ALMOST all car assemblers increased prices of their products significantly during the last two years mainly due to an upward revision of rupee-dollar parity and the latest reports suggest that instead of bringing the prices down following appreciation of rupee, they are planning to increase prices once again citing a hike in prices of raw material in the global market and removal of export tax rebate by China on 146 kinds of steel products from 01 May 2021.
Only a few years back, car prices were within the purchasing power of the middle class but repeated increases made by all the companies during the last two years has made it impossible for them to own a car, which has increasingly become a necessity of life in the modern day world.
The worst aspect of the entire episode is that while prices have increased, the manufacturers/assemblers are not willing to give a quality product or even routine facilities in return.
The auto policy of 2016-21 was aimed at bringing competition that would result in reduction of car prices, especially in the entry level segment so that the middle-class population of the country would be able to purchase smaller cars but unfortunately that has not happened due to manipulative tactics by the industry and lack of proper and honest vigilance by the officials concerned.
It is also deplorable that the auto industry has not passed on the benefits of appreciation in the value of rupee that has led to reduction in cost of import of parts and accessories.
The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has analysed the entire situation in a dispassionate manner and put forward reasonable proposals, the implementation of which can help improve the situation.