Indus Motor Company (IMC) started assembling Toyota ‘Fortuner’ in Pakistan, saying that the local version will be 40% cheaper compared to imports.
The launch price is Rs5.175 million, while a brand new imported Fortuner was being sold at Rs8.2 million, a discount of 37%.
The reason behind such a massive price difference was the heavy import duties levied on automobile imports. The import duty on a Fortuner was 150% – the government slaps an extra 50% duty on cars having a bigger engine than 1.8 litres or 1,800cc to discourage luxury car imports.
IMC officials expect that the new 2,700cc petrol engine in locally assembled Fortuners will be well received in the market due to its lower price tag, which was made possible after investing three years and Rs5 billion in establishing a production facility.
After launching VIGO Champ, the launch of the new SUV showed that IMC was equally targeting a specific customer market of Rs3 to Rs5 million, besides 1,600cc or smaller engine cars.
By launching Fortuner, IMC becomes the only company assembling SUVs with a price tag of Rs5 million or above. Though the target market of Fortuner is niche, the company will be more than happy if it ends up selling 1,500 to 2,000 Fortuners in the next 12 months.
IMC kicked off the Fortuner project three years ago, but when the government increased the age limit of imported used cars from three years to five years, the plan faced a setback.
“IMC, adhering to its commitment to develop the auto industry of Pakistan, will continue to offer new, quality products and increase localisation through continuous transfer of technology,” Parvez Ghias, CEO of IMC.
It represents another significant step towards fulfilling IMC’s commitment to Pakistani market, he added.
Fortuner is equipped with hi-tech safety and security features such as anti-lock brake system (ABS) and SRS airbags. It has seven independent seat belts with height adjustment for driver and the front passenger with seven reclining seats and ample storage space, a press statement said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2013.
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