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Thursday July 18, 2024

Car sales up 6pc in Feb despite dented demand

By Bilal Hussain
March 11, 2022

KARACHI: Cars in the country grew 6 percent to 18,054 units in February 2022, compared to 16,985 sold in January 2022, latest industry numbers showed on Thursday, which analysts credited to a surge in demand for fuel-efficient low-end vehicles given high petroleum prices.

According to Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) data, Toyota and Honda sales dropped 32 percent each in the February, but Suzuki, which commands small-sized engine segment, pulled off a 40 percent increase, pushing the overall sales up 5 percent month-on-month.

Auto industry sold 21,664 cars in February as compared to 20,610 in January 2022, showing 32 percent year-on-year growth as industry sales stood at 16,436 in February 2021.

Tahir Abbas, Head of Research Arif Habib Ltd, said the increasing interest rates and restrictions on auto financing by the State Bank limited auto financing, which was one of the reasons for falling car sales.

“Moreover, increase in car prices during the last three months has also reduced demand and people are now reluctant to buy high-end cars, while small cars are selling more,” he said.

He added that increase in taxes in the mini-budget, which made cars more expensive for buyers, dented the demand.

The sales of vehicles below 1000cc segment climbed 72 percent month-on-month, while 1000cc category sales also went up 23 percent, but 1300cc and above segment sales plunged 32 percent.

The sales of the 660cc Suzuki Alto jumped by a massive 86 percent from 3,864 in January to 7,175 units in February, which is almost equal to total combined sales of Toyota and Honda in February. The 1000cc Suzuki Cultus sales increased 44 percent from 1,172 to 1,692 units.

Sales of new entrant Hyundai cars increased 140 percent – from 612 units in January to 1,469 units in February. The biggest jump was seen in the sales of its crossover SUV Tucson, up by a staggering 473 percent from 135 units in January to 774 in February.

Meanwhile, new entrant Sazgar BAIC, which recently joined PAMA, sold 42 units of BAIC BJ40L in February as compared to 11 in January.

Sales of two and three-wheeler declined 11 percent in February, dropping from 153,658 units in January to 136,527 in February.

Millat Tractors Limited has so far not shared its data. The company, earlier this month, has also suspended its operations; reportedly due to severe liquidity issues. On the other hand, its competitor AGTL sold 5 percent more tractors – 2,053 units in February.

The truck and bus sales went down 27 percent and 49 percent respectively. The truck segment sold 501 units in February as compared to 690 in January, while only 45 buses were sold in February compared to 88 in January.