The last few years brought a sizeable influx of new automakers in Pakistan due to the incentives for the new entrants as a part of the Automotive Development Policy (ADP) 2016-21.
The success of the ADP 2016-21 had pushed the government to introduce the Automotive Industry Development and Export Plan (AIDEP) 2021-26. The new policy has been enacted to encourage the local production of vehicles and includes a comprehensive list of the benefits provided to all the automakers in the country.
The introduction of the new policy has prompted a lot of automotive groups around the world to turn their attention to Pakistan. One of the major companies to have expressed interest in the Pakistani market is the Guangzhou Automobile Group.
The Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) is a Chinese state-owned automotive group that produces and sells passenger cars in over 120 countries. It is one of the biggest automotive groups in China with an extensive lineup of vehicles which includes Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, Electric Vehicles (EVs), Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (HFCVs).
The group also has several joint ventures with other automakers such as Toyota, Honda, Isuzu, Fiat, Mitsubishi, BYD, and Hino. These joint ventures have allowed it to produce and sell foreign-branded products even in China.
The CEO of SUPERPAK Engineering (PVT.) LTD. and the key figure in the GAC Motor’s impending debut in Pakistan, Mukhtar Ahmad, told ProPakistani yesterday about its plans for the Pakistani market.
Here is everything we know about the GAC’s launch in Pakistan:
Arrival in Pakistan
Ahmad revealed that the company became part of a joint venture with GAC Motor in mid-2021. He said that the company will debut a Completely Built-Up (CBU) unit in Pakistan in November. This will be the GS3 subcompact crossover SUV.
Ahmad disclosed that the GAC will also introduce a compact crossover SUV called the GS4, and a compact sedan in Pakistan in 2022. He highlighted that it plans to examine the lay of the land in terms of market demand by only introducing CBUs, and will continue to grow further from there based on the market response.
Ahmad revealed that the GAC plans to begin the production of its vehicles within the next three years and that it plans to set up an assembly plant in a Specialized Economic Zone (SEZ) to avail of several incentives from the government.
He explained that although the ADP 2016-21 (which had enabled numerous automakers to start their operations business in Pakistan owing to its benefits) has expired, the AIDEP 2016-21 offers a number of benefits to the entire automotive industry. This will allow the company to establish a strong product lineup within the country.
Ahmad emphasized that the company seeks to provide maximum benefit to the consumers, which is why one of its primary goals is to ensure the maximum localization of manufacturing components in Pakistan. He explained that the localization of the vehicles will enable the profitability of the business and will ensure optimal pricing of the vehicles, which will appeal to the customers.
Build Quality and Safety
When asked about establishing a strong foothold in marketing, Ahmad replied that customer value is the key. He clarified that the GAC vehicles have modern technological features such as various driver assists, modern infotainment systems, autonomous driving capability, and other conveniences besides offering the best build quality safety in their segments.
He highlighted that the GS3 (which will be debuted in Pakistan this year) has a New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) safety rating of five stars, making it among the safest vehicles in the entire world in any segment.
Ahmad stated that GAC Motor has an extensive lineup of EVs which it plans to introduce in Pakistan as well. He said the government’s latest auto policy focuses on the local production and sales of EVs and has offered numerous incentives to the carmakers and car buyers that opt for EVs, which is why the company is enthusiastic about introducing EVs in Pakistan.
Although he refrained from disclosing the company’s plans for its EVs in Pakistan, Ahmad shared his vision to introduce two types of EVs in Pakistan: one for intercity use and the other one for long journeys. He explained that the goal is to introduce a small city electric car with a minimum range of 400 km and a larger family EV with a minimum range of 500 km.
He reasoned that because Pakistan’s EV charging infrastructure is still in the developmental phase, the company aims to introduce EVs that are compliant and easy to own under such circumstances. He revealed that the focus is on introducing vehicles within a favorable range and with fast charging capability.
In conclusion, Ahmad told that the GAC aims to establish its place in the market by maintaining customer satisfaction as its foremost priority.
“The customers pay millions of rupees from their hard-earned money to purchase a car, and deserve to get every penny’s worth of value back,” he remarked.
He said that the biggest grief of the customers of new car companies in Pakistan is the availability of auto parts. He claimed that the company will establish its 3S dealerships in all the major cities across Pakistan, and will have the car parts displayed at them along with the cars.
Ahmad emphasized that besides ensuring market competitive pricing, GAC Motor will offer the best aftersales services in the industry and that the availability of parts will not be a concern for Pakistani car buyers.
He also acknowledged that the ‘own money’ culture is one of their major concerns, and affirmed that the company will not condone it, but will ensure a vehicle purchasing mechanism that will not allow for the vehicles to be sold at an illegal premium.
“Realistically speaking, we cannot promise tremendously short delivery times in Pakistan due to the ongoing supply chain issues around the world,” Mukhtar said.
“However, we will ensure the utmost transparency with the customers and will accommodate them the best we can”, he said.
Ahmad admitted that the supply chain problems, the shortage of raw materials, and the semiconductor microchip crisis have adversely impacted manufacturing costs. However, the company will not let the high costs reach its customers, and will ensure reasonable prices for its vehicles in Pakistan.
The SUV market of Pakistan is about to become more populous than ever with a considerably high number of SUVs present in the market and a lot more to come. Companies such as Chery, Proton, Kia, Peugeot, MG, DFSK, and a few others are ready to launch more SUVs, and now it seems that the latest name to join the fold is GAC Motor.
With the competition in the SUV segment growing tougher by the day, how each player fares in the pursuit of acquiring a big share in the Pakistani car market will be worth a watch, and it will be even more interesting to see how everything pans out for GAC Motor in Pakistan.