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TEXT: President SAARC Chamber of Commerce &?Industry, Former Chairman, United Business Group (UBG), Former President, FPCCI &?LCCI

I thank the Daily Business Recorder for publishing the Special Supplement on “Automobile Industry & Accessories” March, 2023.

Automobile Industry revolutionized the transport and traveling sectors in the 20th Century, which globalized the whole world and pushed up the economic growth. In the beginning large industries were set-up by countries having Automobile Technology. Soon its potentials were realized and to avail the economies of large scale concept of outsourcing was adopted. Simple technology of manufacturing Auto Parts was passed on to less developed countries for this purpose.

During the early years of partition while dealing in trading of auto parts Guard Group management realized the bright future of auto parts. It started manufacturing of Autofilters under the Logo Guard. Because of its quality soon this filter was asked for by the consumers.

Post Covid-19 losses adversely affected the economies of whole world. But unexpected rains and floods further damaged the economic conditions in Pakistan. Delay at the part of people at the helm of affairs made the conditions precarious. Agriculture being the main contributor to GDP was totally lost, so much that we had to import a number of products that we used to export. Foreign exchange reserve has dropped below USD 3 billion and Pak Rupee depreciated to Rs.270/- per US dollar making the imports expensive.

The present rise in the prices of automobiles shows that level of our indigenous manufacturing was limited only to a few parts. It warrants that Autopart Industry should workout a deletion program (import substitution) and make sincere efforts to follow it, so that we could face such situations in future which are predicted by the experts owing to climate change.

My message for those manufacturing or assembling auto parts is that they should not compromise on quality. This Industry will expand as is evident from the introduction of electric vehicles (EV).

A Brief History of Development of Auto Guard Filters:

Autofilters are one of the pioneer items ventured during the Ayub Regime under the concept, “Development of Import Substitution Industry”.

Guard Filters was the venture of Malik Auto & Agricultural Industries (Pvt) Ltd., established in 1960. Primarily the Management of the company dealt in auto spare parts business and then gradually embarked upon the production of Guard Filters. Selection criterion was its fast moving nature with large demand. Initially it was based on indigenous technology. As the Management accumulated experience contacts were developed abroad with various producers of raw materials and autofilters to perfect the technology. Luckily they came across with M/s J.C. Binzer, the producers of filtration media in Germany. They helped them in the selection of filtration media for filters of various vehicles. Simultaneously a director was got trained from Japan in the filter manufacturing technology. The name Guard was selected because of its meanings. As autofilters safeguard the vehicle engine while in operation by supplying filtrated oil, air & fuel. Management never compromised on the quality of Guard Filters which ensured their success.

Gradually Guard Filters were accepted by the customers and the brand Guard began to be considered as symbol of quality. Accordingly every coming year witnessed the expansion of Guard Filter Factory presently located at Wahdat Road, Lahore. Today the production range of Guard filters exceeds 300 types of filters. The filter manufacturing facility has now attained the status of one of the largest autofilter manufacturing units of South Asia.

  1. In-house facilities:

Guard Filter Unit has all type of in-house engineering facilities. Most of the filter parts are fabricated by the unit. Only few items are purchased from vendors. Besides filter parts, all type of moulds, dies, and some machines are fabricated here. Technical section of the unit is well equipped with a comprehensive laboratory where raw materials, parts and finished filters are tested. Technical Department is in a position to develop new filters. It keeps on developing new filters for OEM & Replacement market. Guard Filters are being used by OEM of all tractors, some cars, buses, trucks & motorcycles being assembled in Pakistan.

Assemblers/Manufacturers using Guard Filters as Original Equipment Manufacturers Genuine Parts (OEM):

  • Millat Tractors Ltd.,

    (For Massey Ferguson 240, 375 & 385 Tractors).

  • Al-Ghazi Tractors Ltd.,

    (For Fiat 480 & 640 Tractors).

  • Pak Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd.,

    (For all models of Suzuki Cars).

  • Honda Atlas Cars (Pakistan) Ltd., (For all models of Honda Cars).

  • Indus Motor Co. Ltd.,

    (For Diahatsu Coure Cars)

  • Hinopak Motors Ltd.,

    (For Hino Buses & Trucks)

Guard Filters are also being used by Pakistan Railways since long. Besides that Guard Filters are catching the needs of Agriculture Sector by providing filters for combined harvesters.

With the installation of Gas turbines at power plants, Guard Filters for these turbines have been developed which are being used by some of the power plants. Research is being carried out to further improve upon the so far research work conducted at the Guard Filter manufacturing facilities.

  1. Marketing:

The Marketing Sector was strengthened by taking intensive & extensive tours of various cities and today the distribution network of Guard products consists of 42 dealers spread over the country. These dealers have further appointed sub-dealers in the areas of their jurisdiction. Besides that mobile delivery wagons also distribute autofilters on various gas stations and shops in the remote areas in particular. It ensures the supply of autofilters even to far-flung areas. Supplies are also made on Rate Running Contracts to various Government Departments and the fleet owners.

  1. Quality:

The quality of Guard Filters is maintained despite the awkward situation like hike in prices of raw materials, expensive laboratory equipments and machinery for manufacturing. Constant investment is made on these equipments with an objective of maintaining the standard and the compatibility of Guard Filters against its competitors and imported filters. It may be noted that despite the liberal import policy Guard Filters are continuously dominating the market and the management is doing its best to retain the tempo.

  1. Research (R&D):

Under the dynamic management Guard Filters are working faithfully on import substitution. For future, special emphasis is on expanding the research work infrastructure through inducting new staff, test equipment and manufacturing facilities. The Management is well aware of these essentials and is continuously spending on getting the technical labour trained in the modern techniques of autofilters manufacturing. Some technical persons are also got trained from abroad. Moreover, technical department of the unit remain in touch with the manufacturers of filtration media and always adopt for the improved raw materials. It is necessary for the satisfaction of the customer and to catch on the day-to-day research & development taking place in the filtration media.

Let’s be Pakistani & buy Pakistani products to encourage Auto Parts & Agri. Tractors manufactured locally. It will help our Vendor Industry to grow.

Iftikhar Ali Malik

Chairman, Guard Group

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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