현대차·기아차 파키스탄에 조립공장···2억 인구 겨냥 시장쟁탈전 ‘본격화’

[아시아엔=나시르 아이자즈 <아시아엔> 파키스탄 지사장] 한국의 현대자동차와 기아자동차를 포함한 외국 자동차회사들이 인구 2억이 넘는 파키스탄 투자에 열을 올리고 있다. 외국계 자동차회사들은 잠재력이 많은 파키스탄에 조립공장 설립계획을 세우고 있다.

현대차와 기아차 등 한국의 두 자동차회사는 과거 파키스탄에 들어와 자동차 조립생산을 한 바 있지만 군부독재자 무샤라프 장군 집권 당시 도입한 중고차 수입자유화 정책으로 파키스탄 시장을 떠났다. 그후 2016년 파키스탄 정부가 발표한 새로운 자동차정책에 따라 이들 두 회사는 파키스탄으로 되돌아오려 하고 있다.

파키스탄 최대 섬유회사 ‘니샤트 밀 주식회사’(NML)는 파키스탄에 현대자동차 조립공장을 건설하기 위해 현대자동차 및 한국소지츠 회사와 MOU를 체결할 계획이라고 최근 발표했다.

파키스탄 증권거래소에 따르면 이 합작사업을 통해 현대차의 승용차와 1톤급 상업용 차량이 생산될 것으로 보인다. 새로운 투자기업이나 재입성하는 기업에 대한 특혜 정책을 추진하고 있는 정부로서는 한국 기업의 재등장으로 큰 성과를 낼 수 있게 됐다. 정부는 일본 기업이 장악하고 있는 파키스탄 자동차시장에 다른 기업들이 진출해 줄 것을 기대해 왔다.

자동차 보유대수가 인구 1000명 당 13대인 파키스탄은 인근 국가 평균 162대에 비해 현저히 낮기 때문에 앞으로 자동차산업 성장에 무한한 가능성이 기대된다.

기아자동차 회사의 파트너인 럭키시멘트는 지난해 기아자동차 부품생산과 조립을 하는 회사를 설립할 계획이라고 발표했다. 이번 기아차의 재입성은 도요타, 혼다, 스즈키 등 일본기업이 독점하고 있는 파키스탄 자동차 시장을 흔들어 놓고 기업간 경쟁으로 자동차 가격이 내릴 것을 기대하는 피키스탄 정부의 노력에 힘을 실어줄 전망이다.

2014~2015 회계년도에 승용차 200만대를 판매한 인도에 비해 파키스탄은 18만대 판매에 그쳤다. 프랑스의 자동차기업 르노(Renault)가 2016년 11월 파키스탄의 새 공장에 투자하기로 합의함에 따라 2018년 본격 생산에 들어갈 예정이다. 또 파키스탄 드완(Dewan) 그룹은 한국에서 4번째로 큰 쌍용자동차와 계약을 맺었다.

자동차 수요가 늘어나고 정부가 앞장서 세금 등 각종 혜택을 추진하고 있어 향후 파키스탄 자동자시장은 갈수록 활기를 띨 것으로 보인다.

Korean automobile industry set to re-enter Pakistan market

Nasir Aijaz

A number of foreign automobile companies, including some from Republic of Korea ? Hyundai Motor Corporation, KIA Motor Company and others, are keen to invest in setting up car assembling plants in Pakistan, a potential market with population of around 200 million.

Both leading Korean automobile companies used to assemble cars in Pakistan in the past but left the market mainly due to the liberal used car import policy introduced during the former military Dictator Gen. Musharraf’s regime.

Both the Korean companies are willing to comeback as a result of the new auto policy of Pakistan government announced in March 2016.

Very recently, Nishat Mills Limited (NML), one of the largest integrated textiles mills in the country, announced that it has resolved to enter in to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hyundai Motor Corporation (HMC), Korea and Sojitz Corporation, Japan to set up a green field plant to assemble Hyundai vehicles in Pakistan.

