Auto majors to hike car prices on excise duty roll back

Major auto makers seem to have taken the government's decision to hike central excise duty to 10 per cent in their stride, raising car prices which, analysts say may possibly go up by Rs25,000.

While Maruti Suzuki India, the largest car maker in the country, said that consumers would have to shell out around 2 per cent more for its cars, Hyundai Motor India said the price rise ould be from Rs6500 to Rs25,000 on average.

According to R C Bhargava chairman of Maruti Suzuki India, car prices would go up about 2 per cent as an essential counter to the increase in central excise duty announced by the finance minister on Friday.

The government raised the central excise duty by 2 per cent to 10 per cent in a partial roll back of the cut effected earlier. Meanwhile, according to a Hyundai spokesperson, the company would be forced to hike prices by Rs6,500 to Rs25,000.

Meanwhile, February proved to be a month of bonanza sales for car manufacturers led by Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motors, who posted their best-ever monthly performance in February, as consumers flocked to showrooms to beat the rise in car prices from stimulus roll back expected in the budget. (See: Rising demand drives up India's auto sales in February)

Eight companies saw sales surge 31 per cent to 160,297 units during February as against 122,353 units sold in the same month a year earlier. The record growth the companies posted took place despite the month being two three days shorter than the average one.