Call it a market gimmick or genuine need, carmakers are mincing no words in letting the word out that unpropitious currency fluctuation and rising input costs are impacting their margins and that the cost would have to be shared if not completely borne by the consumer.
Today, Maruti and General Motors announced an increase in the prices of their products by Rs 10,000-20,000 effective January 2013.
"There will be a hike in the prices of our products. Quantum will vary depending on models, but it can be up to Rs. 20,000," Maruti Suzuki India COO (marketing & sales) Mayank Pareek said, adding that the price hike has been necessitated due to increasing pressure on the margins due to the currency fluctuation.
The company at present sells a variety of models starting from the noted M800 to imported Kizashi at a price range starting from Rs. 2.09 lakh to Rs. 17.52 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
Although there has been no official statement on the reason for a price hike from General Motors, it goes without saying that the case is the same as for Maruti and other players in the industry who went for a hike in price of their models.
Looking at the other side of the price-hike story, the industry is abuzz with talks that the buildup in prices being announced by car companies is to attract consumers in the month of December, a time when people tend to avoid buying a new vehicle given that they would have to compromise with a 2012 registration tag instead of a 2013 one, thus making their vehicles older by a year.
If that not be the case, as the companies would strongly contend, the spate of audacious price hikes in the auto sector for the year was kicked off by Renault India in September, when it announced an increase of Rs 40,000 for its prized sports utility vehicle Duster. The company also cited the same reason for the price hike - increase in raw material costs and instability in foreign exchange.
The company had launched the Duster in July with introductory price of Rs. 7.19 lakh for the entry level petrol variant and Rs. 7.99 lakh (Ex showroom Delhi) for diesel.
After this, Japanese car maker Honda Cars India, announced an increase in the price of its various models - Brio, Jazz and City. The hikes, in the range of 0.2 per cent to 2.6 per cent came into effect from October 1.
With inputs from agencies