Auto sales plunge to 31-month low in January

Analyst says this is primarily due to escalating car prices, expensive auto financing, and low purchasing power of consumers

Shahid Shah
A customer speaks with salespeople at a car dealership in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. — Reuters/File
A customer speaks with salespeople at a car dealership in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. — Reuters/File 
  • Car sales down to 6,021 units in January.
  • Seven-month sales data also witnessed a drop of 43%.
  • Total of 74,933 units were sold in first seven months of FY23.

KARACHI: Pakistan's auto sector sales plunged to a 31-month low in January 2023 amid a shortage of raw materials, low purchasing power and price surge, The News reported Tuesday citing data.

The passenger car sales of Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) members plunged by 65% in January 2023 from a year earlier.

With the exception of Suzuki's Swift, the sales of Hyundai cars and jeeps, sales of all other variants of cars, trucks, buses, tractors, pick-ups and three-wheelers as well as two-wheelers were plunged in January 2023 as compared to January 2022, the PAMA data showed.

The seven-month sales data also witnessed a drop of 43% compared to the same period last year. As per the data, passenger car sales slowed by 65% in January 2023 to 6,021 units against 16,985 units in January 2022. 

In the first seven months of FY23, a total of 74,933 units were sold, down by 43% against 131,759 units sold during the same period in FY22.

January 2023 sales decreased by 56% compared with 13,780 units sold in December 2022. Engine-wise sales data showed that during this period, sales of 1,300cc and above cars were recorded at 4,207 units, down 55.5% compared with last year’s sales of 9,456 units during the same period.

In January 2023, 1,000cc cars recorded sales of 1,214 units, (543 units of Suzuki Cultus and 671 units of Suzuki WagonR) against 2,709 units in the same month last year.

Passenger car sales of less than 1,000cc engines declined to only 600 units, lower by 88% against 4,820 units last year. Sales of Suzuki’s new Alto decreased to 44 units in January 2023, compared with 3,864 units in January 2022. The company did not produce any Alto vehicles in January due to hindrances in the availability of raw materials.

In the commercial vehicle category, sales of buses and trucks saw a decrease to 470 units in January 2023 from 778 units in January 2022.

However, the sale of jeeps and pick-ups increased to 4,846 units from 3,625 units sold during the same period last year because of an addition in the category of Sazgar Haval. The major reason was a huge increase in Honda BR-V and HR-V sales to 1,084 units against 418 units during the same period in 2021.

Tractor sales declined to 3,406 units from 4,966 units in January 2022. Rickshaw and motorbike sales also decreased to 109,558 units in January 23 against 153,658 units in the same period last year.

According to a report of Topline Securities, Pakistan’s car sales (including sales of non-PAMA members) clocked in at around 11,500 units, down 37% MoM primarily led by Pak Suzuki (PSMC) due to the non-availability of CKD parts amid the credit letters issue, which led to non-production days.

On a YoY basis, weak demand dynamics were again evident from a 47% YoY fall in industry sales in January 2023, also taking a 7MFY23 decline to 39% YoY. “This is primarily attributable to escalating car prices, expensive auto financing, and low purchasing power of consumers,” said Sunny Kumar, an analyst for Topline Securities.

PSMC recorded a decline of 74% MoM and 67% YoY to 2,946 units, which is the lowest sales since April 2020 when PSMC recorded zero sales due to COVID-19 related shutdown.

Hyundai sales rose 81% MoM where Tuscon was up 69% MoM to 620 units and Sonata was up 241% MoM to 191 units in January 2023.

Amongst Tractors, Millat Tractors sold 2,203 units in January 2023 up from 501 units in December 2022. It was followed by Al-Ghazi Tractors which sold 1,203 units in January 2023 compared to 514 units sold in December 2022, primarily on account of easing of production issues.

This takes total tractor industry sales to 14,919 units in 7MFY23 down 53% YoY due to floods, plant shutdown, lower consumer buying power and higher prices.