In a recent, rather unfortunate development, Pak Suzuki Motor Company (PSMC) discontinued the Ciaz sedan in Pakistan, as reported by various media outlets.
The car made its debut in the Pakistani Market back in February 2017, but it had an incredibly short stay here as the car couldn’t quite keep up with the veterans of the industry such as the Honda City, Civic, and the Toyota Corolla, in terms of sales figures.
It bears mentioning, however, that there were indeed a few quite obvious reasons as to why the car couldn’t cut it in the Pakistani Market. Here are a few reasons why the Pakistani market became an impossible hill to climb for the Suzuki Ciaz.
It Was Expensive
One of the major reasons why people couldn’t warm up to the Ciaz is because of its pricing. The car was brought into the Pakistani market as a ‘Complete-Builtup Unit’ (CBU) import, and as is custom for all automakers in Pakistan when it comes to CBUs, the car was priced insanely high.
PSMC introduced the Ciaz, back in 2017, at a starting price of Rs. 1.7 million, whereas the automatic variant was priced at Rs. 1.84 million. This was back when the starting price of Honda City, which was considered to be its primary competitor, was Rs. 1.53 million, whereas the finest City Aspire 1.5 Automatic was priced at Rs. 1.82 Million, which was still lower, than Ciaz’s Automatic Variant.
However, despite the car not getting a stellar start in the market, PSMC decided to raise the price tags of both Ciaz variants just a month into its launch, bringing the price up to Rs. 1.86 million for the manual, Rs. 1.99 million for the automatic variant.
Plus, despite the obvious struggle for the Ciaz to do good sales figures, PSMC still kept on bumping up the price of the vehicle. Until Friday, the price for both, the manual and the automatic variants was Rs. 2.3 million and 2.5 million respectively. Hence, the already high price of the vehicle and all the subsequent price hikes became one of the major reasons why buyers didn’t favor Ciaz as much.
It Was Generic
The Ciaz generated a lot of hype in the market before its launch in Pakistan, as the people were of the view that the new arrival might be different from the locally manufactured, barebones sedans. Everyone was excited to finally be able to purchase an affordable new sedan that had all the modern tech and safety features of the international standard.
However, true to their style, PSMC brought in a stripped-down version of the Ciaz in the Pakistani market, with a lot of the important features such as an infotainment system, automatic climate control, rearview camera, parking sensors, power-folding side mirrors, Sunroof, Rear A/C Vents, Cruise Control, and even vanity mirrors, missing from the vehicle.
Plus, the car was offered with a 1.4 liter naturally aspirated 4 cylinder engine that made 91 horsepower and 130 newton/meters of torque and was mated to a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic gearbox. That was the only choice of the drivetrain that we had in the Pakistani market, whereas the international markets got a variety of engine and transmission options to choose from.
This implies that the Ciaz was not just an expensive car, but an expensive car that was also incredibly generic. People essentially had to pay hundreds of thousands of Rupees more to buy a car that only had an advantage of 2 airbags over the competition, which was also a major let down for the buyers.
It Was a CBU
Although, being a CBU, the car had an edge over its competition in terms of its fit and finish. However, the fact that it was a CBU also played against it, because, supposedly due to the import duties and other forms of taxes, the car becomes expensive for the automaker to import, which means that the said expense has to then be borne by the end-buyers.
A few months ago, PSMC had formally asked the government to offer them the same benefits that are being offered to the new entrants in the Pakistani market under the Automotive Development Policy 2016-21.
The said favor was reportedly sought so that the company could start a new production plant in Pakistan and bring in new models to the market. However, reportedly the government denied the automaker’s request, and so, the Ciaz never made it to local production.
PSMC has always struggled to keep up with the competition when it comes to the sedans segment. Over the years, the company has tried to compete in the segment by introducing cars such the Margalla, Baleno, Liana, Kizashi, and most recently, the Ciaz, but not being able to do as good in terms of sales figures as a Corolla or a City, always led them to pull the plug on all of their sedans.
Sadly, the Ciaz had all the potential to become one of the top-sellers in the market. The few who have owned this car have little to no bad things to say about it. But PSMC’s lack of commitment to the product led it to finally be discontinued from the market altogether.
The future remains uncertain as to whether or not we’d see another sedan from PSMC anytime soon, but one thing we know for certain is that Suzuki is supposed to be an ‘everyman’s’ brand. And unless it offers an affordable sedan of reasonable quality in the market, their effort will always meet the same fate.
Plus, with the Ciaz now gone and the trajectory of the Vitara and the Jimny being awfully similar to that of the Ciaz’s, it seems that the Vitara and the Jimny might be next in line to pack up their bags and leave.