KARACHI: Proton Pakistan has revealed the price of its 1300cc b-category sedan Saga, which will be launched in three variants – Saga MT, Saga AT, and Saga Ace.
The price of Saga basic manual transmission car is Rs1.97 million; Saga basic automatic transmission costs Rs2.12 million; the top-of-the-chain Saga Ace (automatic transmission with few added features) costs Rs2.22 million.
Saga falls in the same category as Honda City, Toyota Yaris, and Changan Alsvin. The price tag of below Rs2 million on its basic variant makes Proton Saga the cheapest sedan in Pakistan.
At the moment, Changan’s Alsvin is selling the cheapest new sedan car in Pakistan with its lowest manual variant priced at Rs 2.2 million.
In Pakistan Al-Haj, the makers of FAW automobiles in Pakistan, has collaborated with Malaysian auto giant Proton to launch the car. The company says it has an annual production capacity of 25,000 units.
However, the company increased the price of its two higher variants by Rs50,000 and Rs100,000 before the new car hit the Pakistan roads. After the increase, the automatic variant has now been booked for Rs2.45 million and the premium automatic Lumiere for Rs2.65 million.
Proton Pakistan will also be selling 100 limited units Saga R3 – 1332cc in both manual and automatic transmissions. The manual car is priced at Rs2.15 million, while the automatic car is priced at Rs2.45 million. The company said that it will sell the cars after a lucky draw. It will let people book cars on the company’s website and after 10 days, a lucky draw will be held.
Under the Auto Development Policy 2016-21, companies are allowed to import 100 units of a car model with major duty relaxation. Proton Malaysia has launched a limited edition of Saga R3, producing only 2000 units.
An auto expert Usman Ansari, who runs a blogging website carspirit.pk, took the Malaysia imported CBU (completely built unit) for a test run in an auto show previously. He was unimpressed by the car because of its heavy steering.
The car the company will launch in Pakistan has undergone some changes. “It will be a bit different,” he said.
Businessperson Abdul Wahab, who lived in Malaysia for four years, said that the car was a regular sight in Malaysia. He also owned a Saga car there and had a satisfactory experience. Wahab now owns Toyota Corolla car, and has owned imported used car Aqua and Mira in the past.
Last year in December, Proton Pakistan also launched its SUV crossover X70. The X70 is the same car that the former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad gifted Prime Minister Imran Khan in December 2019.
Proton has received a green-field status under the Auto Development Policy 2016-21. Under the status, new companies such as Proton, Kia, Hyundai, MG Motors, Sazgar, and Changan will be paying fewer 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 new entrants in the industry, will be considered for duty relaxations for a complete five-year period. The new entrants may bring a new car after the expiry date but the later they bring the lesser time period they will get for duty relaxation. The government is, however, yet to give more clarity on this.