Experts say it will give tough time to Corolla and Civic
Hyundai has launched its 2,000cc Elantra sedan in Pakistan at a price of Rs4.05 million. Experts say it will give tough competition to Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic – top cars in Pakistan’s compact c-sedan category.
“Elantra has been launched at a competitive price,” said Usman Ansari, an auto expert. “It will give competition to Honda Civic and a bit to Corolla too.”
Ansari added that the bigger engine size of Elantra at 2,000cc will be its unique selling proposition against its competitors in Pakistan, which have utmost 1800cc engine size cars.
Ansari said that world over Elantra competes with Civic and Corolla.
Another auto expert Shakaib Khan, who runs the SK Motors Syndicate, concurred with Ansari and said that Elantra has been launched at a competitive price.“It will give tough time to 1.8 Oriel (Civic) and 1.8 Grande (Corolla),” he said.
Top Civic variant 1.5 Turbo is priced at Rs4.7 million, while Corolla’s top variant, Altis Grande, is priced at Rs4 million.
“The appetite for good features in cars has changed after the introduction of imported used cars. All of the upcoming cars such as Elantra will compete on features which were previously missing in cars assembled in Pakistan,” Khan added.
Hyundai has already been assembling its H100-Porter pick-up truck and SUV Tucson in the country. H100-Porter was previously known as Shehzore. The company sells the imported Grand Starex, Ioniq Hybrid and the seven-seater Santa FE vehicles too.
The company is introducing a model in Pakistan that was launched in the world in 2014, with some facelift changes.
“Hyundai International has launched Elantra’s new model in its premium markets like the US, Europe and Australia this year,” Ansari said. “But in Pakistan, the company is launching the previous model that Hyundai International has been gradually phasing out.”
CKDs (completely knocked down units or car components) of a previous model become less costly when the new model starts emerging across the world, he explained.
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Ahmed Lakhani, a senior research analyst with JS Global, said that Pakistan is a third world country and launching newest and subsequently pricier models here doesn’t make a viable business case for carmakers.
“I think if Hyundai launches newest model of Elantra then it may enter into the market of crossover SUVs on the basis of price, which may make it unattractive for buyers,” Lakhani said.
Hyundai Nishat Motor is a joint venture of Nishat Group, Sojitz Corporation (Japan) and Millat Tractors Ltd. The company has an annual capacity of 15,000 vehicles, which it may increase if the demand goes up. It has 14 dealers across the country so far, with six more in the pipeline.
The joint venture was established under greenfield status with its car assembling plant in Faisalabad. Hyundai is one of the car companies that came to Pakistan after the government announced the Auto Development Policy 2016-21.
The policy will end in June 2021. New entrants in the Pakistani auto market have been trying to launch the maximum number of models before the deadline expires.
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Under this policy, the companies launching new cars during this period will get tax incentives for five years. The policy aims to boost the auto industry and encourage competition in the country.
Besides Hyundai, Kia, MG Motors, Proton and Changan are also launching new cars before June 2021.
Hyundai faced criticism for increasing the price of its Tucson SUV from Rs5.4 million to Rs5.6 million just a day after its launch in August. A company official said they received more orders than the number of vehicles available on an introductory price within a couple of hours.
“The company was not expecting such a high demand in the midst of the pandemic when it launched Tucson,” the official said.
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Tucson’s main competitor is Kia Sportage. Interestingly, Hyundai is the parent company of Kia. Both are South Korean companies. The two companies’ international volumes are reported combined, which makes them enter the list of top ten car manufacturers.
Experts believe that both the companies will bring competition to Pakistan’s auto industry which has been dominated by Japanese automakers.
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Hyundai is also expected to launch another sedan, Sonata, in the CBU (imported completely built units) form. It will fall in the category of Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, which also make it to the Pakistan market in CBU form.