Engineering Development Board unhappy with companies running on imports
Sigma Motorsports has launched the Q4 electric car in three variants and started taking bookings. Its top-of-the-line variant will cost Rs2,125,000.
“Electric cars are the future,” Muhammad Adeel Khalid, the co-founder of Sigma Motorsports, told SAMAA Money. “We want to be the first ones in the electric cars business.”
The electric-only Q4 has been priced at Rs1,895,000 while the car with an added option of solar charge will cost Rs1,995,000. The same car with three power inputs — electric, solar and petrol — will cost Rs2,125,000.
Sigma Motorsports doesn’t have any plans to start manufacturing in Pakistan. Adeel said they were not availing any incentives under the newly approved Electric Vehicle Policy. They have so far imported two cars and recently hosted a launching event.
The electric car assemblers, who will be availing the EV Policy incentives, will need at least two to three years to establish their plants so there is little chance that his company will get priced out in the near future. Even after electric car assemblers start production locally, Adeel said, it will not mean that their production cost may have a significant difference compared to the cars imported by Sigma Motorsports.
“They will have several added costs such as plant maintenance and labour, apart from a big investment,” he said. “So, it would eventually matter little that they will be availing incentives of reduced duties on import of EV-specific parts.”
The name Sigma Motorsports resembles Sigma Motors, which sells imported Range Rovers in the country since 1994. An official of Sigma Motors says they have a problem with another company using a similar name and they are looking into its legal perspective.
But Adeel says they have been operating for nearly five years with the same name. They started with Chinese sports bikes and Adeel takes pride in being the first to introduce them in the Pakistani market. They have now entered the car business.
Sigma Motorsports is not registered with the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan. But Sigma Motors Limited is a registered company.
“We wouldn’t have been allowed to import cars if we were not registered,” Adeel said.
Previously the company also brought Chinese electric bikes to Pakistan. Adeel said the bikers didn’t like the soundless electric bikes. There was no engine or combustion so there was no sound, he said. He thinks it was the main reason for the company failing the litmus test to bring electric bikes to Pakistan.
“People here want their motorcycle noise to be heard from two miles,” he said. “We brought few samples and it was an instant failure because electric bikes are soundless.
“It’s a Chinese car,” Adeel replied, when asked about the brand. “I don’t know exactly the brand names, they must be written on the papers.”
Adeel, however, confirmed that the two Q4 cars they have imported for display were not of Chery QQ brand. Chinese Chery also has a car with the name Q4. United Motors have launched Chery QQ in Pakistan, re-branding it by the name of Alpha. United Motors has a greenfield status.
Engineering Development Board General Manager Asim Ayaz says that people can import and sell cars as it has been happening with Audi and BMW.
There’s no law that could stop it but the EDB will put a list of car companies on its website that have a license issued to them to sell cars in the country, he said.
“People need to be vigilant themselves before buying a car,” Ayaz said. “The most we could do is put a list of companies licensed by the EDB for local manufacturing as local manufacturers build an after-sales service network too.”