By Marylou Andrew
Mar 31 - Apr 06, 2003



It's an industry that provides thousands of jobs, pays millions in taxes and contributes significantly to Pakistan's GDP. If you haven't guessed already, it's the country's thriving automobile industry. Even in the depressing post September 11th scenario when the economy as a whole and industries in particular were undergoing a downturn, this industry continued to flourish and prosper. As a matter of fact, the demand for automobiles has increased quite consistently over the past few years. These developments ensured a great deal of competition between car-makers in the Pakistani market. Many new companies emerged on the scene with innovative products to catch the customer's attention. However one company that has continued to enthrall car-buyers in Pakistan for a decade is the Indus Motor Company (IMC).

Established in 1990, IMC is a joint venture of the House of Habib, Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Tsusho Company for the assembling and progressive manufacturing and marketing of Toyota and Daihatsu vehicles in Pakistan. Born at a time when the automobile sector in Pakistan was regulated entirely by the government, the company established the first manufacturing plant to operate in the private sector. With a commitment to be the most respected and successful enterprise, delighting its customers with a wide range of products and solutions with the best people and technology, the company has achieved tremendous success over the last 10 years.

The company's success didn't come as a surprise to anyone; with a parent company like Toyota, it was practically expected. Toyota, which captured the lion's share of the Japanese auto market several years ago, has a long standing reputation for complete dedication and commitment to quality. The company has fast established itself as a global name with 41 companies in 24 countries. In just Japan, Toyota provides employment to 70,500 people, has 15 manufacturing plants and 309 authorized dealers.

Following in the same vein, Indus Motor Company proceeded to capture the Pakistani market with full force. With a current investment of Rs. 2.4 billion, the company provides employment to 1100 people. Production levels have also increased significantly. In its first four years of operation, IMC had a production capacity of 20 units per day for the Corolla; this has increased to 66 units per day recently. Concurrently IMC managed to successfully introduce new and improved models of its products almost every year of its short but phenomenal history.



The advent of the new decade was even more profitable for the company. In Pakistan, there has been a rapid shift from petrol to CNG via retrofitting and factory fitted CNGs. Pakistan stands third in the world with an estimated 265,000 CNG cars and approximately 300 CNG stations already operating while 3000 stations in the private sector are under construction. In keeping with this trend, IMC introduced the Daihatsu Cuore, a car that gained instant popularity by virtue of its superior quality. Two years later, the company brought out a CNG version of the car for its ecologically conscious customers. The model has really caught on with car buyers due to its superb performance even on CNG. The year 2002 also heralded the launch of the new Corolla, in which IMC was able to achieve more than 50% localization in parts, the highest ever starting localization level in the auto industry. Such is the popularity of the Toyota Corolla in the Pakistani market that sales have reportedly increased by 57%.

However, it has not always been smooth sailing for the company. The future of Pakistan's auto industry looked particularly bleak at the end of 1999 as the industry had remained stagnant for several years. However in the last couple of years due to consistent government policies, the automobile industry started to grow exponentially. In order to meet increasing demand for automobiles, IMCs production levels have increased significantly over the past few years and a second shift was also initiated with effect from 3rd March.

This second shift is an important achievement, initiated for the express purpose of meeting its customer demand, which has continued to burgeon over the last year. Initiating a second shift has meant an increase in employment opportunities as well as greater business for vendors. The company estimates that it can produce 1350 Corollas, 450 Cuore and 270 Hilux in a month on second shift basis. By doing so, IMC has ensured that the delay in delivering automobiles to customers is minimized and commitments are kept.

The efforts of the company for the benefit of its customers have been recognized and appreciated by senior officials of the government. Governor SBP (State Bank of Pakistan), Dr. Ishrat Hussain during a visit to the company lauded IMCs commitment to its customers and also said, "The activities of the company are very profitable to Pakistan because it generates a lot of revenue, pays taxes and provides employment opportunities to so many people."

IMC has managed to go from strength to strength in the last decade. The company has managed to widen its vendor base from 21 to a phenomenal 65 vendors, spread across the length and breadth of the country. The business conducted with these vendors amounts to over Rs. 4 billion.

The company's success is so phenomenal that it has been recognized by the highest echelons of the government. On recent visit to the company's plant at Port Bin Qasim, Commerce Minister, Humayun Akhtar said, "I have followed the progress of IMC from the ground up and the company has certainly come a long way." Liaquat Jatoi, Federal Minister of Industries and Production, during his visit to IMC was pleased with the level of localization achieved by the company and said, "Presently 48% of car parts are manufactured in Pakistan, I hope that with government support we will be able to change this to 100%."

Apart from its contributions to Pakistan's economy, IMC has also gained recognition as a good corporate citizen. The company has constantly provided generous financial assistance to a variety of charitable causes such as the Edhi Trust, Aga Khan Hospital, Marie Adelaide, SIUT etc. To date it has donated 15 Hiluxes and 6 Cuores to the Afghan High Commissioner for the rebuilding of Afghanistan. IMC also provides medical treatment to needy families and sponsors sports tournaments and educational projects. However, the most important development initiative by far is the T-TEP Program (Toyota Technical Education Program), based in Lahore, which provides technical education and employment opportunities to young men from surrounding areas.

As part of being a good corporate citizen, IMC takes its environmental duties very seriously and is a certified ISO 14001 company. The company was the first to start using environment friendly gas in automobile air-conditioners. The factory at Port Bin Qasim contains green zones which have been planted with over 5000 trees and are maintained effectively. Similarly, Rs. 50 million have been invested in a Waste Water Treatment Plant to ensure that hazardous waste from the factory is treated properly. Emissions from the plant are also controlled by conducting regular check-ups for Plant Exhaust Emission.

The plant's efficiency can be measured by the fact that every car passed through 29 assembly stations and each function is completed within 7.5 minutes. Not only this, but the manufacturing unit strictly observes the international standards of Toyota Japan; from the installation of the first part, to the test drive.

A strong believer in human resource development, the company provides refresher courses and various training programs for employees, dealers and vendors at regular intervals. Adding to their professional abilities, IMC equips them with state of the art automobile manufacturing technology from Japan. As a cornerstone to national success, Indus Motors befittingly couples Japanese technological advancements with their utilization for the economic benefit of Pakistan.



IMCs decade of commitment to Pakistan and its contributions were further highlighted at the 10th year celebrations of the company. Shaukat Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance, who graced the occasion, said, "IMC has played a critical role in the automobile industry's growth and employment, this is a very positive sign for the vendors." The minister congratulated Indus for its high standard of quality and commended the contributions that it has made to the community. He also acknowledged the company's commitment to meeting demand by initiating second shift.

A large part of IMCs success is based on its commitment to providing quality products to the people of Pakistan. These products, coupled with IMCs innate sense of responsibility to the people and the environment of the country have made it a winner in every field.