Pak Suzuki Motor Company (PSMC) will be discontinuing its second-generation Swift variant in Pakistan, almost 12 years after its launch, while bookings for the Cultus have also been temporarily suspended, multiple dealers told Business Recorder.
The company had announced through a notification in August last year that Swift, the second-generation hatchback, will be discontinued after August 2021.
Although there has been no official word from the company so far, several authorised dealerships confirmed that they have been communicated the discontinuation of the current model.
On the other hand, PSMC has also temporarily stopped bookings for Cultus with reports suggesting that new orders have not been entertained for at least a few weeks. Several Suzuki dealerships across multiple cities have confirmed that they have been directed to stop new bookings until further notice.
"The chip shortage is a reason," said a dealer. "We haven't taken a new booking for the Cultus for around a month."
The halt in production is also being witnessed in India where the country's top car maker Maruti Suzuki said that the global chip shortage will hurt production at its plants in the states of Haryana and Gujarat in September.
Total production volume across both locations could be around 40% of normal output, it had said in a regulatory filing.
Pakistan has also been hit by semiconductor supply chain disruptions during the pandemic, which drove up demand for chips used in electronics like computers as people worked from home, and hit output at many automakers.
Bolan, Ravi news
Separately, reports were also rife last month that Pak Suzuki has decided to discontinue Bolan and Ravi as well. Officials told Business Recorder that the company plans to replace Bolan with a minivan.
Discontinuation of Swift
Meanwhile, one of the primary reasons behind discontinuation of the current Swift could be its declining popularity or possible cannibalisation by Cultus. The company has not made any significant changes or upgrades to its second generation hatchback in years, which has reflected in slumping sales.
According to Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA), sales of Swift have come down from 5,509 units in 2018-19 to 2,316 in 2020-21. Sales of 2019-20 (1,828) were marred by the pandemic and hence, cannot be taken as a benchmark.
Market talk suggests Pakistan could see the introduction of the fourth generation Swift, which debuted globally in 2018.
As competition intensifies with the entry of new players, many believe the three old carmakers -- Toyota, Honda, and Suzuki -- have had to introduce new models/upgrades to keep up.
The pandemic has also hit car sales with production first disrupted by shutting down of the industry followed by the chip shortage. An earlier contraction in the economy and high interest rates also hurt car sales even before the pandemic began.
Pak Suzuki booked a profit in the first half of this year after turning losses for eight consecutive quarters.