Company not accepting new bookings
When Al-Haj group-owned FAW introduced the 1300cc hatchback V2 in 2014, it was an instant success. It looked a lot like Toyota Vitz, which was well-received by the Pakistani market. Unlike the Vitz, which imported as a used car from Japan at that time, the V2 was imported new as a CBU – Completely Built Unit.
Within three years, the company started manufacturing it locally. But now you can’t book the car any more. Market chatter is that it has been discontinued.
“Introduced in 2014 as CBU, the V2 received positive response from the public,” said Usman Ansari, an auto sector analyst. “And in August 2017, the company began assembling the hatchback locally.”
FAW passenger car’s right-hand segment have struggled in other parts of the world where they have discontinued its cars especially the V2. Market reports suggest that after the initial success, it struggled in Pakistan too and its sales went down in the last couple of years.
“The company is avoiding revealing that the V2 has been discontinued,” Ansari said.
“Its sales dropped considerably. But the main reason is that its parts production has been discontinued in China. It has also been discontinued in South Africa, where right-hand cars are driven just like in Pakistan.”
We could not get official confirmation but a company official said that the FAW factory in China has now been shifted to another city because the city was hit hard by the pandemic. The new factory is far from Pakistan and importing CKDs (car components for assembly) would not make a business case at the moment.
We reached out to the company for official comment but we did not receive any till the filing of this report. The story will be updated once we receive it.
Although the company is not booking the V2 a dealership has been offering the car at own-money of Rs50,000.
Own money is an illegal price an investor charges a buyer, who wants to buy a car immediately. It is above a car’s actual price. It normally happens in Pakistan’s car segment, where car assemblers sometimes take months to deliver a car. The time taken by a company to deliver a car after it has been booked is known as the delivery period.
Interestingly V2’s main competitor was the Suzuki Swift, also a 1300cc hatchback. It has also recently been discontinued.
The company is also selling the minivan XPV and mini pickup Carrier, which falls in the same category as the Suzuki Bolan and Suzuki Ravi.
“The company hasn’t changed the price of these two vehicles as well even after the government reduced duties and taxes on all cars,” said Ansari. “The big question is why?”
According to a source, these two cars may also soon be discontinued.
Sources in FAW said that the Al-Haj FAW dealerships have now put up Proton banners as it appears more attractive to them.
Al-Haj Group has brought Malaysian auto company Proton to Pakistan with its 1300cc sedan Saga and SUV X70. It now seems that the company is shifting to Proton.
Ansari said that Al-Haj Group brought Proton to Pakistan because it was disappointed with the FAW passenger cars. A source in FAW, however, said that the company is not closing down the FAW subsidiary. The company will keep selling buses and heavy FAW trucks.
“All of the people are working and there is no downsizing,” said the source. “In fact, we have plans to bring some other vehicles,” he added.