ISLAMABAD: Two key players in the automobile industry Indus Motor and Pak Suzuki Motor Company have challenged the new auto policy and got a stay order from the Sindh High Court against its implementation, indicating they are not immediately inclined towards offering technologically improved and cheaper vehicles.
Pak Suzuki Motor the Pakistan arm of Japanese carmaker Suzuki has a monopoly in the small car segment while the market for heavy-engine vehicles is split mostly between Honda Atlas Cars and Indus Motor the makers of Toyota Corolla.
Hyundai, Suzuki’s last competitor in the market, has not been producing vehicles since early 2014.
The new auto policy, besides giving guidelines on timely delivery to customers, calls for the development and enforcement of safety regulations, compulsory installation of immobilisers in vehicles to stop incidences of theft and putting in place a product recall system in line with global practices.
The policy offers some incentives to new entrants for breaking the monopoly of existing car manufacturers. Consumer welfare is a key element of the policy announced by the government in March this year.
According to officials aware of the development, Indus Motor was to install immobilisers in its XLI (basic) variants, Suzuki in Cultus and Mehran models and Honda Atlas Cars in the City variant.
However, the carmakers have refused to install the immobilisers immediately, arguing it is not possible for them to complete the task in a short time. They require six months to one year as vehicle engines need to be changed for putting in place the anti-theft device.
“We need three to five months to receive the delivery of car engines and after that it will be possible for us to install the immobilisers,” the carmakers told the government, adding they would be able to install the device in new car models.
According to the officials, the Suzuki management told the government that they were planning to replace Mehran cars with some other models, therefore, the immobilisers could not be made part of this model.
However, the company agreed that it would introduce the immobilisers in the new models.
Booking and delivery
In an attempt to address complaints of delay in the delivery of locally assembled vehicles, the government has decided that initial payment at the time of booking should not be more than 50% of the cost of vehicle and the price and delivery schedule not exceeding two months must be finalised at that time.
In case of delay, the company will be required to offer a discount at the rate of Kibor plus 2% on the date of delivery a move aimed at shortening the time period.
Before the announcement of the policy, buyers were forced to pay a substantial amount, sometimes 100% of the total cost, for booking vehicles and then wait for a long time before delivery. If the price escalated in the meantime, the consumers were also required to pay the extra amount on the delivery date.
This had helped the black market flourish where consumers, looking for prompt delivery, were forced to pay a premium.
However, the new auto policy carries varying measures aimed at safeguarding the interest of consumers.
Courtesy : Express Tribune