Let us import Indian cars: Pakistani dealers

Tuesday, 24 August 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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ISLAMABAD: Improving bilateral ties may soon see Indian cars whizzing down Pakistani roads if Islamabad accedes to a request from automobile dealers here.

"We believe that importing cars from India would be beneficial to our market to meet the demand for new cars," maintained Abdul Rashid Kathia, secretary general of the Pakistan Car Dealers Association.

There's been no response so far from the government, which has asked local manufacturers to increase production or the import of used cars might be permitted.

Some 100,000 cars were produced in Pakistan during 2003-04, but the growing demand, egged on by easy financing schemes, has outstripped supply despite an almost 100 percent growth in the automobile industry.

This has prompted manufacturers to jack up prices but officials warn the move could backfire.

"It may result in opening the gates for the import of second hand cars," commerce ministry spokesman Fahim Qureshi told IANS.

He said already there was under tremendous pressure from the public to allow import of used and reconditioned cars into Pakistan.

The budget for 2004-05 slashed by 50 percent the import duty on cars below 1,000 cc but this has had little impact on the demand-supply position.

"This did not serve the purpose as there is no price difference between locally produced and imported cars, said Kathia.

This year alone, manufacturers have jacked up prices between 20,000 and 64,000.

For instance, the price of a Toyota 2.0 CD diesel has gone up from 1.196 million to 1.209 million - an increase of 20,000 per unit.

Similarly, the price of a Toyota Corolla XLI has increased by Rs 10,000.

Kathia was of the view that equivalent cars manufactured in India cost 30 percent less.

"I think we can meet the demand if the import of Indian cars is allowed. Indian manufacturers would offer us competitive prices," Kathia contended.

Source: IANS
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