KARACHI: German truck maker MAN SE is at an advanced stage of setting up a plant in Pakistan, industry officials say.
Forecasting greater demand of heavy vehicles under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), vehicle manufacturers are flocking to Pakistan to explore opportunities of investment with MAN SE being the latest addition to the growing list.
MAN SE, which has been watching the Pakistan market for over five years, is expected to officially announce its decision within a couple of months.
It is pertinent to mention that 75% of MAN SE’s ownership rests with the Volkswagen Truck and Bus GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG.
Industry officials say this is a big development for Pakistan because the company is also expected to export trucks from the country.
The National Logistic Cell (NLC) is expected to give significant orders to MAN SE because Pakistan’s leading logistic company is looking to replace its old fleet, an auto industry official informed.
Officials from the German company are also coming to Pakistan to participate in the Pakistan Auto Show (PAPS) 2017, being held from March 3 at the Expo Centre, Karachi.
CPEC is expected to generate huge demand for trucks in Pakistan and industry officials say Pakistani companies like NLC would prefer to use German trucks due to quality concerns. Local industry officials say German trucks are better placed to commute on extraordinary high altitude of Karakoram Highway (KKH) – one of the highest paved roads in the world that connects Pakistan and China.
In February 2012, German Embassy’s Commercial Section Head Samy Saddi, while talking to media, said that German auto giant MAN was looking at Pakistan as a potential market.
The 250 year-old company operates through fully owned subsidiaries or joint ventures with local companies in India, Poland, Turkey, China, the US, the UAE South Africa, Uzbekistan, Portugal etc.
After years of stagnant economic activity and poor automobile sales, Pakistan is witnessing huge demand in heavy vehicles due to CPEC, macroeconomic stability and relative improvement in the country’s security situation.
Earlier, it was reported that Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is in final talks with Premier Systems Private Limited – the authorised importer of Audi vehicles in the country – to set up a manufacturing/assembly plant for its Amarok and T6 (transporter range) models.
In the past year, a number of international auto makers have expressed interest to set up manufacturing plants in Pakistan.
France’s Renault and South Korea’s Hyundai and Kia have announced they will soon start assemblies in Pakistan, in partnership with local companies.
This will mark a return for Kia and Hyundai, which left in the previous decade when their local partner suffered financial problems.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2017.