Appended is the statement from Roland Folger, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India on the Annual Budget announcement
“The increase in the basic customs duty of auto parts, accessories and CKD components varying from 5% to 10%, clubbed with the new Social Welfare Surcharge at 10%, at a time when the auto industry is reviving, is unfortunate, and comes as a surprise. We believe it is going to impact the auto industry, the consumers and is also against the spirit of ‘Make in India’. The auto industry ended 2017 on a positive note, where it grew despite multiple policy disruptions in the previous year; but the customs duty hike is likely to reverse the growth trend. The automobile industry is already subjected to one of the highest rate of taxes under the GST regime, and with the successful GST implementation and the Government’s GST rate rationalization step in the recent times, the auto industry was expecting the Government to formulate policies and take decisions that would create demand, create additional jobs and help the industry to grow. As the overall costs due to various duty increase is imminent, we are left with no option but to pass on the resulting increase in price to the customers. We want to sustain and continue with our development of innovations and technologies, in introducing world-class products with unmatched safety standards, and also in our people and resources”.
Mr. Folger further added, “The increase in basic customs duty hike will highly restrict the growth of the luxury car industry and this will only result in the loss of additional revenue, which would have increased significantly with increase in volume. The auto industry which contributes 7.2% of the GDP is likely to be affected and further job creation might be impacted with this decision. Further, since the customers will be burdened with higher maintenance costs, it is likely that this duty hike may delay their routine servicing, thereby affecting safety and environment at large.