The Pakistani car market has seen a monumental rise in new cars and automakers in the past two to three years. Although not as much of a hotshot today, Kia Lucky Motors Corporation’s (KLMC) success in particular opened doors for several new carmakers in Pakistan.
Over the years, several carmakers have attempted to grab a dominant share of the market but failed to do so due to various reasons, while others have completely vanished despite being strong contenders on paper.
This article will discuss vehicles that flopped in Pakistan contrary to expectations:
Pak Suzuki Motor Company’s (PSMC) reluctance to offer Ciaz in Pakistan as a CKD was a big mistake that led to the car’s eventual discontinuation.
It had all the elements of a promising car, had it been offered as a locally assembled and competitively priced car with a familiar and beloved nameplate such as ‘Margalla’ or ‘Baleno’.
Ciaz debuted in Pakistan in 2017. It had a short run due to not keeping up with the fierce competition in the compact and subcompact sedan segments.
It had a 1.4 liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine that made 91 hp and 130 Nm of torque, sending it to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic gearbox.
Auto enthusiasts and analysts reckoned that Suzuki Ciaz was unable to become a fierce competitor in the sedan market like its predecessors because of its high price. PSMC had introduced Ciaz at a starting price of Rs. 1.7 million, while the automatic variant cost Rs. 1.84 million.
This made the car more expensive than all variants of Honda City as well as Toyota Corolla XLI and GLI variants at the time.
Besides being expensive, Ciaz was incredibly basic. People paid big money to buy a car that only had the advantage of two airbags over the competition, which was a major letdown.
Pakistan is a fantastic market for compact hatchbacks as a number of young professionals opt for affordability when choosing their first vehicles.
FAW V2 was a wonderful addition to the market, which, like the other vehicles in this list, could not grab as big of a market share as speculated.
V2 was launched in Pakistan in 2014 as a cheaper alternative to the Suzuki Swift. It had a 1.3-liter Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with variable cam timing (VCT) technology that sent 90 hp, 120 Nm of torque to the front wheel via a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Despite being a 13oocc, relatively comfortable (albeit basic) hatchback, FAW V2 was the cheapest car in its category.
The price of a brand-new V2 was around Rs. 1.6 million which was cheaper than several new vehicles. Despite that, V2 was unable to sell as many units as a decade-old Swift, Cultus, and Picanto.
United Bravo showed great promise when it debuted as a rival to the 30-year-old Suzuki Mehran. It is still offered in the market as a CKD and a competitor to Prince Pearl and Suzuki Alto.
Bravo has an 800cc naturally aspirated 3-cylinder petrol engine that makes 40 hp and 60 Nm of torque, mated to a 4-speed manual transmission.
So far, United has only sold a small number of units compared to its competitors. The reasons for its poor demand include poor resale value, weak aftersales services, and customer support, a lack of parts, and reliability issues.
Despite being targeted towards the biggest car segment of Pakistan by sales volume, United Bravo has fallen short, which spells trouble for its future in Pakistan, given the current economic troubles.
Like its smaller sibling, United Alpha has also failed to maintain a foothold in the market unlike its competitors, namely, Kia Picanto and Suzuki Cultus.
Alpha debuted in Pakistan in 2021. It has a 1.0 liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine that produced 68 hp, 93 Nm of torque, and came with a 4-speed manual gearbox.
Despite being one of the cheaper vehicles, Alpha failed to gain traction, mostly because it is an almost two-decade-old rebadged Chery QQ.
United Alpha, despite being one of the cheapest city hatchbacks in Pakistan with a price tag of just over Rs. 1.7 million, struggled to maintain a foothold in the market.
You probably don’t know that this car even exists in Pakistan. The little hatchback hails from the same category as Suzuki Cultus, Kia Picanto, and United Alpha.
The car had a naturally aspirated 1.0-liter three-cylinder petrol engine that made 68 hp and 90 Nm of torque and was mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Despite a seemingly appropriate number of creature comforts and decent performance and a fair price, Zotye Z100 also fell prey to the lack of brand awareness, poor resale, and concerns regarding the car’s reliability and maintenance cost.
The car has been discontinued in Pakistan, however, from what is known, it was priced a hair under Rs. 1.5 million. Due to its minuscule sales figures, Zotye Z100 is virtually non-existent, even in the second-hand market.
The following cars also had a strong showing early on but lost their appeal over time and vanished from the market.
- Nissan Sunny
- Mitsubishi Lancer
- Chevrolet Optra
- Kia Spectra
- Fiat Uno
- Adam Revo
Most cars in this list are (or were) budget hatchbacks that should have been successful for all intents and purposes. However, poor marketing, after-sales services, build quality issues, and resale value bound these cars to a dark fate from the start.
The appetite for good quality and affordable cars is still high in Pakistan. However, the current economic turmoil paints a bleak image of Pakistan’s car industry.