Automobile industry fumes as Budget 2013 turns SUVs, imported cars costlier

Imported cars

Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and imported luxury automobiles will be costlier by up to Rs 15 lakh, with Finance Minister P Chidambaram today proposing to hike both excise and customs duties on these products.

Excise duty on SUVs has been increased to 30 per cent from 27 per cent, while all luxury vehicles will attract 100 per cent import duty as against 75 per cent earlier. Also, the basic customs duty on motorcycle with engine capacity of 800cc or more is being increased from 60 per cent to 75 per cent.

"This is not a good Budget for the automobile industry. With duty hikes, all manufacturers will pass on the burden to consumers and this will further dampen the ongoing sluggish sales," Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) Deputy Managing Director and COO (Marketing and Commercial) Sandeep Singh told PTI.

If sales fall drastically, people may even lose jobs, particularly at dealers' end, in future, he added.

"TKM will pass on the entire burden to consumers. The excise hike will affect our multi-utility vehicle Innova and SUV Fortuner, while the hike in customs duty will make our Land Cruiser and Prado costlier," Singh said.

Although the company is yet to finalise the exact amount, it will be a hike of Rs 30,000-50,000 for Innova, he added.

"The Fortuner will be costlier by Rs 60,000-75,000. Similarly, Prado's price will go up by Rs 10-12 lakh. We will also raise the price of Land Cruiser by around Rs 15 lakh," Singh said.

Expressing similar sentiments, General Motors India President and MD Lowell Paddock said the Budget did not meet expectations as far as the automotive industry is concerned.

"We were expecting the roll back of the excise duty imposed last year... These hikes are not on the expected lines and will impact the sale of SUVs," he added.

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