KARACHI: The government demand to reduce price on locally produced cars by auto makers does not seem to have made any impact—as prices have once again been increased by a leading automaker, to be effective from Tuesday. According to the market dealers, Honda Atlas has increased its cars models prices between the range of Rs 32,000-40,000. Price of Honda City (manual) has been jacked up by Rs 32000 to reach Rs 1,379,000, however, Honda City (automatic), after witnessing an increase of Rs 35,000, is now priced at Rs 1,475,000. Similarly, an increase of Rs 40,000 has been made on all Civic models. As automakers are facing difficulties in supply of auto parts from Japan after severe damage to industries due to recent tsunami and floods there—bookings of new models have already been closed from a leading auto maker taking the premium on unprecedented high. Although import of used cars had been allowed in February but on account of yen appreciation, prices have been raised several times by local automakers since the start of current calendar year. Last month, almost all three leading auto makers had raised prices, as on March 3, Pak Suzuki Motor Company Limited (PSMCL) had raised the price of Swift by Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,049,000 from Rs 999,000, while Indus Motor Company (IMC) had pushed up the rate of Toyota Corolla XLI by Rs 20,000 and GLI and above 1,800cc by Rs 30,000 on Feb 23. Dealers are openly charging maximum premium from customers, as many of them cannot wait the time given by automakers to resume bookings. Premium on Toyota Corolla XLI and GLI ranges between Rs 120,000 to Rs 130,000. There are also reports that some dealers are demanding premium of Rs 150,000 on Corolla GLI. On Suzuki Mehran dealers are quoting Rs 40,000-50,000 and on Alto, Cultus and Swift, premium hovers between Rs 15,000-30,000. For the last few months, the ministry has been taking up the matter regarding price hike, premium and quality with the assemblers very lightly. These issues may hold no interest for the ministry that is now engaged in pre-budget session with the assemblers and parts makers.
moonis ahmed, Daily Times 26-Apr-11