The figures representing national economics are depressingly, inflation is all time high, energy crisis has took a worst turn but there still are people who are celebrating. A few days back Honda Atlas Cars (Pakistan) Limited celebrated the production of their 200,000th unit, which makes many eyebrows rise. The question is not that how Honda has managed to produce this number of vehicle, the question is that despite declining buying power of a major chunk of the society, Honda is selling like hot cakes. Even more, compared to its market rivals, Toyota and Suzuki, it has gained a considerable market share within a short span of time. The thing that comes up seems simple; people in Pakistan are going for luxury cars that show a lavish side of the personality rather than a car that plainly commutes.
The last decade has seen a rapid increase in the number of vehicles that have come on the roads. Thought this means the rise in the living standards of the people across the country, there is dark side of the story as well. Not once but there have been uncountable events that have clearly shown that a major chunk of the society is not mature enough to accept the rapid change in technology. Thanks to unlimited supply of car financing schemes, car loans and automobile lease plans from almost every segment of financial institution that the demand of luxury cars increased uncontrollably.
Almost every person even with a median source of income saw the realization of his dream of getting his own car. People with 800CC vehicle went up to 1200CC cars and the ones with 1200CC went for even more beefed up vehicles. This is what happens when a country runs without a long term plan. The roads shrunk, accidents rose, lawlessness increased and the reports of car crimes reached the highest. For those who could not afford a car but had a wish to own one, car rentals came about as a blessing. With the mushrooming of unauthorized and illegal car rental companies, those who had leased a car but were unable to pay the premiums got the opportunity to rent it out on monthly contracts. On the other hand, many people especially the youth got the opportunity to get their hands behind the steering wheel to sense the royalty for once in lieu of a minor rent payment.
Due to unstable economic conditions, a large number of financial institutions went bankrupt bringing a halt of the supply of luxury vehicles throwing the supply ball back in the court of car manufacturing companies. Although the VIP culture and the sense of class segregation had infused in the society to the level that it had become impossible to get out of this quick sand, which meant that whether people like it or not or whether they can afford it or not, they have to own a luxury car to show their superior class.
Today, the car financing is a hard nut to crack even for those who can afford it. The banks and other financial intuitions learnt a hard lesson that to give out a car to every tom dick and harry and then running behind them for repayment of installments is beyond common sense, showing vivid signs of maturity. But still, the luxury vehicles from BMWs, Mercedes, Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi are fighting neck to neck for getting a sizeable share of the market. The sales volume of luxury vehicles compared to smaller cars is increasing day by day and honestly, in a society where class-consciousness matters more than living, there is no turning back.