Honda Atlas to launch CR-Z sports hybrid car this month


Honda-CR-Z-hybridKARACHI: Honda Atlas will launch CR-Z sports hybrid vehicle worth Rs2.5 million this month, official sources said.


Honda Atlas will become the second in line to launch hybrid vehicle after Indus Motor Company (IMC), which has recently launched its hybrid car Toyota Prius.


Of the big three automakers of Pakistan, only two have taken part in the race of hybrid cars, the officials said. The automakers have started launching hybrid vehicles after the government announced tax exemption on such vehicles in its budget for FY14.


The government had announced that HEVs up to 1200cc will be exempted from duties and other taxes. From 1,201cc to 1,800cc, 50 percent relief from duties and other taxes will be provided and from 1,801cc to 2,500cc, 25 percent relief has been proposed. No relief will be available for vehicles beyond 2,500cc.


The government emphasised on the eco-friendly technology, owing to increasing burden of the oil import bill to meet the demand of petrol. However, so far, there is no hybrid vehicle with an engine capacity of 1,200cc. Since then all auto manufacturers are rushing towards introducing their own hybrid cars to compete with the imported hybrid cars, the officials said.


The major price difference between the two vehicles is due to the reason that Prius is equipped with an engine capacity of 1,800cc for which the duty and taxes have only been slashed by 25 percent, while CR-Z hybrid sports has an engine capacity of 1,500cc, a category for which the government has slashed 50 percent in duty and taxes.


IMC had recently launched their much-awaited Toyota Prius with 1,800cc engine and a hybrid motor. According to the management, this model has been customised for Pakistani road conditions. The retail price has been fixed at Rs4.49 million, which is inclusive of 37.5 percent Customs duty and 17 percent general sales tax, making the total government duties of 43 percent of the total price. The market for high-end vehicles is dominated with Toyota brands such as Camry, Hilux, Hiace, Avanza vehicles, SUVs-Land Cruisers and Prado. With the current CBU portfolio, Indus has a 39 percent market share in this segment in FY13, leading with Hiace, Terios and Avanza vehicles.


With the launch of Prius, IMC has added a new variant to its CBU portfolio, Syed Ali Ahmed, auto analyst at Alternate Research, said. Toyota Prius is the first official hybrid vehicle in Pakistan. In order to capture increasing demand of hybrid vehicles and to take advantage of the relaxations in duties, Indus has launched Prius. However, used Prius had already been imported in large numbers with the price ranging from Rs2.2 million to Rs2.7 million, having engine capacity of 1,500cc to 1,800cc.


Hence, the price of Prius is 60 percent to 70 percent more than what the same model of used imported Prius costs. The IMC management believed that it will easily sell 100 to 150 Toyota Prius in a year, which seems to be quite difficult with the price attached. Ahmed said that Toyota Prius (Plug-in vehicle) and Honda CR-Z have been highly successful worldwide and are now awaiting response in Pakistan.


The major issue with the hybrid technology lies with the battery that this technology runs on. There are battery re-fuelling stations and plug-in chargers in other countries and that is why people are turning their choices towards this eco-friendly technology. “However, in Pakistan we do not have a battery re-fuelling station or plug-in-chargeable technology, hence, buying Toyota Prius is not a one-time cost.”


The battery of Toyota Prius is said to have a life of 0.5 million kilometres, or five years, whichever comes first and the replacement cost of this battery, according to the management, is around Rs0.6 million.

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