The Pakistani industry market has had a major paradigm shift over the last couple of years with several new products and players. Consequently, the SUV segment has flourished the most with more than half a dozen new SUVs introduced last year.
As per recent news, several more SUVs from Changan, Haval, DFSK, Proton, and other automakers are also on the way and will make Pakistan one of the most populous SUV markets in southeast Asia. However, the local automotive industry has skipped a rung on the vehicle variety ladder and has deprived the public of affordable compact commuter cars.
A recent discussion with a trusted source from the automotive industry brought to our attention that Hyundai Nishat is planning to launch the CKD versions of the Sonata sedan and the Santa Fe SUV in Pakistan.
The Sonata is Hyundai’s midsize sedan that competes with Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, and the Santa Fe is the company’s midsize SUV that rivals the Toyota Fortuner and the KIA Sorento.
By international market economy and standards, both these vehicles are quite expensive and are targeted at the high-tier and mid-tier socio-economic classes. The other two cars in Hyundai’s lineup are the Tucson SUV and the Elantra sedan, which, despite being compact vehicles with decent equipment and performance, are not priced cheaply.
When asked about Hyundai Nishat’s plans to introduce a small car for a larger target market in Pakistan, the source stated that it has no such intentions for the foreseeable future.
He added that Hyundai Nishat’s current assembly plant is only capable of working with two specific platforms — one that is shared by the C-Segment vehicles, the Tucson and the Elantra; and the other that is shared by the D-Segment vehicles, the Santa Fe and the Sonata.
The source mentioned that Hyundai Nishat has its sights locked on the high-end market for now and that it sees a gap that has existed for a long time and had been filled with random imported vehicles that were troublesome to own due to the lack of parts and proper dealership network.
He also divulged that Hyundai Nishat aims to carve a niche out for itself with locally assembled high-end products that come with home-based widespread after-sales support.
However, with more new players having their sights set on the same niche, Hyundai Nishat is definitely in for a tough battle to make a foothold for itself.