Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/18/2012 -- The Pakistan autos sector continues to present a mixed picture as we approach the end of the country's fiscal year in June 2012. While the outlook for passenger cars and pick-ups remains robust, with strong growth seen in both production and sales year to date, the country's sluggish commercial vehicle sector and plunging farm tractor sector are acting as brakes on the progression of the wider vehicle industry.
According to figures from the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA), for the nine months ending March 31 2012, a total of 154,573 four-wheeled vehicles (passenger cars, trucks, buses, LCVs, jeeps, pick-ups and tractors) were produced in Pakistan, marking a 9% decline on the 169,743 four-wheeled vehicles produced in 9MFY11. Over the same period, a total of 156,877 four-wheeled vehicles were sold in Pakistan, down 5% on the 164,820 four-wheeled vehicles sold in 9MFY11.
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The main cause of the drop in both sales and production was the government's decision in March 2011 to impose a 16% general sales tax on tractor purchases, which were previously GST-exempt. This saw demand from farmers collapse over H1FY12, leading to Fiat's tractor production dropping by 236% y-oy over the six-month period, while Massey Ferguson's tractor output was down by 109% y-o-y.
Since that time, the government has revised its decision, reducing the GST levied on tractor sales down to 5% as of January 2012. This reduction in GST has had a swift impact on both production and sales from Fiat and Massey Ferguson. From a year-low of just four tractors produced in January 2012, Fiat had returned to over 2,000 units produced in March 2012. Similarly, Massey Ferguson has returned production to over 4,000 in March 2012, from a year-low of 963 in November 2011. At the same time, monthly sales figures have improved from a year-low of just 369 for January 2012 (for both Fiat and Massey Ferguson) to 6,229 as of March 2012. However, with the government still planning to increase GST on tractors to 10% in 2013 and then to 16% in 2014, it remains to be seen what effect these staggered tax hikes will have on tractor sales over the medium term.
Without the negative impact of the GST rise, then FY12 would have been a very strong year for the Pakistani auto sector. As it is, there is now scope for the industry to make back some of its losses by yearend, although tractor production and sales will still be down sharply year-on-year. Our current forecasts call for a total of 205,335 vehicles produced in Pakistan in FY12 and 203,504 vehicles sold.
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