from Pak Suzuki Motor Company (PSMC) and Indus Motors, which increased by 475 percent and 6 percent month over month, respectively, are responsible for the monthly growth.

In addition, Arif Habib Limited said in its remark that buyers shifted to less expensive automobiles with engines under 1000cc, which saw an increase of 423%.

Concerns about a slowdown in the coming months persist because the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) measure to limit imports is still in effect. As a result, auto assemblers must obtain prior authorization to import completely knocked-down (CKD) units and raw materials, which limits their ability to produce.

According to data issued by PAMA a day earlier, sales of all other versions of cars, jeeps, tractors, pick-ups, three-wheelers, and two-wheelers as well as sales of buses and trucks decreased year over year in March 2023.

Sales of cars with 1300cc or more were registered at 2,913 units during the time under review, a 67% decrease from the 9,280 units sold during the same month the year prior.

Sales of 1,000cc cars fell to 964 units in March 2023 (475 Suzuki Cultus and 489 Suzuki WagonR), compared to 2,410 units in the same month last year.

Analyses of the data:

  • 3,324 units of below 1000cc vehicles were sold, which is 70% fewer than the 11,109 units sold the previous year;
  • 2,542 units of Suzuki’s new Alto were sold in March 2023 versus 9,814 units in March 2022;
    In March, there were 308 fewer buses and trucks than there were in the corresponding month last year (565 units).
  • sales of pickups and jeeps dropped from 4,403 units sold in the same period previous year to 2,150 units sold this year;
  • Tractor sales decreased from 5,651 units in March 2022 to 2,984 units in March 2023;
    Moreover, sales of motorcycles and rickshaws fell to 84,307 units in March from 151,010 units during the same month last year.

PSMC saw a monthly increase of 475% to 5,628 units, mostly as a result of the availability of CKD parts and the resolution of LC difficulties, while Indus Motors saw a 6% increase to 1,912 units in March.

Nevertheless, due to the plant being shut down for 23 days due to CKD difficulties, Honda Car (HCAR) sales fell by 49% month over month to 835 units in March.

Performance of other automakers’ past products:

  • In the month under review, Hyundai sales decreased by 34% month over month,
  • Tuscon sales decreased by 46% month over month to 380 units,
  • Sonata sales decreased by 40% month over month to 118 units.

In terms of tractors, Millat Tractors reported a 3% month-over-month growth to 2,669 units in March.

Sales at Al-Ghazi Tractors fell from 315 units in the previous month by 57%.

According to Sunny Kumar, auto analyst at Topline Securities, “this brings the total tractor industry sales to 21,233 units in 9MFY23 down 49% year-on-year owing to floods, plants shut down, weaker consumer buying power, and higher pricing.”

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