Even in the auto industry, very high levels of indigenisation were achieved but fell prey to mysterious forces.

Jul 13 - 19, 1996

The local automobile industry does not stand on its own, the development involves other smaller components such as metal, plastic , mechanical and the glass industry.

The development of the industry will therefore depend on the development of the input industries. An organized network of these sub-industries plays a vital role in the overall industrial development of the automotive sector in the country.

Unfortunately, in the case of Pakistan, every successive government has come to power with its own rather peculiar notion of industrial growth. Policies have been short-lived and though the government, have time and again, expressed concern for the industrial sector, their own modus operandi vis-a-vis this sector has remained far from satisfactory. The level of indigenisation achieved is given in the table.

Different government, have shown different positive signs of formulating a long-term industrial policy. This brings some hope for the industrial sector, on the other hand any effort on the part of the policy-makers would go in vain unless it is backed by the expertise of professionals and how far have our policy-makers and the professionals in the auto industry been working together in the country has not been very satisfactory.

Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM), formed in 1988 to represent the auto parts manufacturers or vendors as they are known at various government departments and to provide technical and management cooperation to the members, has not in a way been fully able to contribute its share to the development of the sector.

The Association commands over 180 members with capital over 8 billion rupees manufacture, for the local assemblers, auto parts such as pistons, engine valves, gaskets, camshafts, shock-absorbers, struts, steering mechanism, cylinder head, wheel hubs, brake drums, wheels, bumpers, instruments and instrument panels, gears of all types, radiators, cylinder liners, blinkers, lights, door locks and auto air conditioners.

But according to critics in the industry, the Association has not put in enough efforts to take the industry forward — failure which the Association has blamed partly on the policy-makers and partly on the assemblers who have not been encouraging the local vendors as such.

Level of indigenisation achieved

Suzuki Mehran 800cc 58%

Suzuki Khyber 1000cc 44%

Suzuki Margalla 1300cc 35%

Suzuki Pick up 800cc 52%

Suzuki Potohar 1000cc 35%

Suzuki Van 800cc 47%

Toyota Corolla 28%

Honda Civic 28%

Tractor Massey Ferguson 84%

Tractor Fiat 84%

KIA Ceres 26%

Honda Motorcycles 70%

Yamaha Motorcycles 70%

Suzuki Motorcycles 65%

SOURCE: Pakistan Association of Automotive

Parts & Accessories Manufacturers.

National Motors, the company that first took the innitiative of indigenization, was said to have reached above 80% indigenization of the bedford lorries and trucks it was assembling in the 60s before the company decided, according to sources, "to pack up and leave".

Next came 'Nishan' , a jeep copied on the pattern of Willeys Jeep of USA by the Pakistan Army. Produced at the present Naya Daur Motors site, it was said that the Army had successfully produced about 80 jeeps and were still on trial run when the then Production Minister to Z.A. Bhutto put his foot on the idea and thus came the end of it all. The same blueprint is said to be still in use in Iran till today under their own brand name.

'Proficient', a brainchild of a roadside mechanic, late Khalil-ur-Rahman, in the early eighties was said to be successful but lacked any patronage from any quarter whatsoever and instead it was reported that the government then introduced a policy of concessionary rate on CBU of Suzuki pickups, same capacity as the one that was conceived locally and to put the last nail in the coffin the late mechanic though he would get attention in the capital and thus shifted his garage there but could not succeed. Though the children of the late mechanic are still carrying on their father's projects, they would rather keep a low profile till things finally come out by themselves.

Suzuki which promised to indigenise the total operation in about five years time is still not halfway, blaming the local vendors for poor quality of parts. But according to Riaz-ul-Hassan, editor of Engineering Review, a fortnightly journal that has been following the developments in the auto industry the beginning, the foreign car principals have no justification for their complaints. "Hino Trucks have started manufacturing wheel drums locally while Suzuki is still complaining about the quality of silencer it received from the local vendors."

Accordig to him, Suzuki in neighbouring in India is a hundred percent local and is locally branded as 'Maruti'.

New Approach

Having tired of seeing different vehicles in different units, the former Chief of Army Staff General Aslam Beg is reported to have asked his people (Army) to come up with a 'Pakistani truck' which they did.

Under the Army's indigenisation scheme, it was reported that there were four options to choose from, it was said that the Army could either ask a Japanese or Western truck manufacturer to get associated with the effort and set up a plant with promises of quick indigenisation. The second option was that the Army could count on National Motors capabilities. National Motors achieved almost 80% deletion during the Bedford days. The third option was for the Army to start ab-initio while the fourth option was to associate with various component manufacturers and then put them together, which the Army did.

According to Col. Minhaj Uddin Hasan, the managing director of Engine Systems Limited, the company that looked after the project in collaboration with Pakistan Automobile Corporation, 'Yasoob' the truck is called, is a combination of three different foreign manufactrurers. Its transmission is supplied by Eaton, Clutches by Lipe and axles by GKN.

The company, though producing only two military trucks a day at present, has the capacity to manufacture ten trucks daily and is designed by Cummings of USA on European standards. The military trucks have been successfully put into operation while the civilian version is on trial.