While Pak Suzuki is the biggest carmaker in the country both in terms of overall sales and the number of models it has in the market, it has faced its fair share of criticism over the years. This includes questions over the quality of its products to trying and charging extra for features that are thought to be standard in other cars such as AC and floor mats.
Another valid critique has been two-fold: Pak Suzuki charges absurd amounts on its models and it hasn’t exactly brought a new model in the market for a while. A case can be made for the Alto 660CC but that was only because it was discontinuing the Mehran, that too after 30 years.
The New Cultus
Three years ago, the company stated that it will be bringing in Suzuki Celerio to replace the Cultus but instead of completely replacing the car, it kept the Cultus badge and changed the car completely to fit the Celerio.
It was touted as a milestone for local car makers because it had features like Dual Front SRS Airbags and the Anti-Lock Braking System. It even came with keyless entry and immobilizer.
At that time, the car was priced at a reasonable PKR 1.25 million which made sense because of the features it boasted. For the first time in a very long time, it felt like you were getting your money’s worth!
Fast forward to today, the only thing that has changed is the price of the car with the base price currently starting at PKR 1.745 million and if you want airbags you need to pay PKR 1.855 million.
There have been no upgrades at all, the only things that have gone up are the prices with one notification after another about price hikes.
Comparison With Celerio in India
The Celerio is available in the Thai and Indian markets as well. Recently, Maruti Suzuki (India) announced an upgraded 2020 Celerio for the country. The newer model has been fitted with a BS-VI compliant engine which makes the car PKR 32,529 more expensive than the previous models.
The new Celerio costs around INR 441,000 – 567,000 which when converted to Pakistani rupees is PKR 956,000 – 1.22 million. To hammer this point further, we would like to point out that the Indian Celerio and the Pakistani Cultus have the same shape, relatively the same interior, and the same features. The only difference is the new engine on the Indian Celerio!
This begs the question: why is the Cultus so expensive in Pakistan?
One of the reasons given was the devaluation of the rupee but the rupee has been relatively stable since June 2019. Another reason usually mentioned is that it isn’t built in Pakistan.
Where is the localization that has been touted by the company several times over the years?
If the company can “locally produce” the 660CC Alto, why can’t it do the same for its other cars? This issue becomes even more glaring when one realizes that if the company lowers its prices, it can sell more units because even now the car is packed with a host of features that aren’t available in other lower-priced cars. It makes even more sense when we realize that the sales of Cultus have been falling for the past year and this could give it a much-needed boost.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.