LAHORE  - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated three-day Pakistan Auto Show 2014 at International Expo Centre, Lahore on Thursday. The Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) is organising the show.

PAPS Chairman Nabeel Hashmi said that almost the entire local auto industry comes together to showcase their products, technologies and capabilities. The show is expected to attract thousands of attendees who will get first-hand information on some of their favourite cars and two-wheelers, he said, adding the event will also attract international buyers of vehicles and automotive components which may increase local industry access to export markets.

He quoted the prime minister as announcing full government support, if the auto industry moved towards the development of a Pakistan National Car.

As per PAAPAM, around 162 local and international exhibitors are participated in the show and main exhibiting countries are Germany, Pakistan, Japan, Taiwan, India, Malaysia and China. Around 40 international buyers and 280 international visitors from Belgium, South Africa, China, Sudan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Turkey are expected to grace the event. Exhibitor’s categories are auto parts manufacturers, services providers, machinery makers and tool makers.

Auto parts, passenger cars, trucks, busses, tractors, rickshaws, antique cars, heavy motorbikes and new brads are on display. The show remained open for the visitors from 2pm to 9pm on Thursday. General public can visit the show today (Friday) from 10 am to 8pm while it will remain open from 10am to 6pm on Saturday. Knowledge seminars on developing exporting skills are planned to be organized during the auto show besides 16 universities are participated with innovation/engineering projects and awards by the association. 

The exhibitors informed that Pakistan produced its first vehicle in 1953 at the National Motors Limited which was established in Karachi to assemble Bedford Trucks.

The industry was highly regulated until the early 1990s. After deregulation, major Japanese manufacturers entered in the market thereby creating some competition in the sector. Assemblers of HINO Trucks, Suzuki Cars (1984), Toyota (1993) and Honda (1994) in particular, entered Pakistan one after the other. Small run brands which came on a short term basis included Nissan, GM, and Hyundai.

With a conservative estimated Rs 150 Billion investment, the industry provides direct employment to over 252,000 (2013 PAAPAM estimates) and indirectly supports over 2.4 million persons. Exports of four wheelers, two wheeler and agricultural related components are on the increase with last estimates at US$ 128 million.

On the road four wheeled vehicles are to cross 10 million in 2013. However, two wheelers with an annual production of more than two million are fast crossing 25 million and now boasting a collective robust US$ 3.5 billion aftermarket.

Heavy vehicle population in Pakistan is mixed with European and Japanese variants available in used and new categories. Additionally Chinese trucks and buses are now also entering fast with local production and creating competition for already established brands like Hino.

PAAPAM was established in 1988 and duly recognised by the Government of Pakistan in 1992. The Association represents the autoparts-manufacturing sector with an estimated industrial base of over 2800 units spread all over Pakistan. The Association’s registered membership base is in excess of 350.