Proton to launch cheapest sedan Saga in Pakistan


Proton to launch cheapest sedan Saga in Pakistan

Malaysian auto giant Proton, which has collaborated with Al-Haj, the makers of FAW automobiles in Pakistan, will be launching its 1300cc sedan named Saga on April 4 with the lowest price tag in the category.

The company is expected to launch the car in three variants – standard manual, standard automatic and premium automatic. It is a b-category sedan car, the same as the Honda City, Toyota Yaris and Changan Alsvin.   

A source privy to the matter said that the basic manual version of the car will be launched below Rs2 million, which would make it the cheapest sedan in Pakistan. The price of its top variant may go up to Rs2.4 million.      

“My source in the company said that it will launch the car at a price comparable to that of the Suzuki Cultus,” said auto expert Usman Ansari, who runs a blogging website “Cultus’ different variants are priced in between Rs1.7 million and Rs2.1 million.”

He added that if the car is priced below Rs2 million then it may do well but if the price of its lowest variant begins from Rs2.1 million, the same as the Cultus top variant, then it will struggle to compete.

At the moment, Changan’s Alsvin is selling the cheapest new sedan car in Pakistan with its lowest manual variant priced at Rs2.2 million.

However, the company increased the price of its two higher variants by Rs50,000 and Rs100,000 before the new car hit Pakistani roads. After the increase, the automatic variant has now been booked for Rs2.45 million and premium automatic Lumiere for Rs2.65 million.

Ansari, who had test driven the Malaysia imported CBU (completely built unit) in an auto show, said he was unimpressed by the car especially because he found it had heavy steering.

Last year in December, the company also launched its SUV crossover X70. The X70 is the same car which former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad presented as a gift to Prime Minister Imran Khan in December 2019.

The Proton has received green-field status under the Auto Development Policy 2016-21. New companies such as Proton, Kia, Hyundai, MG Motors, Sazgar and Changan will be paying lower duties compared to firms already operating in Pakistan such as Toyota, Honda and Suzuki.

The ADP 2016-21 policy ends in June 2021 and the models introduced by new companies, known as entrants in the industry, will be considered for duty relaxations for a complete five-year period. The entrants may introduce a new car after the ADP expires but the later they do this the smaller the window for duty relaxation. But government has yet to give more clarity on this.