5 key highlights in the life of Cultus in Pakistan

Suzuki Cultus has seen a lot during the last 17 years; here’s a throwback to some of its pivotal moments on the roads

Each model from an automaker comes with an expiry date: once close to that date, automakers introduce a completely new car for that model. With an upgrade, everything is improved, from the technology, material, brakes, engine to mileage.

Technology moves unbelievably fast these days, smartphones have shown the difference a decade can make in today’s world and it is remarkable.

Vehicle model expiry varies between models and their regions, but it’s mostly anywhere between five to seven years depending on the performance of the model. For example, the current Suzuki Swift was only kept in production for six years (2005 to 2011 in India, and 2006 to 2012 in Indonesia).

The past model of Cultus, however, took a lot longer to be upgraded in Pakistan.

After remaining in production for 16 years, Pak Suzuki finally called it off in favour of the new Cultus, globally known as the Celerio. With the onslaught of imported cars and customers’ lost interest in the previous Cultus, it was high time Suzuki brought in a good competitor against the Japanese car imports.

The Cultus has seen a lot during the last 17 years, here’s a throwback to some of its pivotal highs and lows on the roads:

1. When it entered Pakistan as the new Khyber

Suzuki Khyber was internationally known as Swift. Photo by Entheta/Creative Commons
Suzuki Khyber was internationally known as Swift. Photo by Entheta/Creative Commons

While the Khyber remained popular, the Cultus was introduced by Pak Suzuki as a new option in Pakistan in the year 2000 with a 3-Cyl. 1,000CC carburetor engine ‘g10A’. The Cultus was launched in three variants – the VX, VXR and VXL – as an economical yet executive car. Around that time, it was one of the few hatchbacks you could buy within a budget, with ample room inside and a sleek outlook.

Did you know? Around the globe, the Cultus has been known through various names, including Swift, Margalla, Chevrolet Sprint, Geo Metro, Pontiac Firefly, Maruti Suzuki Esteem.

2. When the car went eco-friendly

In 2007, Suzuki introduced the much better, more fuel efficient 4-Cyl, 1000CC EFI engine ‘g10b’.The EFI Cultus was made to abide by the Euro-II emissions standards, as the government showed increasing concern over the country’s deteriorating environment.

3. When it posed a threat to the Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swift was launched 10 years after the Cultus in Pakistan
Suzuki Swift was launched 10 years after the Cultus in Pakistan

Pak Suzuki introduced the Swift in 2010, but then realized that the Cultus VXLi had become a rival to it. Hence, the VXLi variant, which was the only Cultus with power windows and semi-power steering, had to be discontinued.

Did you know? The Cultus initially lacked safety features like the ABS and SRS airbags, but that did not affect its sales figures in Pakistan.

4. When the Limited Edition was launched

The Cultus Limited Edition
The Cultus Limited Edition

The last hurrah came as the Cultus ‘Limited Edition’ in 2016: it had a new fabric design inside the car, matching side-mirrors, a fancy audio system… and a new higher price tag.

5. When it was finally revamped with a sleek new look

The new Cultus was launched last year to give a tough competition to the Japanese cars in Pakistan
The new Cultus was launched last year to give a tough competition to the Japanese cars in Pakistan

During early 2017, Suzuki finally announced through a press release that the Cultus is no more; it will be replaced with a new model from this century.

The manual version was launched in the beginning of the year, while an automatic version followed after.

Did you know? The new Cultus VXL 2017 has power steering, power windows, power side mirrors, dual airbags as standard, ABS, and other safety features to help you be comfortable and safe on the road.

The Cutus is a popular brand in Pakistan, which according to my personal estimates, went about 5 years over its expiry date. At one point, the sales did go low which were enough to warrant a change in the model, but once Suzuki introduced the new Cultus, the sales picked up all over again.

During the period from Jul-16 to Jan-17, sales of Cultus remained at 8469 units. Once the new Cultus was introduced, the sales went up to 11986 units during Jul-17 to Jan-18.

Did you know? Suzuki recorded an increase of 41.52% once the new Cultus was available, reflecting the renewed interest in locally assembled automobiles.

A positive note over here is that automakers in Pakistan should invest themselves more in following a model’s lifecycle and introduce cars that are up-to date with the world over.

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