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Pakistan’s luxury cars

December 31, 2015
FARHAN ZAHEER
KARACHI

The size of Pakistan’s luxury cars market might be debatable, subjective and controversial.

Even adding safety bags to a sedan might seem like a luxury when you have cars on the road that would better serve humanity in the scrapyard.

Range-Rover Vogue 2

But when it comes to raising the bar on outright luxury cars, details become clearer. The recent macroeconomic stability and improved security situation might tempt more to pursue high-end objects.

The Express Tribune looks at the luxury cars market and what it currently has to offer for those looking to convert dreams to reality.

Bentley reveals world’s fastest, most luxurious SUV

Porsche Cayman

“A luxury car is one that is better built, offers greater comfort, an extravagant drive wherein everything is premium,” noted PakWheels.com CEO Mohammad Raza Saeed, adding that the price of a vehicle cannot determine whether it falls in the luxury category.

Since price is not the only factor involved, he says it would be improper to classify vehicles according to their price range.

“It is tough to lay an exact definition of a luxury vehicle in Pakistan.

“The latest Toyota Land Cruiser ZX is priced at Rs22.5 million, but it is not even a luxury vehicle to challenge the luxury sport utility vehicles (SUVs) such as Range Rover and Porsche Cayenne,” he added.

The auto sector

Pakistan automobile sales are on a continuous positive trajectory and are expected to hit a seven-year high by the end of this fiscal year in June 2016.

Porsche Boxster

Automobile analysts say macroeconomic recovery, better security situation and revival of banks’ interest in car financing are helping car sales. “Porsche is opening up a centre in Karachi now. Audi’s sales have picked up and newer BMWs are not as rare as before.

Hot wheels: Fancy vehicles vroom into Faisalabad

“But these automakers don’t have big numbers, not even in three digits in a month,” he said, when asked about the correlation between economic recovery and luxury car sales.

Mercedes-Benz-E-Class-2015

SUVs, especially Japanese vehicles, are much more popular in Pakistan than luxury saloons. “Within the SUV segment, Toyota Land Cruisers are the undisputed market leaders in Pakistan,” said Merchants’ Automobile’s Fahim Aslam – a Karachi-based luxury car dealer.

After SUVs come German saloons like Mercedes Benz S-Class, E-Class and Porsche, all of which have company-operated centres in Pakistan. Furthermore, these companies have also launched their latest series in the country.

“Company-operated offices are very helpful because all luxury cars are intricately built and require regular maintenance to operate at a certain standard level,” said Saeed.

NED University hosts super-car exhibition

Popular used cars in luxury segment

Despite a big difference in the market dynamics of every country, there remains one common factor: prices of all luxury cars depreciate faster,” said Saeed.

“For instance, a new Mercedes S-Class will cost you over $100,000, but within four to five years its price reduces to $20,000-$30,000.

“The more expensive the car is, the faster its price comes down. That’s the standard formula. You cannot help it,” agreed Aslam.

“One of the reasons why some people prefer used luxury cars is the low price factor. But this can cost you more money if you fail to cut a good deal,” said a top corporate executive.

Audi A7

“I have had a very bad experience with a used Mercedes Benz mainly because of its expensive maintenance. I would recommend people to only buy used luxury vehicles from company authorised or reputed dealers to get satisfactory maintenance services,” he said.

Some expensive units sold in Pakistan

Range Rover’s price tag of Rs35.5 million or Audi A8’s Rs22.5 million is not enough to deter some Pakistanis. They are willing to spend, but less than forthcoming with their transactions.

On display : Vintage car lovers throng auto show

But keeping aside the high import duty that shoots up the price of any foreign-made vehicle when it gets shipped into Pakistan, luxury cars will always have a market – be an economic boom or a recession.

They might be few on the road, but turn heads when they are.

The writer is a staff correspondent 

Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st,  2015.

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