The Telegraph
Tuesday , June 17 , 2014
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Bid to address auto woes

New Delhi, June 16: Auto industry representatives today met commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman to discuss the challenges faced by the sector because of a two-year long demand slump.

Representatives of industry body Siam also pitched their demands for the speedy implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) and fleet modernisation of commercial vehicles.

“Discussed issues facing the automobile industry with representatives of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam),” Sitharaman tweeted today. According to Siam officials, they also discussed the possibility of retaining the current excise rate beyond June 30.

Better consumer sentiments have helped to revive the passenger car segment, where sales rose 3 per cent in May after falling 4.6 per cent in 2013-2014 and over 10 per cent in April. However, the sale of commercial vehicles has not grown because of the dearth of infrastructure projects.

“Our main demand from the new government will be the continuation of excise duty cuts. It has helped the sector to reduce losses,” Siam director-general Vishnu Mathur said.

In the interim budget, the excise duty on small cars, scooters, motorcycles and commercial vehicles were cut to eight per cent from 12 per cent. For SUVs, the duty was slashed to 24 per cent from 30 per cent, while on large cars it was reduced to 24 per cent from 27 per cent. The government cut excise duty on mid-sized cars to 20 per cent from 24 per cent.