The joint venture will produce HMC passenger cars and 1-ton range commercial vehicles in Pakistan, according to a notice recently sent to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).

The project is subject to applicable statutory and regulatory approvals.

A few months ago, Lucky Cement, one of the largest cement makers in Pakistan, announced that it will set up a car plant in collaboration with KIA Motor Company with an investment of PKR12 billion.

The re-entry of Korean brands is considered to be a big success of the present government, which took over two years in announcing the new auto policy to give attractive incentives to new entrants and those who left Pakistan earlier. The government wants to encourage new players to invest in the local market, which is currently dominated by only three Japanese players.

Analysts say the trust of foreign companies on Pakistan is growing and the lucrative automobile market is attracting them to the country.

Pakistan’s car penetration of 13 vehicles per 1,000 persons is significantly lower than the regional average of 162, which shows there is a strong potential for automobile growth due to growing disposable income and low interest rate in the country.

South Korean carmaker KIA Motor Company’s local partner Karachi-listed Lucky Cement, had announced in a statement last year that it planned to set up a new company to start manufacturing, assembling KIA vehicles.

KIA cars had been assembled here in the past but disappointing political situation and other factors led to a halt in manufacturing. Dewan Farooque had partnered with Korean brands Hyundai and KIA to produce its first car on January 15, 2000. The company received an extraordinary response especially for its Hyundai Santro and Hyundai Shahzore; a one-ton truck.

The company sales grew well until 2008, but it faced various challenges afterwards and then the productions and sales dropped to zero. After a gap of three years, Dewan Farooque Motors produced a few hundred cars in fiscal year 2014 and 2015 based on its old inventory.

The new venture will also market and sell, besides import and export of all types of KIA vehicles, parts and accessories, Lucky Cement had told the Pakistan Stock Exchange in a statement.

Kia’s re-entry into Pakistan will boost government efforts to shake up the Japanese-dominated car market and loosen the grip of Toyota, Honda and Suzuki, who assemble cars in Pakistan with local partners.

The government believes increased competition would bring down exceptionally high car prices in Pakistan, and that’s why in March last year it introduced a new auto policy favouring new entrants into the market by offering generous import duties.

Pakistan is a potentially huge market, but just 180,000 cars were sold in the 2014/2015 fiscal year. That compares with more than 2 million passenger vehicles a year in neighboring India.

In November 2016, French carmaker Renault also agreed to invest in a new factory in Pakistan and the production phase is expected to start in 2018. The officials say they are talking to several other carmakers also.

Dewan Farooque Motors too is restarting its production by end of October 2016, according to an official announcement made to shareholders.

Dewan Farooque Motors will be manufacturing vehicles of different segments under toll manufacturing arrangement for which the installations of jigs and fixture are in the process for assembly plants.

The company also has entered into a toll manufacturing agreement with Daehan?Dewan Motor Company, which is a joint-venture between Yousaf Dewan Companies and KOLAO Group based in Lao PDR and South Korea.

With the rising demand of automobile in Pakistan coupled with offer for incentives and tax relaxation offer in the government’s automobile policy, reports of developments were received that the automobile maker was flexing its muscles for last couple of years, however it was formally disclosed in August 2016 that its management submitted a plan to resume productions in relevant authorities ? Board of Investment (BoI) and the Engineering Development Board (EDB).

Besides offering incentives to new car makers to enter into Pakistan, the new auto policy, Auto Industry Development Program (AIDP II), gives an opportunity to sick automobile units for revivals which Dewan Farooque Motors is being witnessed tapping on.

The revival is likely to see the re-launch of Shehzore 1-Ton single rear wheel truck and Shehzore 1-Ton truck.

The company planned to launch passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and SUVs in collaboration with KIA Motors Korea in years to come.

Recently, Dewan Group on the behalf of Dewan Farooque Motor also finalized their agreement with SsangYong Motors Company, the fourth largest automobile manufacturer in South Korea. The company is undergoing negotiations with KIA Motors, which is a part of Hyundai Motor Group for local production of KIA range of vehicles in Pakistan.

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