LAHORE - The auto parts manufacturers (APMs) produce almost 70 per cent parts for locally produced vehicles, after making investments of over Rs100 billion in hi-tech production facilities and quality assurance equipment.

APMs are the reason why most of the vehicles produced in Pakistan are cheaper than their counterparts in India. They are one of the biggest employers of skilled workers, technicians, engineers & management professionals. The APMs suffer both revenue and employment losses, when policies such as liberal import of used cars & heavy under-invoicing of auto parts take away large chunks of the local industry’s market. To be labeled as “cottage industry” amounts to adding insult to injury for the over 3 million Pakistanis, directly & indirectly engaged with the auto sector. These views were expressed by the Pakistan Association of Autoparts & Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM), which has criticized the anti-industry policies of the present as well as the previous governments who have been promoting trade instead of facilitating the industry. The PAAPAM executive committee meeting chaired by its chairman, Engineer Mumshad Ali, has flayed former Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque, who lacks clear understanding of the global auto industry or the domestic auto sector in Pakistan.

Firstly, his view that Pakistan is producing cars based on technology of the last century is fallacious, because Civic, City, Corolla, Swift and Wagoner are examples of hi-tech models being produced in leading countries of the world. Few exceptions of smaller vehicles (Mehran, Ravi & Bolan) are a blessing because, at affordable prices, these offer viable options for migration from motorcycles to automobiles.

Dr. Haq has reached the conclusion that the internal combustion engine is dying. Global combined sales of hybrids & electrical cars are less than 1% and will not exceed 10% of the total auto market by 2030. The executive committee raised the question, as to whether it would be prudent for Pakistan to focus on such nascent technologies, which no one in any third world can afford.