A Hyundai Ioniq was recently spotted on the roads of Lahore. It might have been a random import but interestingly the vehicle had its emblem masked with a tape, a common practice by automakers to conceal the identity of the vehicle. This does give us a hint that it was probably imported by Hyundai-Nishat for trial & testing purpose.
Back in March 2017, Nishat Group’s chairman Mian Mansha while talking to Dawn had said:
We are discussing with them… trying to convince them to also bring electric and hybrid cars. I see (that) the future is in electric cars. We could import these cars in the beginning and later also start assembling them locally.
The Hyundai-Nishat manufacturing plant is being constructed in the industrial estate of Faisalabad spanning over an area of 70 acres with an investment estimated at over PKR 15 billion. The ground-breaking of the project was done in December last year and commercial operations are scheduled to begin by the end of 2019.
Hyundai Nishat Motor (Private) Limited, is a joint venture between three leading international business groups; Nishat Group, Sojitz Corporation (Japan) and Millat Tractors. According to a Hyundai official, locally-assembled Hyundai cars will roll out by March 2020. The company plans to produce 7,000 units in its first year, while it aims to expand its production capacity to 22,000 units within three years.
In its initial phase of operations, the company will reportedly introduce H100 commercial pickup, Tucson SUV, Kona Crossover and Elantra sedan in Pakistan by 2020. However the recently spotted Hyundai Ioniq does connects to Mian Mansha’s statement where he hinted the import of hybrid and electric vehicles as well.
Indus Motors already has a couple of hybrid vehicles on offer including the Camry and Prius. Whether or not the Ioniq will be included in the list of Hyundai-Nishat’s offerings is yet to be seen. But an Ioniq with hidden emblems does indicate something is cooking for sure.