For Petrolheads in Pakistan, few things are harder to justify than the ludicrous import duty levied on all imported vehicles to the country. According to the FBR, in the last fiscal year (2012-13) Pakistan imported vehicles worth Rs. 121 billion with Rs. 69 billion paid in taxes and Rs. 42.3 billion in duty. Officials also believe that despite the rationalized tariffs, the FBR will generate significantly higher revenues due to an expected surge in imports.

It’s only natural then, that with such heavy duties levied on all imported vehicles, local car manufacturers (or car ‘assemblers’ to be more precise) would charge premium rates. A used 2013 Suzuki Swift, for example, with full-options and 7000 km on-the-clock is selling in Karachi for 14 lakh rupees (roughly $14,000).

Using this as a point of reference, we conducted a little research of our own, the results of which… were staggering!

With that 14 lakh rupee figure in-mind, we visited Auto Trader in Dubai to compile a list of nine alternative vehicles you could purchase for the price of a used 2013 Suzuki Swift in Pakistan:

1) 2009 Mini Cooper S – The convertible edition with Gulf-specs (whatever that means), this Mini Cooper S looks like something straight outta ‘The Italian Job’.
2) 2008 Cadillac STS – If the Cadillac is good enough for US President Barack Obama, it’s good enough for the streets of Karachi. Fully loaded, black-on-black and with beige leather interior.
3) 2006 Hummer H3 – Fully loaded, single owner, navigation and with just 74,000 km on-the-clock.
4) 2006 BMW 523i – Gunmetal gray, Gulf-specs with 120,000 km on-the-clock.
5) 2006 Lexus RX350 – All-time 4-wheel drive with a wooden-trim and Borla exhaust.
6) 2005 Mercedes Benz S500 – The top of the line Mercedes in the S-class line this German juggernaut boasts a 4.7 liter, V8 engine which produces a staggering 275 horsepower.
7) 2005 Ford Mustang – Full option, American specs and with only 77,000 km on-the-clock
8) 2005 Mercedes Benz SLK200 – For the price of a Suzuki Swift? GTF Outta here… Aquamarine blue with only 70,000 km on-the-clock, THIS is the one for you!
9) 2004 Range Rover Vogue – OK, so the mileage is a little high on this one (240,000 km high) but putting that aside for a minute, the presence, the toys and the prestige makes this an easy choice for all perspective buyers.

Having conducted our research, we came to the conclusion that were it not for the idiocracy that is import duty, the automotive landscape of Pakistan today would have been very different…

So, thanks for that Mr. Dar!