The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Downhill joyride for car prices

New Delhi, March 1: Automakers have continued to cut prices by around 5 per cent after the 2003-04 annual budget cut excise duty by 8 per cent and customs duty by 5 per cent.

Ford India has reduced prices on its Ikon sedan by around Rs 22,488-Rs 30,268, Skoda India by Rs 56,000 on the Octavia while the price of Hindustan Motor's Lancer has been rolled back by Rs 32,700-Rs 50,000.

The country’s largest automaker Maruti Udyog (MUL) also reduced prices by Rs 10,884-Rs 37,664 on its product portfolio.

Vinay Piparsania, director of sales at Ford Motor, said the price of the basic Ikon 1.3 CLXI model had been reduced to Rs 5,15,142, a price cut of Rs 22,488.

Sales of cars and utility vehicle combined were flat in 2001-02 but have risen 6 per cent in the first 10 months of this fiscal to January, relying largely on price cuts and discounts.

The auto industry is hoping the lower prices will spur higher demand and pull the auto industry and its ancilliary units out of the rut where demand has been badly crimped.

Hindustan Motors president B. K. Chaturvedi said the firm has drastically reduced prices after taking into the account the recently introduced calamity tax of 1 per cent.

“Premium sports utility vehicle Pajero’s price has been reduced by Rs 97,000-1.05 lakh for the completely-knocked-down variants which cost Rs 19-20 lakh,” Chaturvedi said.

Chaturvedi said the price of the Ambassador would also be lowered by Rs 18, 000-20,000.

Bipin Datar, chief of marketing at Skoda, said the new Skoda will cost less than Rs 10 lakh now.

Maruti's compact car Zen will now cost Rs 3,30,236, a reduction of Rs 17,830. The Esteem sedan will cost around Rs 4.99 lakh.

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