Substandard quality of production, faulty assembly lines and unjustifiably exaggerated prices are byproducts of the time-honoured oligopoly, dominated by Atlas Honda, Indus Motors and Pak Suzuki Motors, in Pakistan’s automobile industry. Flying under the radar, this trio has established an overwhelming control over the market that other companies have been unable to permeate through—resulting in complacency and increased exploitation. Unfortunately, in the end, the industry is one that looks to cater to the vicious, profit maximising needs of corporations rather than the everyday consumer.

The reality for most Pakistanis is debilitating; the ability to purchase cars is a luxury enjoyed by a minute portion of society. Crippling prices make it impossible for the masses to consider buying even the cheapest of vehicles in the market. Years of control, accompanied by the lack of regulatory checks, have elevated these businesses to a new platform which enables them to normalise such avaricious behaviour. Countless governments have come and gone and yet, change has not been induced. If the government, having supreme authority in a state, is unable to rein the industry then future prospects continue to look bleak.

The Senate’s Standing Committee on Industries and Productions raised concerns over this injustice. Facts like lower vehicular prices in countries like India and Bangladesh, in comparison to Pakistan, were highlighted along with the report that national safety standards for locally produced or assembled vehicles are not being met. As such, the committee is pushing the government to incorporate corporate surveillance in their regulatory system so as to prevent the consumers from paying exorbitant prices for watered-down cars that do not meet safety standards—rightfully so.

Pakistan has made great strides when it comes to technological progress so a lack of localisation in the automobile industry makes little sense. Outside of enforcing protocols that protect the masses from devious companies, venturing into local production could be the initiative that revolutionises this sector.