Pakistan records its highest-ever bike sale in first quarter

Sales ticked to 805,000 bikes as rural demand surges

Pakistan recorded its highest-ever quarterly (three-month) bike sales at 805,408 units as rural demand surged followed by the Covid-19 lockdown, according to Association of Pakistan Motorcycle Assemblers (APMA) Chairperson Muhammad Sabir Shaikh.

Honda, Pakistan’s most popular motorcycle brand, sold 288,005 motorcycles during the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 (Jul, Aug and Sept) – more than one third (36%) of the total motorcycle sales in the country.

The record quarterly sales came after the country sold over 300,000 bikes in July. It was the highest-ever number of bikes sold in a month in the country.

Shaikh said that there was a huge backlog of demand during 2020 as the sales were low in January and February and almost negligible in March, April and May.

“The rural demand is strong as the farmers had accumulated cash because of the lockdown and have been unable to buy motorcycles,” Shaikh said. “Now they are on a spending spree as they also have better income due to higher cotton, wheat and vegetable prices.”

The motorcycle industry generally has 55% rural and 45% urban sales. But Shaikh says this quarter, rural demand almost surged to 70% of the total motorcycle sales.      

Shaikh has half a dozen bike showrooms in Karachi and is a dealer of Yamaha and Suzuki bikes while he also sells several locally assembled Chinese bikes. He has a registered bike assembling company named ‘Sitara’ but it is inactive nowadays.

He said that his association has estimated the total industry sales after taking data from vendors and bike assemblers, who are not members of Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) and clubbed it with PAMA numbers.

The PAMA members collectively sold 448,736 during the quarter. Shaikh said that there were nearly 40 other active assemblers, who are not PAMA members. They sold over 350,000 bikes.

Companies such as Unique, Super Star, Union Star, Hi-Speed, Crown and Super Power are not PAMA members and as such they don’t make their numbers public. All non-PAMA members and even some of the PAMA members assemble Chinese bikes. 

Bike companies, which assemble bikes with parts imported from China, sell at a 50% lower price than Honda, a market leader in the motorcycle industry.

According to JS Global Senior Research Analyst Ahmed Lakhani, the demand for motorcycles has been increasing due to low income and cars becoming more expensive. He said that people were now buying locally assembled Chinese bikes more.

For instance, a 70cc locally assembled Chinese bike is selling at around Rs53,000. Honda 70 is priced at Rs78,000. A bike with an engine capacity of 70cc is the best-selling variant in Pakistan. 

He said delivery businesses and ride-hailing services have also been thriving. They have also been a driving factor in increasing motorcycle sales.  


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